Category Archives: Wharton in the News

Wharton in the News: From The Guardian (1936): Lillian Gish on portraying Charlotte in the stage version of The Old Maid

http://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/the-northerner/2014/mar/17/lillian-gish-theatre-review-silent-films

Lillian Gish

Edith Wharton’s novel “The Old Maid” is to be seen at the Opera House in the hands of a remarkably good cast. The play ended last night with long-continued applause, which had the effect of bringing back repeatedly the two great characters, Lillian Gish and Carol Goodner.

It is easy to be suspicious of chronicle plays which begin in the 1830s and end in the 1850s, particularly when they deal with old maids. The old maids who know everything are a nuisance, the ones who know nothing are worse. But here we have no type but a collection of human beings, having substance and feeling, in one of those situations with which Edith Wharton proved it is not necessary to have melodrama or murder to awake sensibility and make tragedy visible. The storm can rise as well in a teacup as elsewhere.

. . .

Miss Gish played her part with extraordinary skill, moving by the gentlest accretions from the ardent girl of the first act to the tortured, frightened woman preparing for her daughter’s wedding and shaken by her secret. Those who have tears to shed in the theatre could scarcely withhold them for her piteous state at the ending of this play.

Edith Wharton in the News: Around the Web, January 2014

whartondogsA visit to the cemetery at The Mount where Wharton’s dogs are buried (Flavorwire)

Edith Wharton’s 1915 Paris Motor Vehicle Permit, at the Beinecke Library

Birthday Tributes

Edith Wharton in the News: Real Estate of The Age of Innocence

From the New York Times: A Pair of Bluebloods With Blueprints

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/05/realestate/real-estate-of-edith-wartons-the-age-of-innocence.html?_r=0

Lienau Collection/Avery Architectural Library

Rowhouses built by Rebecca Jones stood on the east side of Fifth Avenue, from 55th to 56th Street, in 1870.

By Published: January 2, 2014

Edith Wharton’s corpulent great-aunt Mary Mason Jones served as one of the most memorable inspirations in literary New York: the model for Mrs. Manson Mingott in Wharton’s novel “The Age of Innocence.”

The row built by her sister Mary Mason Jones two blocks north, looking south from 58th, in 1899. Mary Mason Jones and her house figure prominently in “The Age of Innocence,” a book by the sisters’ great-niece Edith Wharton.

Much of the 1920 book is centered on Mary Jones’s remarkable row of stone houses on Fifth Avenue, from 57th to 58th Street. But almost absent from Wharton’s writings is Mary’s sister Rebecca Jones, who built an equally impressive row just two blocks south.

The father of Rebecca, born in 1801, and Mary, born the year before, was John Mason, a founder of the New York and Harlem Railroad, which first ran in 1832. Rebecca married Isaac Colford Jones Jr., and Mary his cousin, also named Isaac Jones.

Rebecca and Mary early exhibited a taste for domestic proximity, occupying neighboring rowhouses on Chambers Street. No. 122, Mary’s place, supposedly had the first bathtub in New York; Rebecca’s ablutionary activities are not documented.

Later, three Jones families, including Rebecca and Mary’s, occupied three adjoining houses from 732 to 736 Broadway, in which the entertaining rooms could be opened to one another.

It is not clear where the sisters lived after 1854, when a nasty fight over their father’s estate, much of it property in New York City, was resolved. They were awarded two city blocks, each running from Fifth to Park, where streets had just recently been cut through. Rebecca’s domain was between 55th and 56th, Mary’s between 57th and 58th. These are where their architectural aspirations played out shortly after Wharton’s birth in 1862.

Mary started first, her architect, Robert Mook, filing plans in 1867 for what became Marble Row, a sparkling-white series of houses in the Parisian style facing Fifth from 57th to 58th. These houses take up a great deal of real estate in both the book and movie “Age of Innocence.”

Rebecca followed in 1869, when she had her architect, Detlef Lienau, design a similar row of eight houses for the 55th-to-56th-Street block, completed in 1871. These were more chaste than Mary’s, in part because of their olive-colored Ohio stone, but they, too, had the character of something on a Parisian boulevard.

[Read the rest at The New York Times link above]

Edith Wharton in the News: Bunner Sisters Staged Reading in New York (January 2014)

bunnersistersBunner Sisters

A Staged Reading Adaptation Based on the Edith Wharton novella
Written and directed by Linda Selman
Presented as a part of Metropolitan Playhouse Gilded Age Festival

January 14 at 7 pm
January 18 at 1 pm
January 23 at 7 pm
January 25 at 7 pm

Metropolitan Playhouse
220 East 4th Street
New York, NY 10009

Tickets:
1-800-838-3006
www.metropolitanplayhouse.org/tickets

Edith Wharton in the News: Robert Armitage’s Blog at the New York Public Library

Edith Wharton, A Writing Life: Marriage by Robert Armitage, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Gen. Research Division

 

Edith (Newbold Jones) Wharton, 1862, Digital ID 102809 , New York Public LibraryIn a writer’s life, nothing is ever wasted. Every wrinkle in the fabric of experience can be transformed into fictional material. Although there is nothing directly autobiographical in the novels and stories of American novelist Edith Wharton (born Edith Jones), they reflect very distinctly both the shape of her life and the movements of her thought. In my previous postabout her childhood, I left off with an unresolved question, one which would have been deeply troubling to Lucretia Jones, Edith’s mother:

What’s to be done with a young woman stricken with a misguided appetite for reading books and an even more unhealthy aspiration to write them?

The answer, of course, is to marry her off as soon as possible. [read the rest at this link.]

Edith Wharton in the News: The Age of Innocence Opera and Lectures in NYC on 11.17.2013

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/

Lectures:

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

Edith Wharton in the News: The Mount and its Furnishings

From the Boston Globe

DSCN1544

The Mount, 2012. Photo by Donna Campbell.

ILenox, The Mount is the home and grounds of Edith Wharton (1862-1937) whose books were popular enough during her heyday that royalties paid for the house and its furnishings — no mean feat for a woman author at the time. The sprawling house and grounds (49 acres, down from its original 113) have since been used for other purposes or closed to the public from time to time, but The Mount has widened its appeal by becoming the residence of the summer theater group Shakespeare & Company, being the site of a summer-long outdoor sculpture exhibition, as well as being rented out for weddings and other events.

Like her good friend and fellow author Henry James, Wharton traveled extensively in Europe and developed a strong affection for European gardens and great houses, and she is believed to have contributed much of The Mount’s design. Her 1897 book “The Decoration of Houses” expressed many of her ideas about functionality, proportion, and symmetry, and Wharton “poured her heart and soul into The Mount,” says Susan Wissler, the executive director. “The house and grounds are autobiographical and provide a window into her mind and passions.”

Continue reading

Edith Wharton in the News: The Age of Innocence (1993) at Vanity Fair

From “Cinema Aphrodiso: The 25 All-Time Greatest Love Stories” at Vanity Fair

THE AGE OF INNOCENCE
1993

Beautiful and grave from the first strains of Gounod’s Faust to the last ray of sun bouncing off a window, Martin Scorsese’s film version of Edith Wharton’s greatest novel gets richer with every viewing. [read more at http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2013/09/25-best-love-story-movies]

–Julie Olin-Ammentorp