Thursday, December 17, 2009

Edith Wharton Society Research Award

Deadline: March 15, 2010

Each year the Edith Wharton Society offers an Edith Wharton Collection Research Award of $1500 to enable a scholar to conduct research on the Edith Wharton Collection of materials at the Beinecke Library at Yale University. 

Prospective fellows for the 2010-2011 award are asked to submit a research proposal (maximum length 5 single-spaced pages) and a resume by March 15, 2010 to Margaret Murray at or at this address:

Margaret Murray
Professor of English
Western Connecticut State University
Danbury, CT 06810 USA 

The research proposal should detail the overall research project, its particular contribution to Wharton scholarship, the preparation the candidate brings to the project, and the specific relevance that materials at the Beinecke collection have for its completion. The funds need to be used for transportation, lodging, and other expenses related to a stay at the library.

Notification of the award will take place by April15th and theaward can be used from May 1, 2010 till May 1, 2011. A final report will be due June 1, 2011. The Winner will be asked at that point to submit a short report essay to the Edith Wharton Review, which will briefly inform the readers of the EWR of the research done but will not be in the way of the winner publishing a scholarly article elsewhere as well. 

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Digested Classic: The Age of Innocence

At The Guardian:

Newland urged his horses on as the carriage raced along the coast road. "Sorry I'm a bit late," he said, though both he and Ellen knew that what he was really saying was that he loved her deeply, yet did not want to compromise her by making her his mistress.

"I've got to go now," Ellen replied, "I have to fend off Beaufort's unwanted attentions", though both she and Newland knew that what she was really saying was that she loved him deeply, yet did not want to compromise him by becoming his mistress.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Vote for The Mount

Help The Mount raise money by voting for us at Tourism Cares!
The organization Tourism Cares, the philanthropic and education arm of the tourism industry, has developed a new initiative. This program, Save our Sites, enables the public to vote for a site which they would like to see supported, and Tourism Cares will award a grant to the winner. The Mount was chosen for the shortlist, and we would very much like to encourage all of our supporters to vote for us! The grants are for various purposes, and The Mount has applied for funds to help with some of the most immediate structural repairs which are a continuing and critical part of the restoration of the property. All you have to do is visit their website and cast your vote by clicking on the list on the right of the page. Every vote counts and we hope that everyone who cares about The Mount will help us. Please take the time to help us by voting and letting all of your friends know to vote for The Mount! We appreciate your support!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Edith Wharton Always Had Paris

New York Times: Edith Wharton Always Had Paris

See also the slideshow of Paris locations associated with her work.

LIKE many of the characters in her novels, Edith Wharton made frequent use of concealment, reserve and deception in her own life. So it was fitting that the leading American female writer of the early 20th century experienced her first and most likely only passionate love affair in the city of Paris, far removed from her homes in New York and New England.

The pleasure she found in Paris in the years before World War I became a cover for the pleasure she took from the clandestine relationship with Morton Fullerton, a handsome, Frenchified, well-read American cad who worked as Paris correspondent for The Times of London.

“I am sunk in the usual demoralizing happiness which this atmosphere produces in me,” Wharton wrote in a letter at the end of 1907. She added, “The tranquil majesty of the architectural lines, the wonderful blurred winter lights, the long lines of lamps garlanding the avenues & the quays — je l’ai dans mon sang!” (“I have it in my blood!”)

For Wharton, Paris was a place of liberation. Intellectual women like her were listened to in this city. The setting was both aesthetically beautiful and logistically enabling for her romance, which she embarked upon in her mid-40s and kept secret from both her husband and her circle of friends.

“Theirs was a discreet adultery,” said Hermione Lee, the author of “Edith Wharton” (Alfred A. Knopf), the definitive biography of the writer. “It worked in Paris in a way that it never would have in America.”

She and Fullerton plotted their encounters via the text-message technology of the era: a furious exchange of brief notes delivered often several times a day by the Paris postal system.

