Frorm The Wall Street Journal
Bride and Conqueror
Dec. 13, 2013 4:12 p.m. ET
The Gilded Age has memorialized many successful and pruriently colorful businessmen in fact and fiction, but one of the canniest and most ruthless of them is a woman. Edith Wharton’s “The Custom of the Country” turned 100 this year, and the adventures of its heroine, Undine Spragg, remain as brazen today as when she first advanced upon the American scene.
Ms. Wharton set nearly all of her novels in the drawing rooms and country estates of the New York rich. In her hands, high society became a decorous killing floor, and a marketplace as freewheeling as the industrial postbellum economy in the U.S. at large.
The market in Ms. Wharton’s books is the marriage market. Ms. Wharton plumbed the analogy between the social and business worlds deeply, rendering courtship and marriage as cold and calculated exchanges for profit. “The emotional center of gravity’s not the same” as in the old days, notes one of the characters in “Custom.” Once it was love, but now it’s business. Ms. Wharton’s novels of manners are not marriage plots so much as business narratives.
[read more at the link above]
Call for Papers, American Literature Association (ALA) Washington, D.C.
May 22-25, 2014
Wharton and Masculinities
The Edith Wharton Society invites paper proposals that consider Wharton’s interest in constructions of masculinity. Papers might address normative and non-normative masculinities, historical approaches to men’s cultures and subcultures, male figures in relation to Wharton’s narrative technique, men’s imagined and real spaces (including, but not limited to, interiors, decors, architectural plans, and gardens), nationalized iterations of manhood, and social as well as homosocial relationships between men in Wharton’s work. Send proposals and one-page CVs to Melanie Dawson at email@example.com by January 15, 2014.
Writers in Europe: 1850 to the Present. Edited by Ferdâ Asya. Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.
The chapters on the works of Nathaniel Parker Willis, E.D.E.N. Southworth, Gertrude Atherton, John Cournos, Edith Wharton, Muriel Rukeyser, Langston Hughes, Edwin Rolfe, John Ashbery, Adrienne Rich, Richard Wilbur, Allen Ginsberg, Harriet Welty Rochefort, and Suzy Gershman, explore the impartial critical outlook that American writers acquired in different parts of Europe, from 1850 to the present, and used as a lens to view Europe and America. Focusing on some less familiar writers, they reveal intriguing aspects of the lives and works of American writers than those of the customarily anthologized expatriates. Offering a broad range of American experiences in Europe in an extensive span of time, the book widens the history of the transatlantic cultural and literary dialogue between America and Europe.
Scenes from David Carpenter’s opera, The Age of Innocence, will be performed this Sunday, November 17th, at 3pm, at Christ & St. Stephen’s Church, 120 W. 69th Street in New York City. Admission is free. For more information about the opera, please visit: http://davidowencarpenter.com/the-age-of-innocence.
From The Observer:
In her new biography Bernard Berenson: A Life in the Picture Trade, which was just published by the Yale University Press, Rachel Cohen offers up a nice little anecdote about the mutual distaste that the Old Master scholar Bernard Berenson and his good friend Edith Wharton had for Leonardo da Vinci and in particular his Last Supper (1494–98).
. . .
Wharton was enthused, writing to Berenson in a letter:
I must dash off a word of gratitude & rejoicing; for on the very first page I find are ‘excretions’ of the Last Supper. Ever since I first saw it (at 17) I’ve wanted to bash that picture’s face, & now, now, at last, the most-authorized fist in the world has done the job for me! Hooray!!!
Links to all minutes: http://public.wsu.edu/~campbelld/wharton/membership.html
Minutes, Edith Wharton Society (EWS) Business Meeting Friday, 24 May, 2013 Westin Copley Place, Boston Massachusetts, Baltic Room
Present: Meredith Goldsmith, Emily Orlando, Paul Ohler, Carole Shaffer-Koros, Sharon Kehl Califano, Melanie Dawson, Hildegard Hoeller, Julie Olin-Ammentorp, Laura Rattray, Sharon Shaloo, Elsa Nettles, Maureen Montgomery, Mary Carney, Kate Fama and others
Society President Meredith Goldsmith called the meeting to order at 12:40 pm. Paul Ohler took the minutes. Continue reading
Selected scenes from The Age of Innocence will be performed on Sunday, November 17, 2013 at 3pm at Christ and St. Stephen’s Church, 120 W. 69th Street in New York City. Admission is free. For more information on the opera and this performance, please visit: http://davidowencarpenter.com/the-age-of-innocence/
From David Carpenter:
The Age of Innocence: A Composer’s View on Adapting the Novel for the Operatic Stage
I first became acquainted with The Age of Innocence in the mid-1990s, when I saw the wonderful film adaptation of the novel by Martin Scorsese. Soon after that, I read the novel and was completely captivated by this story of suppressed emotion and thwarted love. At that time, I had been composing music for about nine years (having begun when I was fourteen), and even then I thought of what a wonderful opera the novel would make. I knew, however, that it would take several years before I had the experience as a composer to tackle the daunting task of adapting Wharton’s masterpiece into an opera. It was in 2009, when I was nearing the end of my doctoral studies in music composition at Temple University in Philadelphia, that I had to decide on a subject for my dissertation—for someone getting a degree in music composition, this would be a major musical work. For me, it had to be Age. Continue reading
Call for Papers, American Literature Association (ALA)
May 22-25, 2014
Edith Wharton and the Natural World
The Edith Wharton Society invites papers addressing Edith Wharton’s relationship to the natural world. Presentations might address Wharton’s engagements with nature, nature writers, landscapes, the environment, and so on. Especially welcome will be papers focusing on Wharton’s work with dogs (e.g., Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, such fictional works as “Kerfol,” her own beloved papillons, etc). Please send abstracts and a brief bio to Emily Orlando at firstname.lastname@example.org by January 15, 2014.