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The House of Mirth

Edith Wharton

Lawrence Selden

Characters Lawrence Selden

Lawrence Selden, a young lawyer, is the only person in the novel who is able to move within the elite social circles and yet view them with the detached scrutiny of an outsider. Not wealthy himself, Selden has a distant relationship to money, believing love and happiness to be found instead of purchased. He is one of Lily’s few consistent friends, always providing lively banter, a shoulder to cry on, and honest advice. Selden’s rational thinking often overpowers his romantic side, and it eventually causes him to realize how much he is in love with Lily—a few hours too late.