The House of Mirth (1905), is a novel by Edith Wharton. First published in 1905, the novel is Wharton's first important work of fiction, sold 140,000 copies between October and the end of December, and added to Wharton's already substantial fortune.
Although The House of Mirth is written in the style of a novel of manners, set against the backdrop of the 1890s New York ruling class, it is a text considered to be part of American literary Naturalism. Wharton places her tragic heroine, Lily Bart, in a society that she describes as a " 'hot-house of traditions and conventions.' " The traditions and conventions of society indifferently press upon her as she loses her wealth and social standing and fails to support herself through labor. At the novel's end she dies in an obscure boarding house, poor and shunned by her former wealthy friends.