Monthly Archives: February 2016

Edith Wharton in the News: Obituary for Marion J. Mainwaring, 93

From the Boston Globe:

When Marion Mainwaring decided to complete Edith Wharton’s unfinished novel “The Buccaneers,” the critical response was harsh upon publication in 1993. Much venom was aimed at a decision to not tell readers where Wharton’s draft ended and Dr. Mainwaring’s work began.

In The New Yorker, John Updike complained that “we have a text that in no typographical way discriminates between her words and Wharton’s, and that asks us to accept this bastardization as a single smooth reading unit.” In The New Republic, Andrew Delbanco likened Dr. Mainwaring’s efforts to an act of “literary necrophilia.”

Speaking with the Globe a few months later in her North End apartment, Dr. Mainwaring shrugged off their barbs. “What they are really questioning is the effrontery of doing such a thing, aren’t they? That’s the basic question,” she said in 1994.

A little-known novelist and translator before “The Buccaneers,” she had only one significant publication after that literary dustup: “Mysteries of Paris,” a 2001 book about Wharton’s lover Morton Fullerton. Dr. Mainwaring died Dec. 12 in Framingham Union Hospital of complications from a stroke she suffered in her apartment. She was 93 and lived in Framingham.

[read the rest at the link above]

New Books and Articles: Sharon Kim, “The Dark Flash: Epiphany and Heredity in The House of Mirth.”

Kim, Sharon. “The Dark Flash: Epiphany and Heredity in The House of Mirth.”
Literary Epiphany in the Novel, 1850-1950: Constellations of the Soul. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

The book chapter is a revised and updated version of the article,
“Lamarckism and the Construction of Transcendence in The House of Mirth.” Studies in the Novel 38 (2006): 187-210.

Edith Wharton in the News: “Where do all these ‘long-lost’ manuscripts come from? “


This week’s question: Where are all these long-lost manuscripts coming from?

It seems it no longer matters if your favorite authors are dead or retired — their work just keeps on coming.

Recent years have seen a flood of original manuscripts rising from obscurity. “Lost” works by Edith Wharton, Charlotte Bronte, Truman Capote, F. Scott Fitzgerald and others have all surfaced.

[. . .]

Edith Wharton’s “The Field of Honor”

A postdoctoral fellow at Oxford stumbled across a previously unknown work by Wharton while researching World War I in Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. It was nine pages long, and it had been cut and pasted together with extensive annotations.

The story centers on Parisian society as it weathers the war. You can read it in full on The Times Literary Supplement.

From The Times Literary Supplement:

Although unfinished, “The Field of Honour” provides some fascinating insights into Wharton’s literary preoccupations as the war ended, particularly her feelings about women war workers and the relationship between America and France, and helps us understand further Wharton as a war writer.

Wharton in Washington 2016 Registration and Hotel Reservations Now Open

Wharton in Washington 2016 Registration and Hotel Reservations Now Open

With great delight, we are pleased to announce that the conference registration is now open. The registration fee includes a lunch and an evening reception that will follow the keynote address.

Registration fees are as follows:

$210: Professional Scholar

$185: Graduate Students/Postdocs

$160: Undergraduate Students

$20: Day rate for non-presenting participants (does not include lunch or reception)

Please note that all conference participants are expected to be members of the Edith Wharton Society at time of registration. You can become a member at

We ask that you register for the conference by April 15, 2016. After that date, registration costs will increase by $50.

You can register for the conference using PayPal at

Also at this time, you can make hotel reservations at the Fairfax Embassy Row by using this dedicated link: Edith Wharton Society

You can also call the hotel at (855) 559-8899 or (202) 293-2100. If you call, be sure to mention the conference code, GEW31A, so that you can get our specially negotiated rate of $209 per night. This rate is good for three nights before and after the conference, should you want to stay in Washington a little longer. The sooner you make reservations, the better, in case we need to secure additional rooms.

All conference events will be held at the Fairfax except for the lunch and keynote reception, which will be held next door at the historic Anderson House. The Fairfax is right near Dupont Circle, with easy access to restaurants, shops, and a Metro station. Nearby are the Phillips Academy, Woodrow Wilson’s house, and the Dumbarton Oaks Gardens, designed by Wharton’s niece Beatrix Farrand.

Please check the conference web site and/or like the conference Facebook page in order to keep up with information as it becomes available.

We’re very excited about the conference, and we look forward to seeing you in June!

Jennifer and Melanie

CFP: Edith Wharton’s Summer (MLA 2017; Deadline 3.15.16)

CFP: Edith Wharton’s Summer (MLA 2017; Deadline 3.15.16)

When, towards the end of her life, Edith Wharton named her five favorite works among her fiction, one short novel featured on the list: Summer (1917). To mark the centenary of its publication, we invite papers reconsidering Summer and its place in Wharton’s oeuvre. Themes and approaches might include: a re-evaluation of its critical reception, with Wharton claiming in A Backward Glance that Summer had “shocked” its readers, while T. S. Eliot suggested it would be considered “disgusting” in America; its position in Wharton’s canon, perhaps reconsidering the novel’s links to Ethan Frome and its label as “the hot Ethan.” Also welcome are re-considerations of Summer in the context of the discourses of race and eugenics in the early twentieth-century United States, disability studies, sexual politics, and the motif of incest. Topics might include Summer in the classroom, Wharton’s treatment of unprivileged lives, Charity Royall, the novel’s hotly disputed ending, or Lawyer Royall, alternatively viewed as prince or monstrous abuser, the man of whom Wharton wrote to Bernard Berenson: “Of course, he’s the book.” All themes and approaches are welcome, but most especially those illuminating the ongoing relevance of the novel as it reaches its centennial year. Send 250-word abstracts and a brief bio as a single Word document by March 15, 2016 to Presenters must be members of the Edith Wharton Society.