Author Archives: Donna Campbell

About Donna Campbell

Professor of English, Washington State University. Late nineteenth- and early 20th-century Americanist and digital humanities. http://www.wsu.edu/~campbelld/ and http://www.donnamcampbell.wordpress.com

Wharton Queries Answer about CBS Radio Mystery Theater

Mr. Slavney,

After listening to “The Beast” in its entirety, your hunch that Payton and Grams are mistaken would seem to be by substantiated by the similarities between Agate’s adaptation and Wharton’s 1908 story “The Choice” (first published in _The Century Magazine_ here: http://www.unz.com/print/Century-1908nov-00032/) and republished in her 1916 collection _Xingu and Other Stories_ (available online here: https://bit.ly/2tfoyKv). While Act I of the adaptation (including the accident, the dead man in the road, the dead man’s son seeking revenge, and the police investigation) is almost entirely Agate’s invention, the first part of Act II and much of Act III closely follow the plot of Wharton’s “The Choice” and directly quote her dialogue on numerous occasions.

There is a faint possibility—since the central character in “The Beast” claims, at one point, that he hit a dog (not a man) in the road and Wharton’s “The Blond Beast” includes an important episode involving an injured dog in the road—that Agee’s first act may have been partially inspired by Wharton’s other story. The similarities between the two titles could, however, be entirely coincidental, since it’s made clear in the course of “The Beast” that its title is (at least in part) an allusion to Hamlet’s soliloquy (quoted here from the 1604 Second Quarto, Folger Shelfmark: STC 22276) in which he exclaims, “What is a man / If his chiefe good and market of his time / Be but to sleepe and feede, a beast, no more:” (http://www.quartos.org/main.php).

Best of luck with your book,
Dan Hefko

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Wharton Queries: EW story on CBS Radio Mystery Theater

I’m hoping that you or someone in your organization would be able to help me identify a particular Edith Wharton story.I am writing a book about the CBS Radio Mystery Theater, a radio drama anthology that aired from 1974 through 1982. In 1979, the series broadcast an episode that they explicitly represent as being “adapted from a story by Edith Wharton.” Unfortunately, they do not specify which story.
The plot of the radio drama concerns a wealthy woman who recently married a selfish man. He has already lost much of her money and aims to lose more. She has fallen in love with his friend and attorney. The husband strikes and kills a man in a hit and run. The police investigate and suspect him. The victim’s son wants to find the killer. The husband becomes more selfish and intolerable. His wife and the attorney discuss killing him. He kills the attorney, Finally the son of the man killed in the hit and run murders the husband in revenge.
Do you have any thoughts about which, if any, Edith Wharton story this adaptation resembles, even if only vaguely? I’d be grateful for any help that you or members of you group might be able to provide. Please feel free to share my note with others who might have some ideas.
Thank you,
John Slavney
Update 2/2/19 from John Slavney

 

Thanks much for your help in solving this mystery. It’s my theory that Payton and Grams are mistaken and the only similarity is in the title. I am scouring Wharton’s short stories presently and think it’s just a matter of time before the experts or I come up with a better match!

The theory that it’s a loose adaptation based on generalized Nietzchean themes seems a bit too generous, IMHO.

I’ll post any findings or theories in the forum.

Thanks again for your interest and assistance! –John Slavney

Edith Wharton’s THE SHADOW OF A DOUBT Monday, January 28, 2019

Single Tickets go on-sale October 22.

Directed by Adrienne Campbell-Holt
Featuring  Emily Brown, Kate Burton, Marin Ireland, and Jay O. Sanders and more to be announced!

“My dear, after twenty, all life is pretending, and it’s easier to pretend in a good house, than alone in a garret!” advises Lady Uske, urging our heroine Kate to return home to her husband, in Edith Wharton’s long-lost drama. Written 20 years before The Age of Innocence earned her the first Pulitzer Prize for Literature to be awarded to a woman, Wharton’s The Shadow of a Doubt contains kernels of the socially conscious characters and themes of her later masterpiece novels.

[read the rest at https://www.redbulltheater.com/the-shadow-of-a-doubt]

 

CFP: Edith Wharton at ALA (Deadline January 7, 2019)

Reposting because the deadline is in 1 week!

Edith Wharton Society Call for Papers
American Literature Association
May 23-26, 2019 Boston, MA

The Edith Wharton Society will sponsor two panels at ALA in 2019. Scholars whose proposals are accepted must be members in good standing of the Edith Wharton Society by the time of the conference, and individuals may participate in only one panel.

The Case for Comparisons

The Edith Wharton Society solicits proposals for a roundtable discussion, comprised of 2 single-spaced-page position papers outlining arguments for studying Wharton’s work in relation to a particular writer and that author’s specific works.  What specific works of Wharton and another author pose compelling possibilities for teaching and/or scholarly work? What theories or histories or contexts would this comparison engage?  What do we gain from studying Wharton’s work comparatively? What potential pitfalls, if any, await us?  250 word proposals, with titles, by Jan. 7 to Melanie Dawson at mvdaws@wm.edu.

Wharton and the Family

The Edith Wharton Society invites proposals for 15-20 minute papers on “Wharton and the Family” for inclusion in the ALA 2019 program in Boston. Proposals may approach any aspect of Wharton and the family, including issues of maternity, paternity, childrearing, sibling relationships,  queer families, and more. Papers may also compare Wharton’s representations of families with those of her contemporaries. Titled proposals (approx. 300 words) are due to Jennifer Haytock (jhaytock@brockport.edu) by January 7, 2019.