Edith Wharton Short Stories

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.

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.

“A Bottle of Perrier”

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.

“Bunner Sisters”

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.

“A Journey”

The Muse’s Tragedy | 5,800 words

Danyers is a young man who greatly admires the work of the late poet Vincent Rendle, and Rendle’s muse, Mary Anerton. A social acquaintance, Mrs. Memorall, knows Mary and passes along an essay that Danyers wrote. Eventually, they meet to discuss Rendle’s work.

Read “The Muse’s Tragedy”

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 Pelican”

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.

“The Rembrandt”

Roman Fever | 5,000 words

While on vacation together in Rome, two middle-aged women talk about their past and their daughters.

“Roman Fever”

As I read more Edith Wharton short stories they will be added to this page.