Queries: What do Wharton scholars think of the Marion Mainwaring version of The Buccaneers?

The book group I lead just read The Buccaneers. A central question arose: how is it that a writer –– in this case, Marion Mainwaring –– was able to “complete” Edith Wharton’s unfinished manuscript? (And find a major publisher willing to print it?) Was Mainwaring a friend of Edith Wharton’s? Did she need permission from Wharton’s literary executors? What does the Edith Wharton Society, as a body of EW scholars, think of the results?

Are there other instances where an authors’ unfinished work was completed by someone else?

Any insights you can offer would be most appreciated.

Thank you, terri epstein, Email: terriepstein13@gmail.com

Response:

Dear Ms. Epstein,

I can’t speak for all EWS members about this edition, but Marion Mainwaring (1922-2015) was a translator and literary critic who researched materials for Wharton’s first modern biographer R. W. B. Lewis on his 1985 biography of Edith Wharton. In addition to her edition of The Buccaneers, she published Mysteries of Paris: The Quest for Morton Fullerton (2001), billed as “The first complete account of Edith Wharton’s unknown lover.”  –Donna Campbell