Monday, September 16, 2013

We've moved!

The Edith Wharton Society now has a site that allows posting to the first page, so Edith Wharton in the News and any News and Notes will now be at our new site,

Since it's a Wordpress site, you can sign up for email updates or follow the site, if you like. The old content will remain at this site.

Please change your bookmarks to this new site, and thanks.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Edith Wharton Society News


Congratulations to the Edith Wharton Essay Prize winners:

Both essays will be published in the _EWR_, vol 29.2:

First prize: Krystyna Michael (PhD candidate, CUNY-Grad Center)“A Break in the Continuity:” Chaos, Control and Wharton’s Commitment to Form:
Second prize: Katelyn Durkin (PhD candidate, UVa):The (Re)Production Craze: Taylorism and Regress in Edith Wharton’s Twilight Sleep

The following queries will be posted to the Wharton Society site. If you have any information, please reply to the list or to



I'm an author specializing in the history of espionage. I'm currently working on a project that has somehow taken me a bit far afield. I'm trying to track down the story that Edith Wharton intervened for Maj. Ralph Van Deman in his efforts to establish a military intelligence division during World War I. 

Denman's memoirs mention a "lady authoress" who traveled in the same social circles as the Secretary of War, Baker, but offer no other details. 

I was hoping that perhaps she might have made mention of Maj. Deman or Baker in her diaries.  The date would have been around 1917, just prior to America's entrance into WWI. 

Needless to say, any assistance you might be able to provide would be greatly appreciated. 

Best Regards,
Henry R. Schlesinger
Dear EW Community:

I thank you in advance for your help,

{It is fine to list my information.}
Margaret Toth, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of English

Minutes for the ALA 2013 Business Meeting:


New Volume of The Edith Wharton Review

Volume 29.1, Spring 2013

Teaching Cluster--Guest Editor, Gary Totten

Singley, Carol. "Change at Stake: Teaching Edith Wharton's Late Fiction." Edith Wharton Review 29.1 (Spring 2013): 1-7.

Goldsmith, Meredith. "Twilight Sleep and The Children: Approaching Wharton's Late Novesl in the Undergraduate Classroom." Edith Wharton Review 29.1 (Spring 2013): 7-11.

Kornasky, Linda. "Edith Wharton's The Glimpses of the Moon meets Geoffrey Miller's Spent." Edith Wharton Review 29.1 (Spring 2013): 11-20.

Wentzel, Rocki. "Classical Reception in Edith Wharton's Late Fiction." Edith Wharton Review 29.1 (Spring 2013): 20-32.

Saunders, Judith. "Unwritten Masterpieces." Edith Wharton Review 29.1 (Spring 2013): 32.

Coit, Emily. Rev. of Edith Wharton in Context, ed. Laura Rattray. Edith Wharton Review 29.1 (Spring 2013): 33-34.

Dawson, Melanie. "Edith Wharton Collection Research Report." Edith Wharton Review 29.1 (Spring 2013): 34-35.

Wierzbicki, Kaye. "Edith Wharton Society Mount Research Award." Edith Wharton Review 29.1 (Spring 2013): 33-37.

Goldman-Price, Irene. "From the Archives: Two Letters from Harry Jones to Anna Foster about Wharton's Near-Fatal Illness." Edith Wharton Review 29.1 (Spring 2013): 37-39.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Edith Wharton Symposium Registration Open

Please note that online registration is now open for the Edith Wharton symposium taking place in Liverpool from 22 -23 August 2013. Everyone welcome! 
To register, please go to the site and click the booking tab.

Dr. Laura Rattray

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Edith Wharton Panels at ALA 2013

Edith Wharton Panels at ALA 2013

Friday May 24, 2013 8:10 – 9:30 am

Session 7-A Edith Wharton and Cosmopolitanism (Essex North East 3rd Floor)

Organized by the Edith Wharton Society

Chair: Emily Orlando, Fairfield University

1. “Edith Wharton’s Old New York: The Autobiography of an Expatriate,” Hildegard Hoeller, CUNY-CSI and the Graduate Center

2. “‘she was learning how to make hats’: Negotiating New York City in The House of Mirth and Free Food for Millionaires,” Johanna X. K. Garvey, Fairfield University

