Edith Wharton wrote over 80 short stories. Some of her stories focus on the poor, the disparate consequences for men and women who go against social mores, and a comparison of marriage and spinsterhood.
Wharton’s stories contain many epigrams; only Saki writes with a cleverness that is comparable.
Stories are in alphabetical order of the first word of the title, excluding “A”, “An” and “The”.
Here is a list of Edith Wharton short stories with an introductory summary and a link for online reading where possible.
A Bottle of Perrier | 8,950 words
Medford, from the American School of Archaeology at Athens, goes to visit his friend, Henry, an amateur archaeologist living in the desert. When he arrives, Henry isn’t home. The servant, Gosling, says he was invited to some unexplored ruins. Medford waits for his friend’s return.
Bunner Sisters | 30,500 words
Two middle-aged sisters run a small shop and live modestly. They start keeping company with a local clock seller, which changes their usual routine.
I know, this one is probably too long to be called a short story. I’ve included it because it could be read in one sitting if you really wanted to, and it’s one of my favorites.
A Journey | 4,400 words
A married couple are taking a train back home to New York. They have been away for the husband’s health, but he hasn’t improved. His wife still loves him, but she feels constrained by the situation. She wants her old life back.
The Pelican | 7,450 words
A woman gives lectures to support herself and child. Her lectures are of dubious quality, and her audience is more interested in them as social events.
The Rembrandt | 6,000 words
The narrator is persuaded by his cousin Eleanor to visit a distressed gentlewoman and appraise a painting, which, if valuable, could ease her difficulties. He is able to determine the painting’s value, but he struggles to tell the lady directly.
Roman Fever | 5,000 words
While on vacation together in Rome, two middle-aged women talk about their past and their daughters.
As I read more Edith Wharton short stories they will be added to this page.