Monthly Archives: June 2020

Edith Wharton in the News: June 28, 2020

From Fine Books Magazine


The initial installment of The Age of Innocence debuted in the July 1920 issue of the Pictorial Review, opposite an ad for Ivory Soap!

The curators at The Mount have also created an online exhibition, Writing The Age of Innocence, which introduces readers to Wharton’s process from start to finish— apparently it took her less than seven months to write this masterpiece! You can page through her penciled notes and photographs of the people and places that inspired the novel.

Several online events to celebrate the centennial are on the schedule, too, including:

Researching The Age of Innocence Wednesday, July 1, 4:00 PM

Anne Schuyler, Director of Interpretation and Nicholas Hudson, Curatorial Assistant, share insights from their research in preparation for of the centennial celebration of Wharton’s Pulitzer prize-winning novel.

100 Years of Innocence: A Conversation with Arielle Zibrak and Sarah Blackwood Thursday, July 9 at 4:00 PM

Authors and Wharton scholars Arielle Zibrak and Sarah Blackwood will discuss changing reactions to The Age of Innocence over the last 100 years. This is an online event.

Telling Two Stories with Elif Batuman and Jennifer Haytock Thursday, August 6, 4:00 PM

Author Elif Batuman and Wharton scholar Jennifer Haytock will share how their own multiple readings of The Age of Innocence has informed their understanding of social norms, class and privilege, from Wharton’s old New York through today.



From Jezebel:

From the perch of post-war modernity, one could receive Victorian manners and frames of reference as quaint, dare I say, innocent. However, Wharton harbors no interest in a glossy, rose-hued history of gentility. The world she renders is chilly, sleek, and stridently solipsistic: it is as devoted to its own aggrandizement as it is to its rigorous self-surveillance.

Edith Wharton’s New York Virtual Tour on July 17

You can now register for the Bowery Boys Virtual Walking Tour! They have created a special event and private link for us, so that everyone who attends the virtual tour will be part of the conference. To register, follow this link:
The event costs $20 and will take place at 1:00 EDT on Friday, July 17th. More details about the tour can be found on the Bowery Boys website:
Those who sign up will receive a Zoom link for the event the day before (July 16th) from the organizers of the tour.
In related news, we will be sending Zoom links for the keynote talk and roundtable panel toward the beginning of July.
If you have any questions, please let us know.

Margaret Toth (Meg) and Margaret Jay Jessee (Jay), Edith Wharton’s New York Conference Co-Directors

UPDATE on the 2020 Edith Wharton Society Awards

Because of our current pandemic’s effect on travel, we have decided to suspend the Edith Wharton Society Archival Research Award for the present time.  If you are interested in applying for this award, please hold your application materials until next summer.  The Elsa Nettels Award for a Beginning Scholar and Undergraduate Research Prize will be open, however, and the new deadline will be July 15.  We hope you will consider applying or that you will encourage your students and colleagues to do so.

Announcements: Edith Wharton’s (Virtual) New York for Conference Participants

Dear Conference Participants,

We are pleased to invite you to participate in Edith Wharton’s (Virtual) New York, a slate of events we are creating to recognize the canceled 2020 NYC conference and to commemorate the centennial of the publication of The Age of Innocence. These events are designed to honor not only Wharton’s relationship to the city but also the past, present, and future of Wharton scholarship.

We are still working out some details, but Edith Wharton’s (Virtual) New York will include two live sessions, and we ask that you please save the dates for those:

July 15, 2020 1:00 EDT: Keynote Lecture by Francis Morrone (Architecture Historian, NYU), “Newland Archer’s New York,” with an introduction by Meg Toth

July 16, 2020 1:00 EDT: Discussion with Wharton Scholarship Roundtable panelists on the past, present, and future of Wharton scholarship, hosted by Paul Ohler and Jay Jessee

We hope you will be able to join!

Thank you,
Margaret Toth (Meg) and Margaret Jay Jessee (Jay), Edith Wharton’s New York Conference Co-Directors


The original schedule for the in-person Edith Wharton’s New York 2020 is available under Conferences – Edith Wharton’s New York 2020 – Edith Wharton’s New York 2020 Conference Schedule in the menu bar and also here:

New Books: Edith Wharton’s Lenox by Cornelia Brooke Gilder

lenoxIn 1900, Edith Wharton burst into the settled summer colony of Lenox. An aspiring novelist in her thirties, she was already a ferocious aesthete and intellect. She and her husband, Teddy, planned a defiantly classical villa, and she became a bestselling author with The House of Mirth in 1905. As a hostess, designer, gardener and writer, Wharton set high standards that delighted many, including Ambassador Joseph Choate and sculptor Daniel Chester French. But her perceptive and sometimes indiscreet pen also alienated potent figures like Emily Vanderbilt Sloane and Georgiana Welles Sargent. Author Cornelia Brooke Gilder gives an insider’s glimpse of the community’s reaction to this disruptive star during her tumultuous Lenox decade.

