Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Edith Wharton Review (Fall 2011) Table of Contents

Volume 27.2, Fall 2011

Faulstick, Dustin H. "'He that Loveth Silver Shall Not Be Satisfied with Silver'" Reconsidering the Connection between The House of Mirth and Ecclesiastes."Edith Wharton Review 27.2 (Fall 2011): 1-12.

Patten, Ann L. "'The Wanamaker Touch in Fiction' and Edith Wharton's Guide to Novel-writing in Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive." Edith Wharton Review 27.2 (Fall 2011): 12-22.

Raphael, Lev. "Writing Wharton's Wrong." Edith Wharton Review 27.2 (Fall 2011): 22-2.

Shaffer-Koros, Carol. "Wharton in New York." Edith Wharton Review 27.2 (Fall 2011): 23-24.

Goldman-Price, Irene. "Edith Wharton Collection Research Report." Edith Wharton Review 27.2 (Fall 2011): 24-25.

Olin-Ammentorp, Julie. Rev. of Edith Wharton and the Politics of Race by Jennie A. Kassanoff. Edith Wharton Review 27.2 (Fall 2011): 25-26.

Campbell, Donna. Rev. of The Unpublished Writings of Edith Wharton, ed. Laura Rattray. Edith Wharton Review 27.2 (Fall 2011): 26-27.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

New Independent Production of Summer

An independent feature adaptation of Edith Wharton's 1917 classic Summer is planned for 2012. In development since 2010, Summer has been adapted for the screen by Carl J.Sprague - - film designer and verteran of several projects based on Wharton's work - notably The Age of Innocence (1990) and The Buccaneers (1995). Principal locations have been identified in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, where Wharton made her home and took inspiration for the overlooked masterpiece she called "the hot Ethan Frome". Further information is avaiable at and on the Facebook page Summer. Wharton enthusiasts are encouraged to visit - opinions, suggestions and support are most welcome.

The Edith Wharton Restoration at The Mount has generously hosted readings of the screenplay, and another very successful reading took place in April 2011 at the Players Club in New York. Financing is still in progress, but over $100,000 has been raised toward an approximately million dollar budget. Casting sessions are scheduled for January. Principal photography will begin in March 2012 and continue into the early summer. A summer 2013 release is anticipated.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Edith Wharton's Childhood Home

n the shadow of New York’s Flatiron Building, sandwiched between a burrito shop and a deli, sits the five-storey building where a young Edith Wharton spent much of her childhood reading in her father’s library.

The American author, the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Literature, was born and spent her childhood years at 14 West 23rd Street. However, the droves of people who walked by on their way to Madison Square Park every day had no idea. Nor did local historians or even the owners of the building until a walking tour leader recently discovered the fact.

Now, thanks to preservationist Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, a red plaque next to the modern glass entrance alerts passersby and visitors that the building housed, among other rooms, an extensive library that inspired Wharton’s initial curiosity about books during an era when a woman’s name was only to appear in print three times in her life – at birth, marriage and death.

Diamonstein-Spielvogel has devoted the past 15 years to commemorating more than 100 locations throughout New York’s five boroughs – the childhood homes, studios and workspaces of famous residents – through the Historic Landmarks Preservation Center’s cultural medallion programme. The programme was the latest in her four-decade-long commitment to preserving the city’s history.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Edith Wharton and Leonardo da Vinci

Edith Wharton first saw Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper during a trip to Milan when she was 17. It was to be almost four decades before she finally gave vent to the passion it had aroused. During that long interval, she said, she had "wanted to bash that picture's face". It wasn't the most edifying contribution to art history and she was careful not to broadcast it. Rather, she confessed her loathing privately in a letter to the art historian Bernard Berenson, who, as "the most authorised fist in the world", had just done her pugilistic business for her.

Berenson had published The Study and Criticism of Italian Art (Third Series, 1916) in which he revealed that, as a boy, he had "felt a repulsion" for The Last Supper. "The faces were uncanny, their expressions forced, their agitation alarmed me," he recalled feverishly. "They were the faces of people whose existence made the world less pleasant and certainly less safe." This description of the most famous narrative painting in the world as resembling a Neapolitan marketplace drew great opprobrium. One American newspaper compared it to an act of war, claiming Berenson had "torpedoed" Leonardo's reputation (this at a time when German U-boats were sinking allied ships). Another review argued that he had shown "such want of sympathy with Leonardo's work as is generally considered to place a critic's estimate out of court".

Ben Stiller Teaming with ‘Reality Bites’ Writer for Edith Wharton-Inspired Horror ‘The Mountain’
Ben Stiller
is set to reunite with Reality Bites writer Helen Childress for a new picture that couldn’t be more different from their last collaboration. The new project, titled The Mountain, will be a period horror story based on characters from Edith Wharton‘s novel Summer. The movie marks a sharp change of pace for Stiller, whose past projects have been mostly comedies. In addition, it represents a return to writing for Childress, whose Reality Bites was her first and last feature screenplay. More details after the jump.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Wharton Birthplace To Get Commemorative Plaque

14 West 23rd Street

Join HDC and the Historic Landmarks Preservation Center for a ceremony commemorating the life and work of Edith Wharton, author of “The House of Mirth” and “The Age of Innocence”. Born in 1862 at 14 West 23rd Street in the Ladies’ Mile Historic District, Wharton was a chronicler of New York City’s Gilded Age and trendsetter for her generation.

