Monthly Archives: January 2021

CFP: Edith Wharton and Work at MLA 2022 (Deadline: March 15, 2021)

Edith Wharton Society Call for Papers 

Modern Language Association 
Washington, DC January 6-9, 2022 

Edith Wharton and Work 

The EWS invites proposals for roundtable presentations (7-8 minutes) on work in relation to Wharton’s writing and life. Presenters might consider issues of class and labor; disability; domestic work; art and the literary market; “works” of art; the value/currencies of work; Wharton as worker; and more. Any theoretical or contextual approaches welcome. 

Please submit titled proposals (approx. 350 words) and a brief CV by March 15, 2021 to Jennifer Haytock at 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. 

CFP: Edith Wharton roundtable at SSAWW (deadline January 27, 2021)

The Edith Wharton Society invites proposals for a SSAWW roundtable (Baltimore, Nov 4-7, 2021) focused on the conference theme of “Ecologies, Survival, Change.” Proposals may cover any aspect of Wharton’s work, gardening, or environmental, political, or interpersonal contexts. “Ecologies” may also encompass systems and networks beyond the natural world. Please send 150-word proposals and short narrative cv’s to by 1/27. 

Updated CFP (New Deadline: February 15, 2021): Edith Wharton panels at ALA in Boston (July 2021)

Edith Wharton Society Call for Papers

American Literature Association

July 7-11, 2021 Boston, MA

Reading Edith Wharton at Times of Crisis: Precarity, Vulnerability, and Risk

The COVID-19 pandemic has culminated a global state of crisis, deeply defined by the inability to secure a future in either individual or collective terms. As we are grappling with the anxieties of biological, economic, and political survival, we are called to redefine the grounds—and the possibility—of security, permanence, longevity, and tradition. Throughout her work, Wharton has examined such questions across classes, genders, races, ages, and cultures. What do her works teach us about the current “crisis,” and, conversely, how can we re-examine her works in light of a pandemic and the ensuing circumstances of vulnerability and risk? As Judith Butler has argued in Frames of War, the precariousness of life is shared by all but the “precarity” of survival is unequally distributed among those who are most imperiled or disenfranchised.

This panel invites papers that explore how Wharton represents different forms of precarity, vulnerability, and risk throughout her fiction, poetry, drama, as well as non-fiction (e.g. travel writing, letters, essays). Panelists might consider (but are not limited to) the following topics:

  • How does Wharton represent the biopolitics of illness and death?
  • How is precarity inflected by race, ethnicity, gender, ability, and age?
  • What are the intersections of precarity, class, and capitalist risk?
  • Is risk endemic to Wharton’s representation of American culture and how does this contrast with her views on permanence and tradition (especially in an international context)?
  • What narrative forms, tropes, and genres does Wharton choose to register motifs of precarity and risk?
  • How does Wharton represent the precarity of military conflict and colonial regimes?

All theoretical approaches are welcome, and panelists are encouraged to consider more than one of Wharton’s works, if possible. Please submit titled proposals (approx. 350 words) and a brief CV by February 15, 2021 to Myrto Drizou at 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. More details about the format of the conference are to be announced by the American Literature Association in the coming months.

Queries Update: Reply to “Did Edith Wharton Read James Joyce?”

An unpublished Edith Wharton story, “The Children’s Hour,” recently appeared in The Times Literary Supplement (#6129:18 Sep 2020). The writing employs her humane and bitingly humorous skills equally, and it’s a triumph of a story. A sense of the story’s being incomplete struck me at first, but a rereading reveals it to be all there, and veering toward the postmodern. Another aspect is a vivid Joycean tone in dealing with the Catholic subject matter, and one could argue that the story is derivative of (or inspired by) The Dubliners. 

This led me to wonder about whether Wharton, who did read Joyce, had written any diary entries or essays about him, and indeed if she knew Joyce or ever corresponded with him. 