“At the Louvre at one o’c in the shadow” of Diana, she wrote in one note. Today, the white marble sculpture of Diana, the goddess of the hunt, nude and reclining, her right arm wrapped around the neck of a stag, sits in a little-visited room up four sets of stairs off the Louvre’s Marly sculpture court. It is an excellent meeting place for a private rendezvous.
Her apartment hotel, when she needed temporary lodging, was the Hôtel de Crillon, recently opened in a late-18th-century building on the Place de la Concorde, which catered, she felt, to a cultured crowd. She detested the Ritz, where the newly rich but uncultivated Americans stayed, calling it the Nouveau Luxe in her fiction.

There is no Wharton suite or bar in the Crillon. My search of the Crillon’s guest books kept in the safe turned up the signatures of several other luminaries who stayed in the early years: Andrew Carnegie in 1913, Theodore Roosevelt in 1914, King George V of Britain in 1915. But there is no entry by Wharton.

Since she had described her Crillon space as “a very nice apartment up in the sky, overlooking the whole of Paris,” the hotel management believes that she must have rented what is now the Bernstein Suite, the sixth-floor set of rooms named after Leonard Bernstein, the American composer and conductor, who lived there off and on until his death in 1990. With its two terraces that give out onto the Place de la Concorde and the Pleyel grand piano that he played in the living room, it goes for 8,220 euros (the equivalent of more than $12,000) a night.
[continue reading at above link]

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Wharton Salon

June 18, 2009

THE WHARTON SALON: Xingu (August 20-23)

[THE MOUNT, LENOX, MA] A new forward-looking theatre ensemble, The Wharton Salon, in partnership with The Mount returns the adapted stories of Edith Wharton to the stage August 20-23 for a limited run of two evening and two morning performances in the drawing room of Wharton's historic home. The Salon's first production will be the delightful comedy Xingu adapted by Dennis Krausnick featuring Wharton veteran actors Corinna May, Daniel Osman, Diane Prusha and Tod Randolph with newcomers Lydia Barnett-Mulligan, Jennie Burkhard Jadow, Rory Hammond and Karen Lee, directed by Catherine Taylor-Williams. Xingu performs Thursday and Friday at 5:30 pm, Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 am. Tickets are $35 General Admission and include a Day Pass to The Mount. For tickets and information, call 413-551-5113 or visit;

"The Wharton plays were an enormous asset to the cultural life of the Berkshires and I am delighted we can bring them back in a new form,"
says Taylor-Williams. "I have missed the combination of these terrific actors, Wharton's home and her wonderful adapted stories. I am grateful to Susan Wissler and The Mount for the opportunity to share these plays with audiences once again, to Dennis Krausnick and Shakespeare & Company who began this work and inspired my love for Wharton, and I'm especially happy to be reunited with one of the most important characters in the plays, the house."

"We are thrilled to have The Wharton Salon with us at The Mount," says Executive Director Susan Wissler. "What an enlivening experience to see the stories of Edith Wharton performed in her historic home. We look forward to many great collaborations with The Wharton Salon"

Published in 1916, Edith Wharton's Xingu centers around Mrs. Ballinger (May), a society hostess in the town of Hillbridge, and the Lunch Club, a curious grouping of women who have gathered to host celebrated author, Osric Dane, (Randolph) with a discussion of her recent novel, The Wings of Death. The meeting is off to a terrible start, as no subjects of conversation can be found to endear the author to her audience and the meeting is heading for social disaster when the Club is "rescued" by the introduction of a fascinating subject, Xingu, by the Club's most unpredictable member, Fanny Roby (Lee). Roby immediately leaves, having remembered "a pressing engagement to play bridge" - celebrated author in tow. The Club members praise their good fortune of being rid of the author, and their knowledge of Xingu, until they make a startling discovery..

Edith Wharton (1862-1937) was born into a tightly controlled society known as "Old New York" at a time when women were discouraged from achieving anything beyond a proper marriage. Wharton broke through these strictures to become one of America's greatest writers. Author of The Age of Innocence, Ethan Frome, and The House of Mirth, she wrote over 40 books in 40 years, including authoritative works on architecture, gardens, interior design, and travel. Essentially self-educated, she was the first woman awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Yale University and a full membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The Wharton Salon performs the stories of Edith Wharton and her contemporaries in adaptation, offering a unique intimacy between author, actor and audience, and a view of The Mount's fantastic gardens with the Berkshire hills beyond. Salon plays are performed in the air-conditioned drawing room, and on temperate days the terrace doors are open, welcoming the outdoors into the playing space.

