Welcome Message from EWS President Myrto Drizou

Dear Members of the Edith Wharton Society,

I would like to wish you all a very happy, healthy, and rewarding new year. For all the challenges that the last two years have brought, we have sustained our community and have continued our support to Wharton scholarship. We owe this primarily to you but also to the EWS Board and the skillful leadership of Jennifer Haytock, whose Presidency navigated an ongoing pandemic and global shifts with capacity, generosity, and unfailing grace. I am deeply grateful to Jennifer and, as the incoming President of the Society, I hope to continue her wonderful work.

What keeps our community strong is first and foremost our membership; it’s you. Please take a moment to renew your membership, which also includes a yearly subscription to the Society’s journal, the Edith Wharton Review:


I would like to extend warm thanks to current Editor, Rita Bode, as well as former Editor Paul Ohler, for their commitment to keep the journal at the forefront of Wharton scholarship. Please consider submitting your work, as the Edith Wharton Review remains a great forum not only for established but also new voices in Wharton Studies.

Wharton Studies is, indeed, your work and your scholarship. On the part of the EWS Board, we will continue to facilitate and support scholarly exchange. Please keep an eye out for the EWS awards (the call will be out soon); send a proposal to our regular MLA, ALA, and other conference panels; and come to our online and (hopefully more in-person) events. We are currently exploring options for a future symposium and a larger conference; so please stay tuned and join us when the time comes!

Finally, let us celebrate Edith’s birthday together. Do join us on Monday (January 23rd) for an online event jointly organized by the Transatlantic Literary Women (led by the indefatigable Laura Rattray) and the EWS. Donna Campbell—whose work on Wharton hardly needs introduction—will kick off the new year with excellent scholarship and an exciting talk on The House of Mirth:

Thank you all so much for your support to the Edith Wharton Society, and see you on Monday!

Warm wishes,


From Laura Rattray: TLW and EWS Talk with Donna Campbell on January 23

From Laura Rattray: We’re delighted to be running the Edith Wharton birthday week talk again this January as a joint event between the Edith Wharton Society and the Transatlantic Literary Women. 

We very much hope you’ll join us on Zoom on Monday 23 January (5pm UK; noon NYC) when our speaker is the one and only Professor Donna Campbell! Need I say more? 

Donna will be speaking on ‘All the Phases/Faces of Lily Bart: The House of Mirth from Manuscript to Novel to Play’

Further details of Donna’s talk are available here: 

EWS Welcomes New Officers

The EWS welcomes its new slate of officers for 2023-2025:


Thanks to the officers and board members from 2021-2023:

Officers 2021-23

At-Large Executive Board Members

CFP Deadline Extended to 1/20/23: Edith Wharton Panels at ALA

Deadline extended to January 20, 2023.

The Edith Wharton Society will sponsor two panels at the American Literature Association 34th Annual Conference on May 25-28, 2023.

The Westin Copley Place
10 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02116

Edith Wharton and Beauty

The Edith Wharton Society invites papers that explore Wharton’s engagement with beauty in her works. Panelists are encouraged to consider the role of beauty in her writing on design, gardens, and travel as well as her novels and stories. All theoretical approaches are welcome. Proposals might consider (but are not limited to) the following questions:

  • What does beauty mean or how is it constituted in Wharton’s work?
  • How do questions of shape, color, or form inflect Wharton’s perspectives on design, art, or fashion?
  • How does affect relate to beauty in Wharton’s works?
  • What is the role of natural beauty in Wharton’s texts?
  • How are Wharton’s characters affected by beauty?
  • How is beauty gendered, raced, or classed in Wharton’s work?
  • What is the relationship between beauty and cosmopolitan taste in Wharton’s texts?

Please submit a 250-300 word abstract and a brief CV by January 5, 2022 January 20, 2023. Please include any requests for AV needs in your proposal. Scholars whose proposals are accepted must be members in good standing of the Edith Wharton Society by the time of the conference.

Please send to mjjessee@uab.edu 

American Literature Association

34th Annual Conference

May 25-28, 2023

The Westin Copley Place
10 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02116

Edith Wharton and Weather: Culture, Climate, and Change

There’s a lot of weather in Edith Wharton’s writing: storms, snow, heat, and wind. Among other questions, proposals might consider the following:

  • How do climactic phenomena trigger, mirror, provoke human behaviors and reactions?
  • How do Wharton’s sensibilities as a traveler, gardener, and interior designer inform her approaches to weather and vice versa?  
  • How does weather figure into Wharton’s status as realist, sentimentalist, satirist, or modernist?

Please submit a 250-300 word abstract and a brief CV by January 5, 2022. Please include any requests for AV needs in your proposal. Scholars whose proposals are accepted must be members in good standing of the Edith Wharton Society by the time of the conference.

Please send to mjjessee@uab.edu and mgoldsmith@ursinus.edu.

