Monthly Archives: April 2020

Edith Wharton Poems at The Mount

From our friends at The Mount:

Dear Edith Wharton Society,

Yesterday we at the Mount put online readings by Irene Goldman-Price of 6 of Wharton’s poems. We thought perhaps you would like to link to it. The link is below.

Like many places, there’s a lot of uncertainty about when we will open. Our original plan was May 9th. That now seems unlikely but we will take our cues from our state and local officials. In the meantime, we’re busy working on online projects like this.

Thank you very much and hope you’re staying healthy and well.


Wharton Queries: The Old Maid as a film?

I’m sitting in quarantine as we all go through this global pandemic together, it is surreal tines, but has afforded me the time to read. I had the great pleasure of reading Edith Wharton’s novella “The Old Maid” from her ‘Old New York’. I was completely drawn into the dynamic between the cousins and the struggles of maternal sacrifice. I am interested in writing a film adaptation of the story, and since it entered the public domain this year, it looks like that is something I can proceed with, can you confirm this for me and/or point me in the right direction for further information?
Thank you,
Christen Carter



Although the novella is in the public domain as of this year, the 1939 Warner Brothers film adaptation starring Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins isn’t.  Even though you’d be writing your own film adaptation, I’m guessing that there are probably rights issues involving Warner Brothers that would need to be investigated first. The Watkins/Loomis Agency (see the FAQ page) might be able to help.

–Donna Campbell

Edith Wharton in the News

OK, we’ve now moved to 79th Street, between Fifth and Madison

In “House of Mirth,” Edith Wharton’s heroine turns a corner and sees grand new houses, “fantastically varied, in obedience to the American craving for novelty.” Americans at the turn of the century felt they had inherited the whole of Western civilization, that it was theirs to do with as they wished.

I asked Mr. David, a social critic of Hollywood mores who has been called “a savage Edith Wharton” by his friend Larry Charles, why all these celebrities seemed so devoid of self-awareness.

“I don’t know, that’s the $64,000 question,” he said. “I guess their instinct is to help, their motives are good, and they don’t consider how it might come off.” But, he added, “I think it’s a complete lack of judgment to talk about your lifestyle at this time, it’s crazy. Of course other people are going to react like that.”


Eaton: We are beginning to generate ideas here — ideas that would work for Masterpiece. And then we talk to some of these independent companies and PBS Distribution about their interest in initiating our projects.

“The Buccaneers,” a 1995 miniseries adapted from Edith Wharton’s unfinished novel, followed the adventures of wealthy young Americans who marry into the British aristocracy. (Photo: Joss Barrett/Mobil)

This is the absolute reverse of how things used to work, though it did happen occasionally. We initiated Middlemarch, for instance, years ago. We had the idea, found a writer — Andrew Davies — and brought it to the BBC. And we did this with Edith Wharton’s The Buccaneers, which is one of my favorite pieces of literature. But we weren’t the primary funder of those co-productions.