Sunday, April 25, 2004

Voice of America program on Edith Wharton (transcript):

A critic once described American writer Edith Wharton as a "self-made man." She liked the comment and repeated it. Others said she was a product of New York City. But the New York she wrote about was different from the New York of those who came after her.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

From the Oregonian (Alice Walker on Wharton)
Later, Walker says an appreciation for books is best developed by reading exciting work. She loved to read because her family did.

Walker says students want to know how writers live because they think it's glamorous -- "There you are in your garret with your laptop."

"What are you reading?" she asks the students. Several call out, "You," but one girl says, "Edith Wharton."

"Edith Wharton?" Walker says. "Oh, my goodness. I can't do much with Edith. But let's get back to Dickens."

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

From the New York Times (article includes a picture of the site)
Construction of a 27-story glass and concrete building has begun at the northeast corner of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue - on a lot vacant for more than a decade that once held the mansion in which Edith Wharton made her society debut in 1879.

Monday, April 19, 2004

From the Berkshire Herald

Lenox - Benjamin Moore & Co., the national paint manufacturer, has continued its support of The Mount, Edith Wharton’s estate and gardens, with a donation of $20,000. This grant money is earmarked for research and restoration of the original paint colors used in Wharton’s 800-sq.-ft. bedroom suite at The Mount.

Beginning this month, the new funding will be used to complete high-tech analysis of paint colors in Wharton’s boudoir. Later this year, The Mount will launch a study of colors in her adjacent bedroom and bathroom. Based on results of the work, the rooms will be repainted in historically-accurate colors.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

No Edith Wharton for Borges
from the Toronto Globe and Mail
Borges was strange, even bizarre, in his reading habits. His grandmother had been English, and he loved Anglo-Saxon poems so much that he learned to read Old English in order to enjoy them. He also embraced Virgil and Homer, and a host of difficult writers from the Renaissance to the 20th century.

At the same time, he was a huge fan of detective and science-fiction novels. He worshipped what are still considered middlebrow authors like Kipling and Robert Louis Stevenson (Manguel's novella, Stevenson under the Palm Trees (Thomas Allen, 2003), is a kind of tribute to Borges's obsession with the author of Treasure Island).

Borges also memorized tango lyrics and "atrocious verses by long-dead poets." At the same time, he casually disliked and cast aside many of the "great" writers. "You could do a history of literature with the novels he didn't like," observes Manguel. Borges's hit list included Jane Austen, Cervantes, Edith Wharton and Garcia Lorca.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

From an article on an "Edible Book Festival" (Albany, N. Y.):

William S. Burroughs' 'Naked Lunch' brings an afternoon fare to mind. And works from John Steinbeck's 'Grapes of Wrath,' and W. Somerset Maugham 'Cake and Ale,' to Walt Whitman's 'Leaves of Grass,' and Edith Wharton's 'Fruit of the Tree' are enjoyable anytime, day or night. From bitter fruit to sweet sauce, the possibilities are endless.
From the Montreal Gazette:
"It's hard to think of that term as being anything other than derogatory," she [Tana Janowitz] replied over the phone from Brooklyn. "Because they certainly didn't call men's writing 'Boy Books.' Chick Lit usually means the book is written in the first person of a girl looking for a man - with a lot of punchy one-liners."

That's the contemporary take. "But if you're thinking of women's writing of the 20th century," she continued, "women's books going back to Edith Wharton certainly do have much more to do with the pursuit of love and happiness as opposed to men's books of the 20th century. They are different. I suppose Olivia Manning was one of the few writers in a war zone, dealing to a degree with politics. And that was supposed to be the realm of male writers, like Graham Greene or Evelyn Waugh."