From Stacy Holden: Podcast episode about Edith Wharton in Morocco

From Stacy Holden: I spoke with Michael Cullinane of “The Gilded Age and Progressive Era” podcast about my study of Edith Wharton in Morocco.  . . .  And I really like this podcast, above and beyond the support for my work, so I’d love for more to know about it.

Here is a link: https://shows.acast.com/gildedageandprogressiveera/episodes/edith-wharton-in-morocco

Edith Wharton Session at MLA in San Francisco: January 8, 2023, 10:15 a.m.

Edith Wharton and History
January 8, 2023, 10:15 a.m.

Moscone West 3010

Chair: Myrto Drizou, Bogaziçi U

  1. “‘Murmurs of the Saxon Urwald’: Edith Wharton’s Origin Stories of the United States”
    Frederick Wegener, California State University, Long Beach
  2. “Edith Wharton’s Dealings with the Silent Past”
    Isabelle Parsons, Open U
  3. “Wharton’s Survivals: ‘The Duchess at Prayer,’ ‘The House of the Dead Hand,’ and Art History Gothic”
    Allison Neal, Trinity C, U of Cambridge
  4. “Wharton’s Histories of Crime: Lizzie Borden, the Praslin Case, and the Psychology of Murder”
    Donna M. Campbell, Washington State U

EWR requests contributions on digital pedagogy

Dear all,

Edith Wharton Review is seeking contributions on digital pedagogy for its “Teaching Notes” section on teaching Edith Wharton and her contemporaries. 

We are interested in case studies that highlight the value of including digital tools (e. g. for collaboration, annotation, or analysis) in literary and cultural studies classrooms and that illustrate specific assignments, tools, and practices of digital pedagogy (broadly understood) for helping students engage with Edith Wharton’s writing. 

Essays are accepted on a rolling basis, should be approximately 3000 words long, and in accordance with MLA guidelines. 

We welcome inquiries at Katrin.horn@uni-bayreuth.de

Information on the journal is available here: https://www.psupress.org/Journals/jnls_EWR.html

Wharton in the News: Sofia Coppola in Praise of Edith Wharton’s Beloved Antiheroine, Undine Spragg

“We watch her like a car crash while at the same time we root for her.”

By Sofia Coppola

November 15, 2022

Until I read The Custom of the Country, I had never met a literary character quite like Undine Spragg, nor encountered such an in-depth portrait of a classic antiheroine. Yet, we’ve all met women like her. We all know women who have transformed and reinvented themselves. Undine follows the trends carefully, without having anything unique to add, and unabashedly markets herself at the center of the world of high society that she longs to belong to.

I’ve always loved Edith Wharton’s writing, but The Custom of the Country is my favorite, and I think her funniest and most sly. As I’ve worked on adapting it into a screenplay, I’ve found it interesting to hear some men say that Undine is so unlikable, while my women friends love her and are fascinated by her and what she’ll do next. We’ve all seen her before, the way she walks into the room, her focus on men, and her ease with their gaze. We admire and are annoyed by her. While I’ve often worked on stories with more sympathetic characters, it’s been so fun to dive into Undine’s world and pursuits.

Read the rest at https://lithub.com/sofia-coppola-in-praise-of-edith-whartons-beloved-antiheroine-undine-spragg/

Wharton in the News: The House of Mirth (2000) now streaming on Showtime & Prime Video

Photograph from Alamy

In his exquisite and anguished adaptation, from 2000, of Edith Wharton’s novel “The House of Mirth,” Terence Davies brings to life the book’s daring societal X-rays—the revelations of codes and norms, unspoken rules and silent judgments, that govern the glittering whirl of fin-de-siècle New York high society, especially those that limit women’s independence. Gillian Anderson stars as Lily Bart, the orphaned heiress to a vanished fortune, who depends entirely on an elderly aunt’s charity. The alluringly free-spirited Lily’s only hope to maintain her lavish life style is to marry into money, but the man she loves (Eric Stoltz), a lawyer, hasn’t got much, and she spurns rich men she doesn’t love. Pursuing her desires with an ingenuous sincerity, she risks exposing the falsehoods of other women, who eject her from their social ranks, sending her into free fall without a financial safety net. The tragic contradictions of Lily’s brilliant character—her refined aestheticism, lacerating wit, and heedless passion—are matched by Davies’s rapturous yet rueful display of the era’s sumptuous fashions and furnishings, which quietly shudder with the crushing power of the unwritten laws that sustain them. The movie, long unavailable, is streaming on Showtime and Prime Video. — Richard Brody


TLW Talk: Dr. Gabrielle Fletcher on “Summer and the so-called White Slave” (Monday, October 31)

Please join us on MONDAY 31st OCTOBER  5pm Glasgow/1pm New York for Tea with the Transatlantic Literary Women, when we’re delighted to be welcoming Dr Gabrielle Fletcher (University of Galway) who will be talking on “Summer and the so-called White Slave”. 

Lindsay has posted the details here: