Sunday, August 21, 2005

Prof (Alan Price) found PSU Hazleton perfect


Prof found PSU Hazleton perfect
By Craig Eisenberger
The Standard-Speaker

While teaching, Price conducted literary research. Two writers stuck out in his mind during his time in college, Theodore Dreiser and Edith Wharton. Researching Wharton led him across the country and the world, looking at manuscripts and other documents.
Looking through Wharton's papers, Price came across photos of children. Now he found this odd since she divorced her husband in 1913 and had no children. "I was wondering where these kids are from," Price said. "I'm nosy and that kind of curiosity is necessary for an academic researcher."
"What I found out was that she ran a refugee organization responsible for saving thousands of people at the same time she was writing novels."
That led him to write The End of the Age of Innocence: Edith Wharton and the First World War. "I wrote about her World War I work, as a novelist but mostly as a humanitarian."
It took 20 years to get everything together and finally write the book. "The New York Times gave it a good review," Price recalled.
While other Americans were fleeing Paris because of the impending German invasion through Belgium, Wharton stayed to help the children. However, she was not alone.
"When you write big projects there is always something left over," Price said.
During his time researching Wharton's efforts to assist refuges, he came across 200 other organizations run by American women in France and Belgium, which were later consolidated by the Red Cross.
"I didn't get to talk about those organizations," he said.
The workers in France faced miserable conditions, Price said. "These were noble efforts and they are gone as if they evaporated." He feels that he may return to this topic one day.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Age of Innocence (1934 version) on Turner Classic Movies.

The 1934 version of The Age of Innocence will run on the TCM (Turner Classic Movies) channel on Thursday, August 18, at noon Eastern Daylight Time (9 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time). This version is not available on VHS or DVD, and it is only rarely shown on television.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Home truths
The Back Half
Stephen Bayley
Monday 15th August 2005
From The New Statesman

The interior-design craze was fuelled by the publication of The Decoration of Houses, by Edith Wharton and Ogden Codman, in 1897. The book was a significant influence on Elsie de Wolfe, the inventor of the modern profession. A social-climbing lesbian, she is the spiritual ancestor of Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen. With her cheerful motto "plenty of optimism and white paint", de Wolfe introduced new American money to old French furniture when, one day in 1913, she unloaded $3m-worth of cabriole-legged stuff on to Henry Clay Frick. For years afterwards, possession of French furniture was a token of status. In her novel The Custom of the Country (1913), Wharton parodied this affected Francophilia and coined the useful term "Looey". As late as 1950 - when, remember, the abstract expressionists were already at work - the decorator Billy Baldwin was still telling students at the Parsons School of Design in New York that all they really needed was a perfect pair of "Looey XVI" console tables and life, hitherto unsatisfactory, would be complete.
A writer's other great passion, restored
Edith Wharton's garden reblooms

By Carol Stocker, Globe Staff | August 11, 2005

LENOX -- The mistress had a corner bedroom so she could look down on her flower garden while writing longhand in bed. This she did each day from about 6 a.m. to noon, often with a dog propped under one arm as she dropped each completed page on the floor to be collected by her maid and typed by her secretary.

This was how Edith Wharton wrote ''The House of Mirth" at The Mount, her vacation home in the Berkshires, 100 summers ago. Her novel about Lily Bart, a sincere and vulnerable young woman destroyed by the hypocrisy of high society, became a record-breaking bestseller and gave Wharton the confidence to pursue a career as a writer.

To celebrate the centennial of Wharton's first literary masterpiece, her beloved flower garden was replanted at The Mount this June through a $500,000 grant from an anonymous Boston foundation.

''You don't often get a chance to plant a 3,000-perennial garden in this day and age. It's very exciting," said Susan Child of Boston, who designed the garden with former associate M. Christopher Alonso.

The magnificent garden looks like it was planted years ago. Hundreds of fragrant lilies, old-fashioned mignonettes, and stately delphiniums recreate the luxurious abundance that hallmarked the Gilded Age. The color scheme is sparkling white, vivid blue, and deep purple with bright splashes of pink from the garden phlox that Wharton especially loved.

Tall filigree thalictrum and filipendula contribute the airy effect that Wharton sought in defiance of her era's convention of compact and regimented plants. Asters and fall-blooming anemones are among the many flowers designed to carry the garden through October, when The Mount closes for the season. The four large rectangular borders enclose a rebuilt fountain. Child describes the scene as ''exuberance within the confines of rigor."

The flower garden is the climax of a $35 million restoration project that has brought The Mount back from the brink of collapse. ''This garden is the crown jewel of the entire restoration project," said project manager David Andersen. ''The flowers cost $150,000. But it cost four times that for the layers upon layers of work in this garden that people never see, such as the archeology, the engineering, and the irrigation."

Wharton often spent her afternoons gardening. Despite 10 live-in gardeners and groundskeepers, she liked to get her hands dirty, said Child, ''something women of her class never did." Though her childless marriage proved unfortunate, Wharton lived a very full life here, entertaining her friends and managing an elegant ''great house" with 35 rooms and a staff of 20.

Friday, August 05, 2005

From the Poughkeepsie Journal

Mansion starred in classic tale
Staatsburgh part of Wharton's 'House of Mirth'
By Angela Batchelor

It is her first novel, however, 1905's "House of Mirth," that has a connection to the Staatsburgh State Historic Site in Staatsburg. The novel, serialized by Scribner's Magazine, became a best-seller and has become a classic.

Many believe the country estate described in Wharton's novel, Bellomont, was based on Staatsburgh, the Dutchess County mansion owned by Ogden and Ruth Livingston Mills.

Special tours

To honor the centennial of the publication of Wharton's book, Staatsburgh State Historic Site is offering special "House of Mirth" tours the first Sunday of every month through October. Tours begin at 3 p.m.

"The 100th anniversary of the novel is important," said Julie Olin-Ammentorp, a member of the Edith Wharton Society. " 'House' has such an important place in American literature. It is an amazingly accomplished novel. Wharton's characters, plot and literary style are all impressive."