The Plaque is part of the Historic Landmarks Preservation Center’s Cultural Medallion program. The Center, chaired by Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel (HDC’s 2011 Landmarks Lion), has installed almost 100 medallions around New York City to heighten public awareness of New York’s cultural and social history.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Mindy Kaling on The House of Mirth
What’s a favorite book that you’ve read for school?
I would say probably House of Mirth. I read that in 9th grade, and that book completely changed my life. I love Edith Wharton, and my teacher Ms. Fox had us read it, and I just never read a book like that before, like a book that’s from the early 1900’s but felt so modern in terms of what the main character was going through.

That’s such a great book. I feel like it preceded so many modern-day books, movies, and TV shows.
Isn’t that book freaking amazing? I love that book. It’s so current. I think that’s what makes it so timeless. Listen, I freaking love Jane Austen, love Charlotte Brontë, I love stories about frivolous families, and you know, sisterly rivalries — I love that. But House of Mirth so describes the feeling of being trapped in a time of not wanting to get married but sort of having to, and having one chance out of it and the tragic side of that. Because in the Jane Austen books, they usually end up getting married, right in the nick of time, and in House of Mirth, it’s what happens when you don’t. And she didn’t even want to! She would have been okay not doing it. Anyway, I just love that book. It’s just so good.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ethan Frome and "Pauline Drayton"

From the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers post on the gift book:

Edith Wharton's love‑triangle in ETHAN FROME is dimly fore‑shadowed by a love‑triangle in `Pauline Drayton,' a story in THE IRIS for 1852.

Lev Raphael in the Huffington Post
Years ago a novelist friend told me that the only thing worse than not being published was being published. I liked the phrase so much I later made it the epigram of my second mystery, The Edith Wharton Murders. But at the time, I had no idea what he could mean. Once you got published, what could you have to worry about? Wouldn't life be perfect?

That was before I had my first wrangle with a copyeditor.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Monday, May 23, 2011

Edith Wharton Society web site is down temporarily

Because of an outage at the main WSU web site, the Edith Wharton Society web site is down temporarily. The IT people say that it will be restored by the end of the week (5/27). Sorry for the inconvenience.

Donna Campbell

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Edith Wharton Collection Award and Essay Prize

The Edith Wharton Essay Prize

Call for Submissions

Deadline: April 30, 2011

Instituted in the fall of 2005, the Edith Wharton Essay Prize is awarded annually for the best unpublished essay on Edith Wharton by a beginning scholar. Graduate students, independent scholars, and faculty members who have not held a tenure-track or full-time appointment for more than four years are eligible to submit their work. The winning essay will be published in The Edith Wharton Review, a peer-reviewed journal indexed in the MLA Bibliography , and the writer will receive an award of $250.

All entries will be considered for publication in The Edith Wharton Review as well as for the Edith Wharton Essay Prize. Submissions should be 15-25 pages in length and should follow the 6th edition MLA style, using endnotes, not footnotes. Applicants should not identify themselves on the manuscript but should provide a separate cover page that includes their names, academic status, e-mail address, postal addresses, and the notation “The Edith Wharton Essay Prize.”

To submit an essay for the prize, send three copies to The Edith Wharton Review:

Edith Wharton Collection Research Award

Deadline: March 21, 2011

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 2011-2012 award are asked to submit a research proposal (maximum length 5 single-spaced pages) and a resume by March 21, 2011 to

Gary Totten,
English, Dept. #2320
P.O. Box 6050
North Dakota State University
Fargo, ND 58108-6050

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 April 15th and the award can be used from May 1, 2011 till May 1, 2012. A final report will be due June 1, 2012. 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.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Edith Wharton Conference 2012

Edith Wharton in Florence:

A Sesquicentennial Conference Sponsored by

the Edith Wharton Society

6-8 June 2012

Please join us for the international conference of the Edith Wharton Society in Florence, Italy, celebrating the sesquicentennial of Wharton's birth. “Edith Wharton in Florence” will be the third Wharton Society conference held in Europe and the first in Italy. The conference directors seek papers focusing on all aspects of Wharton's work, and we especially welcome submissions dealing with the international contexts of her writing. Papers might offer readings of any of Wharton's texts, including the short fiction, poetry, plays, essays, and travel writing, in addition to the novels; Wharton's work in relation to any of its nineteenth- and twentieth-century contexts; Wharton in a transatlantic literary context; Wharton and her contemporaries, both male and female, canonical and non-canonical, European and American; Wharton in Italy, Morocco, and elsewhere in Europe; Wharton and the other arts, including painting, photography, theatre, and film (adaptations of her work during her lifetime and those that have appeared more recently); Wharton and cosmopolitanism, globalization, and the various forces of modernity; Wharton and art history. All theoretical approaches welcome, including feminist, psychoanalytic, historicist, marxist, queer, and ecocritical, among others.