New Books: The Night of All Souls, a novel by Philippa Swan

nightI’m contacting you about my recently published novel, The Night of All Souls, a mystery about words from the past. In this novel, Edith Wharton is variously reimagined: as a host in the afterlife, a historical figure in a modern novella, and as an elusive presence in the pages of her own writing. Published by Penguin NZ,  I’m hoping you will be interested to know more:

You may also be interested in a short reading:

And finally, I’ve recently published an article on why, in this age of a pandemic, we need Edith Wharton more than ever. (Please note that I wasn’t responsible for the photograph captions – I do realise the W.25th Street living room belonged to her mother, and that Edith wrote an entire book on home decoration that repudiated Lucretia’s taste in furnishings!)

New Books: The Inadvertent Researcher by Linda Selman

Website: and email address (1) (1)-1 copy

The Inadvertent Researcher is a beautifully illustrated, fascinating, and unusual detective book. It takes us on a compelling search through the worlds of 19th century society, literature, art, and journalism, as it discovers the hidden story behind a little-known Edith Wharton novella and brings to life the world and people of New York City and beyond in the Gilded Age. It gives its readers a delightful and highly recommended journey from a once famous but now forgotten Puck Magazine editor-in-chief H. C. Bunner to a pioneering suburban literary village to delicate watercolors and frescos. This marvelous tale of a vanished age brings together research and history in a lively and well-written book.

Stephen Marmon

Author, Editor Time-Life; Journalist The New York Times

New Books: American Writers and World War I by David A. Rennie


Looking at texts written throughout the careers of Edith Wharton, Ellen La Motte, Mary Borden, Thomas Boyd, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Laurence Stallings, and Ernest Hemingway, American Writers and World War I argues that authors’ war writing continuously evolved in response to developments in their professional and personal lives.

Recent research has focused on constituencies of identity–such as gender, race, and politics–registered in American Great War writing. Rather than being dominated by their perceived membership of such socio-political categories, this study argues that writers reacted to and represented the war in complex ways which were frequently linked to the exigencies of maintaining a career as a professional author. War writing was implicated in, and influenced by, wider cultural forces such as governmental censorship, the publishing business, advertising, and the Hollywood film industry.

American Writers and World War I argues that even authors’ hallmark ‘anti-war’ works are in fact characterized by an awareness of the war’s nuanced effects on society and individuals. By tracking authors’ war writing throughout their entire careers–in well-known texts, autobiography, correspondence, and neglected works–this study contends that writers’ reactions were multifaceted, and subject to change–in response to their developments as writers and individuals. This work also uncovers the hitherto unexplored importance of American cultural and literary precedents which offered writers means of assessing the war. Ultimately, the volume argues, American World War I writing was highly personal, complex, and idiosyncratic.

New Books: Wharton, Hemingway, and the Advent of Modernism, ed. Lisa Tyler

tylerWharton, Hemingway, and the Advent of Modernism is the first collection that examines the connections linking two major American writers of the twentieth century, Edith Wharton and Ernest Hemingway. In twelve critical essays, along with a foreword and an introduction, scholars from both camps explore the authors’ overlapping interests, contexts, and aesthetic techniques. Thematic sections highlight components in each author’s works that reveal their shared association with major trends in literary modernism, focusing on stylistic and formal experimentation, the Great War, European culture (including the expatriate movement), gender roles, technological advancements, and intertextualities between literature and popular texts. Together, the essays prove that comparative studies of Wharton and Hemingway open new avenues for understanding the broader aesthetic and cultural movements central to the development of American literary modernism in the early decades of the twentieth century. Contributors include Parley Ann Boswell, Dustin Faulstick, Anna Green, Peter Hays, Jennifer Haytock, Caroline Chamberlin Hellman, Ellen Andrews Knodt, Cecilia Macheski, Milena Radeva-Costello, Laura Rattray, Sirpa Salenius, Lisa Tyler, and Linda Wagner-Martin.