Edith Wharton (; born Edith Newbold Jones; January 24, 1862 – August 11, 1937) was an American novelist, short story writer, playwright, and designer. Wharton drew upon her insider's knowledge of the upper class New York "aristocracy" to realistically portray the lives and morals of the Gilded Age. In 1921, she was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Literature. She was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1996.
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For no reason I can explain, I began to discover how little it mattered where you are or what anyone does to you. I was sure that what I had done to get there [imprisoned for draft resistance] was right, and somehow the longer I was there, the better I felt. . . . I felt filled with love for everyone: everyone I knew and everyone I didn't know; for plants, fish, animals; even bankers, generals, prison guards, and lying politicians — everything and everyone. Why did I feel so good? Was it God? Or approaching death? Or just the way life is supposed to be if we weren't so busy trying to make it something else?