The Mount was designed and built by Edith Wharton in 1902. The house, three acres of formal gardens, and extensive woodlands are open to the public daily May through October.

At A Glance:

Production: Xingu

Adapted from Edith Wharton, by Dennis Krausnick

Theatre: The Drawing Room at The Mount, 2 Plunkett Street, Lenox, MA

Director: Catherine Taylor-Williams

Stage Manager: Lyn Liseno

Costumes Coordinated by: Arthur Oliver

Cast: Lydia Barnett-Mulligan, Jennie Burkhard Jadow, Rory Hammond, Karen Lee, Corinna May, Daniel Osman, Diane Prusha and Tod Randolph

Dates/Times: Thursday, August 20 at 5:30 pm Friday August 21 at 5:30 pm Saturday August 22 at 10:30 am Sunday, August 23 at 10:30 am

Tickets: $35, General Admission. Includes Day Pass to The Mount.
Wheelchair accessible.

Box Office: 413-551-5113 Box Office hours: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm or;

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Lying on the couch at the Mount

From Slate:

More recently, on a visit to Edith Wharton's country house in Lenox, Mass., I ducked into the empty living room and stretched out on the sofa, nap-style: Will regarding the ceiling from such an oddly intimate angle disclose a previously overlooked insight into the great woman herself? Only later did I stop to think that Wharton probably wasn't the napping type.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Edith Wharton letters

Edith Wharton Predicts Her Future

A trove of 136 Edith Wharton letters—some written when Wharton was just fourteen years old—sold at Christie’s yesterday to an American educational institution for $182,500. It’s a tremendous treat for Wharton aficionados, because prior to this discovery—as Rebecca Mead points out in her essay this week—there was only one known letter by Wharton from before she was married, at the age of twenty-three, in 1885.

Mead explains that Wharton asked Anna Bahlmann, her governess and the recipient of the letters, to destroy them. But she didn’t, and Bahlmann’s niece, who inherited them, held on to them, too. They sat for some fifty years in an attic and for another forty in a safe-deposit box. The Christie’s auction is the first time the letters have been publicly shared.

A friend of mine pointed out that Edith Wharton’s first novella, published in 1900, is eerily apt. “The Touchstone” tells the story of a betrayal committed by an impoverished lawyer named Stephen Glennard, who is hoping to marry his beautiful and equally impoverished fiancée. By chance, Glennard discovers that he can sell the love letters written to him earlier by the famous late writer Margaret Aubyn. They sell for a hefty price, allowing Glennard and his fiancée to wed. But Glennard is preoccupied with the guilt over the sale, and feels incapable of overcoming his sense of shame and betrayal to Aubyn.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wharton's letters

There's a slide show of Edith Wharton's letters over at The New Yorker; the article is only in the print version, unfortunately.

Edith Wharton-Anna Bahlmann letters

From the Christie's catalog:

Lot Description

WHARTON, Edith Newbold Jones (1862-1937). An extensive archive documenting her 42-year relationship with Anna Catherine Bahlmann (1849-1916), originally Edith's German language tutor, later her secretary and literary assistant. Comprising: 136 AUTOGRAPH LETTERS SIGNED ("E.N. Jones," "Herz" [heart], "E.W." etc), to Bahlmann ("Tonni"), various places (PenCraig, Rhode Island; The Mount, Lenox, Mass.; Venice, Paris, Rome, Washington Square, NY, etc.), 31 May 1874 - 15 September 1917. Includes one ALS from Edward ("Teddy") Robbins Wharton and 4 ALS of Edith Wharton to Bahlmann's niece after Anna Catherine's death. Some of the letters are quite lengthy, running to 8 and even 12 pages, 8vo and 12mo. (Many of Edith Wharton's letters with full transcripts).

various correspondents including Henry James (8/14/05); effects including clippings, programs, poems by acquaintances, typescript articles, a last will and testament, pamphlets on war-relief, ledgers and notebooks, a small sachet with ink drawing of young girl labeled "E.N. Jones 1875" etc. [With:] POSTCARDS: 46 from Edith and Anna Catherine's trip to North Africa, 1914; 278 additional postcards of European places and monuments.[With:] PHOTOGRAPHS: 25 pieces, many labeled by Bahlmann on verso, including portraits of Edith Wharton and other acquaintances, a number of large-format views and interior photographs of the Mount, 884 Park Avenue and other homes.


