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Fighting France

From Dunkerque to Belfort

Edith Wharton
Edited by Alice Kelly

Hardback i (Printed to Order)
eBook (ePub) i
eBook (PDF) i

A new edition of Edith Wharton’s war reportage from the First World War

Edith Wharton was one of the first woman writers to be allowed to visit the war zones in France. This resulting collection of 6 essays presents a fascinating and unique perspective on wartime France by one of America’s great novelists. Written with Wharton’s distinctive literary skills to advocate American intervention in the war, this little-known war text demonstrates that she was a complex and accomplished propagandist.

However, these eyewitness accounts also demonstrate a troubling awareness of the human cost of war. This new critical edition aims to bring this neglected text into the field of Wharton studies, allowing critics and enthusiasts to re-evaluate her contribution as a war writer and to assess the significance of this period for her literary development.

Key Features

  • The first scholarly edition of a highly important work in Wharton’s oeuvre
  • Restores the original photographs which accompanied the text
  • Provides extensive critical apparatus for understanding the text including a scholarly introduction and authoritative annotation in each chapter
  • Includes archival research in the Edith Wharton Collection at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, and the Edith Wharton Manuscripts, Firestone Library, Princeton University

About the Author

Edith Wharton (1862-1937) was an American novelist and a short story writer. She was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize (in 1921, for The Age of Innocence). She was also one of the few foreigners allowed to travel to the front lines in France during the First World War. Her articles written about this period were collected in Fighting France. Throughout the war Wharton worked with refugees and in 1916 she was named a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in recognition of her support for the displaced.

Alice Kelly is the Harmsworth Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Rothermere American Institute and a Junior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford. Her critical edition of Edith Wharton’s First World War reportage, Fighting France was published by EUP in December 2015 and she co-edited a Special Issue of Katherine Mansfield Studies on ‘Katherine Mansfield and the First World War’ (EUP, September 2014).


Alice Kelly's new edition of the journalism of Edith Wharton in First World War France is a valuable contribution to the literary history of the conflict. Here is a novelist, using all her skills as an eye witness to tell unknowing Americans of the staggering nature of a war the world had never seen before. A wonderful text, introduced with wit and authority.

- Charles J. Stille Professor of History at Yale University, Jay Winter

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