3. “‘I want a girl who doesn’t know what a Duke is’: The Buccaneers and Models of Cosmopolitan Thought,” Melanie Dawson, College of William and Mary

4. “Contexts Engendering Texts: Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence and Francesca Segal’s The Innocents,” Ferdâ Asya, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

Friday May 24, 2013 9:40 – 11:00 am

Session 8-F Undine at 100: A Centennial Reappraisal of The Custom of the Country (Defender 7thFloor)

Organized by the Edith Wharton Society

Chair: Cecilia Macheski, LaGuardia Community College, CUNY

1. “A Novel for All Seasons,” Susan Goodman, University of Delaware

2. “Gate-Crasher par excellence: Undine and the 'Aborigines' in The Custom of the Country,” Maureen E. Montgomery, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

3. “Finding Undine: Narrative Sources and Strategies for The Custom of the Country,” Laura Rattray, University of Glasgow

4. “Technologies of Information: Gossip, Self-Revelation, and Social Media in Wharton'sThe Custom of the Country,” Gary Totten, North Dakota State University

Session 10-P Business Meeting: Edith Wharton Society (Baltic 7th Floor)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Edith Wharton Symposium

Edith Wharton Symposium, Liverpool Hope University 22-23 August 2013

We’re delighted to confirm that the keynote speakers for this event will be Pamela Knights and Gary Totten.  Both, of course, are terrific Wharton scholars and speakers: Gary, the immediate past president of the Society and editor of Memorial Boxes and Guarded Interiors: Edith Wharton and Material Culture, while Pam, who has published very extensively on Wharton, is perhaps best known as the author of The Cambridge Introduction to Edith Wharton (bios below). We very much look forward to their keynotes.

If you would like further information on the symposium, please contact us at: or

Best wishes,
Laura and Bill

 Pamela Knights is Honorary Senior Lecturer at Durham University. She is the author of The Cambridge Introduction to Edith Wharton (2009), and co-author of Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth (2006). Other publications on Wharton include chapters in The Cambridge Companion to Edith Wharton (1995), Edith Wharton’s The Custom of the Country: A Reassessment (2010), “This Strange Dream upon the Water”: Venice and the Cultural Imagination (2012), and Edith Wharton in Context (2012). She has also written introductions to editions of The House of Mirth and Ethan Frome, and is currently working on a new monograph for Palgrave Macmillan.

Gary Totten is Professor of English at North Dakota State University and immediate past president of the Edith Wharton Society.  He is the editor of Memorial Boxes and Guarded Interiors: Edith Wharton and Material Culture (2007) and a special issue of the Edith Wharton Review on “Teaching Wharton’s Late Fiction” (forthcoming Spring 2013).  He is the author of essays on Wharton in various journals, including Twentieth Century Literature, Journal of the Short Story in English, Pedagogy, Studies in American Naturalism, Studies in Travel Writing, College Literature, and the essay collection, Edith Wharton in Context.  He is currently researching The Custom of the Country and Dakota divorce culture, funded by a Beinecke Research Award from the Edith Wharton Society and a Gunlogson Fund Award from North Dakota State University’s Institute for Regional Studies.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Beinecke Award and The Mount Award Winners

Gary Totten, Professor of English, North Dakota State University: “Wharton’s Wild West:Undine Spragg, Medora de Mores, and Dakota Divorce Culture”

Sheila Liming, Ph D candidate, English, Carnegie Mellon University: “Edith Wharton and Modern Economies of Book Ownership”

Sunday, March 17, 2013

CFP: Edith Wharton at SAMLA

"The Transatlantic Writer: Edith Wharton, Text, and Travel"
Edith Wharton Society Session at South Atlantic MLA (SAMLA) 2012 (Research Triangle Park, Durham, North Carolina, November 9-11, 2012)
The Edith Wharton Society invites papers that engage with this year’s South Atlantic MLA (SAMLA) conference theme: "Text as Memoir: Tales of Travel, Immigration, and Exile." We welcome a range of responses to this topic, including examinations of her travel writings, other non-fiction, fiction, and poetry.
Please send your 300-500 word abstract and a one-page CV as email attachments by 12 May 2012 to Mary Carney at
The 2012 SAMLA conference will be in Research Triangle Park, Durham, North Carolina, November 9-11, 2012. For more information on SAMLA, visit

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Edith Wharton's pronouns: just right

Plutarch was practically the worst, Edith Wharton was right on, and Shakespeare was about average.
That's all in terms of the balance of pronouns they used in their writing. Plutarch used nearly 16 masculine pronouns for every feminine one in his books, while Shakespeare had a 3:1 ratio of pronouns. Edith Wharton's books, on the other hand, talked about men and women in nearly equal measure.