Through the generosity of Marist College, the conference will be held at Marist's Lorenzo di Medici campus, in the heart of Florence. In addition to panels, there will be a keynote speaker and opportunities for tours of the area.

Please submit 250-500-word abstracts and brief CV to

by 15 July 2011.

All conference participants must be members of the Edith Wharton Society

at the time of registration.

For more information about the conference, contact Conference Directors

Meredith Goldsmith (Ursinus College; and

Emily Orlando (Fairfield University;

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Edith Wharton - the American novelist who joined France's WWI effort

Edith Wharton - the American novelist who joined France's WWI effort

By Molly Guinness

The streets just east of the historic Les Invalides military hospital in Paris’s seventh arrondissement have an air of distinguished calm. But when France went to war in 1914, one resident of the rue de Varenne was not prepared to watch from her drawing room.

American novelist Edith Wharton set up workshops for women all over Paris, making clothes for hospitals as well as lingerie for a fashionable clientele. She raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for refugees and tuberculosis sufferers and ran a rescue committee for the children of Flanders, whose towns were bombarded by the Germans.

Her friend and fellow author Henry James called her the "great generalissima".

One of the few foreigners allowed to visit the front lines, she described herself rather as “an eager, grotesque figure bestriding a mule in the long tight skirts of 1915, a prosaic Walkyrie laden with cigarettes”.

As long as enriching life is more than preserving it, as long as culture is superior to business efficiency, as long as poetry and imagination and reverence are higher and more precious elements of civilisation than telephones or plumbing, as long as truth is more bracing than hypocrisy, and wit more wholesome than dulness, so long will France remain greater than any nation that has not her ideals.

French ways and their meaning, Edith Wharton
In 1916 she won France’s highest decoration - the Légion d'honneur. She was also the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for literature.

The plaque outside her house at 53, rue de Varenne says Edith Wharton was the first American writer to come to live in France for love of this country and of its literature.

"When I think of Paris, I think of heaven,” says Margaret Murray, who is president of the Edith Wharton society. “That’s what Paris was for her.”

Wharton came to Paris in 1907 and discovered a world where she could be an intellectual woman and where she could have an affair.

“When I used to go and wander up and down the rue de Varenne and spend time familiarising myself with that area that Wharton lived in, I used to feel that it was extraordinarily different from the rest of Paris,” says Wharton’s biographer Hermione Lee. “My feeling is now, as then, that it was a very special and rather rarefied and rather closed-in part of Paris.”

The area has retained the quiet grandeur it had at the beginning of the 20th century when Wharton was entertaining major cultural figures like André Gide, Walter Berry and Henry James.

In 1914, though, she opened up several apartments in the area, transforming them into workshops for women.

“When war broke out an immense number of benevolent women in Paris felt a violent but vague impulse to ‘help’,” Wharton wrote in the New York Times. “This impulse found its chief expression in the traditional pursuits of making lint, hemming towels and crocheting baby jackets.
"Such activities are harmless and even commendable in days of peace, but in war time any unpaid industry encroaches on the rights of the unemployed, and this fact was so promptly understood in France that I can claim only by a few weeks’ priority the honor of having founded the first paying workroom in Paris.”

Soon her workshop in the rue de l’Université was overflowing and she was obliged to open up others around the arrondissement.

When refugees began pouring into Paris in September 1914 – “they all came at once in a terrible tidal wave” – Wharton took up their cause. She rallied friends to provide three large houses, she wrote endless letters to America and her friends in France asking for money and managed the accounts with impressive business acumen.

“The worst of doing good is that it makes one forget how to do anything more interesting,” she remarked.

Her literary output suffered as a result of all this good – “I had a really big novel in me a year ago (excuse the gynaecological metaphor), but things have killed it.”

Wharton took a hard line when it came to incompetence or silliness.

Her route to the frontline was impeded because some women had behaved so riotously that French authorities were clamping down on frontline tourism. Wharton was bringing supplies to the soldiers.

“I don’t know anything that horrifies me more than the mixture of flirtation and surgery, of opoponax [a scent] and chloroform,” she said.

Wharton's writing was almost alone in America in its bleak portrayal of the war; she was ashamed of America’s isolationist policies during the first years, and one of her best friends, Walter Berry, is credited with being instrumental in bringing America into the war.
[read the rest at the link above]

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Mount Seeks Help

From the Berkshire Eagle:

Mount seeks help
By Clarence Fanto, Berkshire Eagle Staff
Updated: 01/08/2011 08:15:45 AM EST

Saturday January 8, 2011

LENOX -- The Mount, home of the Edith Wharton Restoration and one of the county's iconic historic-house museums, is facing potential financial peril again: It's actively seeking a new lender to assume total debts of $5.2 million and pursuing a financially strong partner to share the spacious property off Route 7 & 20 and form a strategic alliance.

In response to ongoing operating losses, a slowdown in contributions, and a formidable $1 million "balloon" repayment to two principal creditors due at the end of May, the staff was cut by one-third, from nine to six, in November.

"We've talked to a number of cultural organizations but we haven't found the right fit yet," Executive Director Susan Wissler told The Eagle this week. "It would be at least part of the solution."