Back Edith Wharton, “The Pelican”

Edith Wharton (1862–1937)
From Edith Wharton: Collected Stories 1891–1910

Mother Feeding Child, pastel on wove paper (mounted on canvas) by American artist Mary Cassatt (1844–1926). The painting was completed in 1898, the same year as Wharton’s story. Cassatt knew Wharton but was not fond of her fiction; she wrote to a friend that she preferred the expansive social themes and naturalism of Émile Zola over the psychological character studies of Paul Bourget, a friend of Wharton’s and an early influence. Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

January 24 marked the 155th anniversary of the birth of Edith Wharton, and we celebrate the occasion by presenting one of her most well-known stories.

“The Pelican” wasn’t her first published work—not by several years, in fact—but it was the earliest of her magazine stories Wharton felt worthy of inclusion in The Greater Inclination, a debut collection greeted by near-universal praise. “In the way of fiction we have seen nothing this year that has impressed us so much as Mrs. Wharton’s book,” exclaimed The Bookman (an influential literary magazine), which singled out “The Pelican” as the collection’s “most amusing piece . . . a perfectly delicious study of the typical ‘lady lecturer’ [that is] full of pure delight from beginning to end.” The book sold more than three thousand copies—remarkable at the time for a story collection by an unknown author.

You can read the story in full at our Story of the Week site—and, in the introduction, we explain why the story, which contains not a single mention of a bird, was called “The Pelican.”

Read “The Pelican” by Edith Wharton

Library of America

A champion of America’s great writers and timeless works, Library of America guides readers in finding and exploring the exceptional writing that reflects the nation’s history and culture.

Learn More

From poetry, novels, and memoirs to journalism, crime writing, and science fiction, the more than 300 volumes published by Library of America are widely recognized as America’s literary canon.

Benefits of Using Safe Crypto Casinos. One of the most captivating reasons people drift towards Australian casinos online-casino-au com is the promise of anonymity. Safe platforms guarantee that your identity remains a secret. Quick Payouts and Minimal Fees. No one likes waiting, especially for winnings. Safe crypto casinos ensure that payouts are swift and the fees minimal, if not non-existent.

Browse our books Subscribe

With contributions from donors, Library of America preserves and celebrates a vital part of our cultural heritage for generations to come.

Ozwin Casino offers an exciting array of top-notch slots that cater to every player's preferences. From classic fruit machines to cutting-edge video slots, Ozwin Casino Real Money collection has it all. With stunning graphics, immersive themes, and seamless gameplay, these slots deliver an unparalleled gaming experience. Some popular titles include Mega Moolah, Gonzo's Quest, and Starburst, known for their massive jackpots and thrilling bonus features. Ozwin Casino's slots are not just about luck; they offer hours of entertainment and the chance to win big, making it a must-visit for slot enthusiasts.

Support our mission