In about 1872, Edith's parents, on the suggestion of their Newport neighbors, the Lewis Rutherfurds, hired Anna Catherine Bahlmann (1849-1916), a young women of German ancestry, as tutor and later governess to the precocious 12-year-old Edith Newbold Jones, a voracious reader with strong literary inclinations. Their friendship became a close, enduring one. Years later, Edith Wharton spoke of Anna Bahlmann as "my beloved German teacher, who saw which way my fancy turned, and fed it with all the wealth of German literature, from the Minnesingers to Heine" (A Backward Glance, Lib. of America edn., p.820). In the following decades, Anna Catherine became Edith's confidant, critical reader and literary assistant. Bahlmann's influence on Wharton has remained unknown, but is richly documented in their extensive and entirely unpublished correspondence, which spans 1874 to Bahlmann's death in 1916. Its discovery permits significant new insights into the life and and literary work of Wharton.

The introduction to the Letters, ed. R.W.B. and Nancy Lewis, refers to "the oldest surviving" Wharton letter, dated 23 September 1874. The earliest letter in the Bahlmann archive (31 May 1874), pre-dates it by four months. "Almost twenty years must pass," the Lewises write, "before another letter by Edith Wharton comes into view." Remarkably, over forty of Wharton's letters in the Bahlmann archive are dated before 1894, thus filling in a major gap in Wharton's extant correspondence.

The early letters are filled with enthusiasm for her reading, which includes Daniel Deronda, Middlemarch, Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Longfellow's "Masque of Pandora," Edward Bulwer (whose work she disliked), the Eddas, Marlowe's Faustus, the Niebelungen, Milton, Shelley and Lowell's blank verse. "You are my supreme critic in these matters," she tells Bahlmann (10/17ca.1879). She notes when her own work is published, like an early sonnet, "St. Martin's Summer," for Scribner's; four poems for Atlantic (10/16/79), her popular "The Fulness of Life" (8/18/1891), a story "That Good May Come" (11/15/93) recalling "the hours we spent in writing it out together"; remarks that the The House of Mirth is having "unprecedented success" in the Revue de Paris (12/18/1907), and in a letter of 8/16/1913 asks Bahlmannn to suggest revisions of Custom of the Country.

[Read the rest at the above link. The letters went for $182,500]

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Mount in Victoria Magazine

In the comments section on the post for getting The Mount on the quarter, Gina noted that Victoria magazine has a photo spread on The Mount--thanks for letting us know!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Edith Wharton and American Psycho

Walter Benn Michaels at Book Forum:

If American Psycho harks back to the great novels of Edith Wharton—novels of manners in which the hierarchy of the social order is always what’s at stake—The Wire is like a reinvention of Zola or Dreiser for a world in which the deification of the market is going out rather than coming in. Although, of course, you had to pay the HBO subscription fee to watch it.

Monday, May 11, 2009

John Edwards as Ethan Frome?

From the New York Times:

Politics Italian-style looked particularly comical and benign this past week as Americans relived John Edwards’s marital betrayal on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in all its sad, sordid detail. Elizabeth Edwards, who has written a book, “Resilience,” about her personal trials, told all to Ms. Winfrey while her penitent husband slunk to another part of their North Carolina mansion, waiting his turn to answer to Ms. Winfrey — an Ethan Frome of his former self.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Dramatic adaptation of A Son at the Front

From Broadway World

A Son at the Front, an original play by Allen Frantzen, will have its world premiere performances June 5, 6, and 7 at the Athenaeum Theatre in Chicago. Based on Edith Wharton's poignant novel about World War I, A Son at the Front explores the effects of war on the family and friends of a young man who is eager to do his duty. Frantzen has enlarged on Wharton's themes, crafting a story of an American home front torn by divisions over the nation's role in the raging European conflict, and a family torn by disagreement about a son's destiny.

