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.
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
220 East 4th Street
New York, NY 10009
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]
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!!!
From the Boston Globe:
The Mount, 2012. Photo by Donna Campbell.
In Lenox, 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.”
Gilding the Ages: Edith Wharton’s Berkshire Sanctuary
JARED BOWEN: Even today, Edith Wharton occupies a place as one of America’s leading literary ladies. She was born into the upper crust of old New York in the mid-1800s—a member of high society who also exposed it through the prism of her pen. Wharton wrote more than 40 books in 40 years including “Ethan Frome” and “The Age of Innocence” for which she became the first woman awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Today she is also remembered for her home, The Mount. And if ever a house could serve as an autobiography, The Mount is it. Situated on a hill overlooking a lake in Lenox, Massachusetts, it was conceived by Wharton from the ground up. She dreamed its location, guided its aesthetic principles and designed her elaborate gardens. It was in a sense, her own “House of Mirth”—which she wrote while living here.
Continue reading: Video and transcript at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/entertainment/july-dec13/wharton_09-14.html
From “Cinema Aphrodiso: The 25 All-Time Greatest Love Stories” at Vanity Fair
THE AGE OF INNOCENCE
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]