Monday, February 11, 2013

CFP: Edith Wharton and The Custom of the Country: Centennial Reappraisals

Edith Wharton and The Custom of the Country: Centennial Reappraisals

Symposium: 22 and 23 August 2013, Liverpool Hope University, UK

Symposium Directors: William Blazek (Liverpool Hope University) and Laura Rattray (University of Glasgow)

Call for Papers:

2013 marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of Edith Wharton’s much-read and much-analyzed novel The Custom of the Country. Described as the writer’s "greatest book" by Hermione Lee in her 2007 biography, and listed by Wharton herself at the end of a long and prolific career as one of her own favourite works, The Custom of the Country arguably remains the author's most complex and controversial novel.

To mark its centenary year, the symposium directors warmly invite papers on any topic pertaining to this landmark text. Themes might include: re-readings of the novel in the light of modern economic crises, serialisation, marketing and material culture, narrative strategies, modernist aesthetics, the challenges and rewards of teaching the novel, and reappraisals of Wharton’s most controversial female protagonist, Undine Spragg. Alternatively, discussions might be framed within the contexts of leisure-class marriage and divorce, masculinity, Europe, travel, or the visual arts. We also welcome broader comparative approaches, viewing The Custom of the Country in relation to other novels of the period, to other work by Wharton in any genre, or exploring the novel’s influence on contemporary writers and popular culture.

Co-sponsored by the Edith Wharton Society, the symposium will be held on the Hope Park campus of Liverpool Hope University, located within five miles of the Liverpool city centre. Moderately priced, ensuite campus accommodation will be available to delegates for the duration of the symposium. Day rates are also available. Keynote speakers for this event will be confirmed shortly. Further information and updates can be found on the symposium website:

Please send 250-word abstracts for 20-minute papers (indicating any equipment/technical requirements), and a brief biographical note by the deadline of 15 April 2013 to the directors via e-mail:

Sponsors: Liverpool Hope University and the Edith Wharton Society

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Edith Wharton by Design

People who live in New York might agree that there is very little reason to find yourself between Fourteenth and Forty-Second Streets unless you absolutely have to. Go past Union Square, and you’re liable to bump into everything from confused tourists to people selling knockoff Louis Vuitton and Fendi bags worse than the ones you can purchase on Canal Street in Chinatown. The twenties into the thirties can look like a never-ending row of scaffolding at certain stretches, with C-grade delis and fast food chains hidden beneath, leading you finally to the terrifyingly bright lights of Times Square.
For the better part of the decade in which I’ve lived in New York, this experience is probably what has kept me from the middle of the city. But when I moved from Brooklyn into Manhattan, and started taking daily walks up the various avenues from the West Village to an office on Twenty-Eighth,  I began to learn the history of certain buildings I passed along my way: admiring the townhouse at 28 E. Twentieth Street where President Theodore Roosevelt was born; the splendor and history of Gramercy Park; the row of buildings in the Flower District that seems unremarkable, until you realize that this block of Twenty-Eighth between Fifth and Sixth was once known as Tin Pan Alley, and filled the American Songbook. With each block, the twenties became more and more magical, especially on the days when I managed to avoid the crowds scuttling down the sidewalks—those less hectic New York days when I could look up and admire the various gargoyles and the golden dome of the Sohmer Piano Building. The architecture of the twenties distracted me from my daily grind, but it was on an evening trip to the grocery store that the area I once shunned suddenly took on an entirely new meaning. That night I noticed the red plaque on a doorway next to a Starbucks at 14 W. Twenty-Third Street that read, “This was the childhood home of Edith Jones Wharton, one of America’s most important authors.”