Set in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, in 1916 and 1917, the action plays out against the many strains that roiled public life: conflicts between rich and poor, capitalists and socialists, war resisters and a growing tide of anti-German feeling, Native Americans and neighbors with roots in Europe. A Son at the Front tells of the fate of a young man who signs up to be an ambulance driver in France even before America's formal entry into the war, and who subsequently enters the fighting. Meanwhile, his family and friends struggle to piece together their partial and differing understandings of his actions, his whereabouts, and his motivations, viewing events through conflicting perceptions of the young man himself and their own aspirations for him.
Additional information is available at

Friday, May 01, 2009

Louis Auchincloss, Mrs. Astor, and Edith Wharton

From the New York Times:

In his testimony, Mr. Auchincloss also described a lunch some 60 years later that he said had troubled him because she did not recognize him.

The lunch, at the Knickerbocker Club, took place in 2001, he said. “It was a great shock to me because she didn’t know me,” Mr. Auchincloss testified. “She knew she ought to know me.”

He said it was not the first time he had wondered about her. He said that in 1998, Mrs. Astor took part in a discussion about Edith Wharton at the Union Club and said she had known Wharton.

“This was astonishing to me,” Mr. Auchincloss said. “I’d written a biography of Edith Wharton. She had told me, which I knew to be true, that she’d never met Edith Wharton. She could have, but I happened to know she hadn’t.”

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Nominations needed for EWS Executive Board and EWS Secretary

From Laura Rattray, Nominations Chair:

Nominations are warmly invited for the EWS Executive Board and Secretary Positions. Please send completed forms to Laura Rattray by email ( by the deadline of 1 July 2009. Further details available at (

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Lily Bart and pride

From the New York Times, "Mind--When All You Have Left Is Your Pride":

The various flavors of pride may even feel similar on the inside, when the stakes are high enough. “She was always scrupulous about keeping up appearances to herself,” wrote Edith Wharton of her tragic heroine Lily Bart in “The House of Mirth.” “Her personal fastidiousness had a moral equivalent, and when she made a tour of inspection in her own mind there were certain closed doors she did not open.” If you believe it, so will they.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Edith Wharton in the News: The Mount on SciFi and Age of Innocence on Gossip Girl

>From Irene Goldman-Price:
Edith Wharton's home in the Berkshires, The Mount, is the subject of an episode of GhostHunters on the SciFi channel. The episode airs on March 25, 2009, at 9 p.m.EDT.

>From Emily Orlando and Jessica McCarthy:
The show _Gossip Girl_ (on the CW network), which frequently referencesWharton and her works in its themes, recently devoted an episode to a schoolproduction of _The Age of Innocence_. The episode is available here:

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Anna Quindlen on Edith Wharton

From the Buffalo News:

Quindlen, who has written more than a dozen books, said she has always been a voracious reader.

“I have a copy of Edith Wharton’s ‘House of Mirth’ that looks like a middle schooler had lunch on it,” she said.

“I believe with all my heart that reading made me what I am today. It has made me a better writer, a better citizen and a better mother. I can’t imagine my life without reading,” Quindlen added.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Mount on the quarter

From EWS member Irene Goldman-Price:

Help Us Put The Mount on the Quarter!

We’re usually asking you to give us a quarter, but today we want you to put us ON the quarter!

Beginning in 2010, the U.S. Mint will be placing important national sites on the back of the quarter, and The Mount has a chance to be chosen. Please follow this link and vote for us:

You may vote as often as you like until the deadline of February 26. There’s a lot of competition, but it would certainly be a great honor and would give us incomparable publicity. Many thanks for your support!


There is additional information at a new blog, Help Save The Mount! This blog has great information about the activities and lectures at the Mount as well as a direct link for donations.