This entry was posted in Queries on October 21, 2020 by Donna Campbell

Wharton read James Joyce’s work and called Ulysses ‘schoolboy pornography’, famously comparing the prose to the raw ingredients of a pudding. In her 1923 letter to Berenson she wrote ‘I shall never believe that the raw material of sensation and thought can make a work of art without the cook’s intervening’. 

However RWB Lewis notes that she responded more positively towards his earlier work, and acknowledged that it had considerable merit (Lewis,1975: 520). 

The final section of ‘The Children’s Hour’* is quite arresting in its shift in style and subject matter,  and this type of poetic incongruity, which offers more questions than answers, is also present, I believe, in the endings of some of her other short stories, which have an almost modernist quality in their conclusions, or rather, lack of a single clear conclusion. I would recommend (re)reading Wharton’s ‘A Journey’(1899) and ‘After Holbein’ (1928) and looking at the final sentences. I certainly found their open-endedness intriguing, and their effect felt rather like the protomodernist ‘note of interrogation’ Adrian Hunter argues Woolf found in Chekov’s short stories. 

*Interestingly, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a popular poem entitled ‘The Children’s Hour’ which was first published in 1860. It refers to the time at the end of the day when children spent some time with their parents before going to bed. I wonder if Wharton had the work in mind when she wrote this story. 

Sarah Whitehead 

New Books: Rosedale in Love by Lev Raphael

Rosedale in Love has been reissued with a new Foreword and Afterword by the author, and is available at Amazon and B&N for Kindle and Nook.  Watch the book trailer.

In the glittering world of money-mad 1905 New York City, Jewish financier Simon Rosedale plans to force his way into high society through marriage and has his eye on Lily Bart. One of the most beautiful women in the city, Lily is a down-at-heels aristocrat plagued by gossip and might be vulnerable to his proposal. With his money and her style and connections, he can rise to the top—but will she lower herself to marry a Jew? Could such a marriage heal Rosedale’s secret shame, and will Florence Goodhart, the cousin who adores Rosedale, help or hinder his plans? Written in a period voice, Rosedale in Love audaciously revisions Edith Wharton’s beloved classic The House of Mirth, offering readers a timeless American story of greed, envy, scandal, love and revenge.

Lev Raphael is a prize-winning author, reviewer, and blogger who has published 26 books in a wide range of genres and seen his work translated into over a dozen languages. A former student of Wharton biographer Cynthia Griffin Wolff, Raphael has been reading and teaching Wharton for decades. He’s written a highly regarded biography/critical study of Wharton as well as an acclaimed comic mystery, The Edith Wharton Murders, that delves into the politics around her reputation. Special Archives at Michigan State University’s Library has purchased his literary papers in recognition of his contributions to American Literature.

“Richly textured and darkly witty, Rosedale in Love explores the inner life of outsiders, to whom the hidden give-and-take of high society is a language to be struggled with, for whom external wealth and inner impoverishment go hand in hand. Lev Raphael catches the subtlety of Wharton’s original, and enriches her exploration of a story in which love pulls against ambition, and shame is a daily taste in the mouth.”—Laurie R. King, author of Pirate King

EWS Officers, 2021-2023

A complete list of officers from previous years is available under Membership – Officers and Executive Board


President: Jennifer Haytock,  jhaytock@brockport.eduSUNY Brockport

Immediate Past President: Melanie  William & Mary

Vice President: Myrtoğaziçi University

Secretary: Jay Jessee,  University of Alabama at Birmingham

Treasurer: Sharon Kim, Judson University

Editor of the Edith Wharton Review: Paul Ohler,paul.ohler@kpu.caKwantlen Polytechnic University

Webmaster: Donna Campbell, Washington State University(Ex Officio)

Membership Committee: Chair Sheila Liming, Champlain College 

EWS Archivist: Carole Shaffer-Koros,

At-Large Executive Board Members

Laura Rattray, University of Glasgow

Virginia Ricard,  Bordeaux Montaigne University

Meg Toth, Manhattan College