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

A Wharton poem on the anniversary of her death

Dear All,

It was on this day in 1937 that Edith Wharton left us.  Here is a poem she wrote a few years earlier, in her private diary.  It was published recently by Laura Rattray in her two-volume Unpublished Writings of Edith Wharton.

Lullaby for a Tired Heart

It will go
Like the snow
That falls in March,
Like the glow
Of the rainbow’s arch
In the sun,
The Tempest done . .
It will go
As the streams flow,
You the leaf
The stream carries,
With your grief
That’s as brief,
On the tide that never tarries–
You will go.

All of our lives have been deeply enriched by Wharton’s presence on this earth, and loving her work has brought us all together.   For that I am grateful.

Warm thoughts for all of you,

Irene

Election Results

Dear Edith Wharton Society Members,

On the anniversary of Edith Wharton’s passing, I write to report on the recent election.  With thanks to Donna Campbell for overseeing the electronic survey, the membership has voted overwhelmingly in favor of the revisions to the EWS bylaws and in favor of two new officers to serve on the EWS board:  effective January 1, 2017, Jennifer Haytock will step in to the position of Secretary and Madeleine Vala the position of at-large member of the Executive Board.  Thank you for your support of the Edith Wharton Society and all best wishes for these cherished summer hours.

Emily Orlando
President, The Edith Wharton Society

New Articles

Drizou, Myrto. Citizenship in the ‘Land of Letters’: Edith Wharton’s Literary Home in Exile.” Critical Insights: American Writers in Exile. Eds. Jeff Birkenstein and Robert Hauhart. Amenia, NY: Salem Press, 2015. 73-87. Print.

 

New Books: Bitter Tastes: Literary Naturalism and Early Cinema in American Women’s Writing by Donna M. Campbell

bittertastesBitter Tastes: Literary Naturalism and Early Cinema in American Women’s Writing
Donna M. Campbell

University of Georgia Press, September 2016.
http://www.ugapress.org/index.php/books/index/bitter_tastes

A fresh look at naturalism and the women who helped to define it

Reviews

No work that I know of explores in such detail and within the context of a shared literary/aesthetic tradition the incredible number of women writers Campbell’s study covers and, at times, uncovers, resurrecting writers once considered important but then shunted aside by ideologically prescribed recanonizations. The book is important, then, not only for uncovering an extended line of women writers who constitute a tradition but for modeling the type of cultural study, grounded in an appreciation of all forms of American artistic expression, that is inclusive and therefore representative of American literary production.”
—Mary E. Papke, editor of Twisted from the Ordinary: Essays on American Literary Naturalism

Description

Challenging the conventional understandings of literary naturalism defined primarily through its male writers, Donna M. Campbell examines the ways in which American women writers wrote naturalistic fiction and redefined its principles for their own purposes. Bitter Tastes looks at examples from Edith Wharton, Kate Chopin, Willa Cather, Ellen Glasgow, and others and positions their work within the naturalistic canon that arose near the turn of the twentieth century.

Campbell further places these women writers in a broader context by tracing their relationship to early film, which, like naturalism, claimed the ability to represent elemental social truths through a documentary method. Women had a significant presence in early film and constituted 40 percent of scenario writers—in many cases they also served as directors and producers. Campbell explores the features of naturalism that assumed special prominence in women’s writing and early film and how the work of these early naturalists diverged from that of their male counterparts in important ways.

New Books: Emotional Reinventions: Realist-Era Representations Beyond Sympathy by Melanie Dawson

emotionalEmotional Reinventions: Realist-Era Representations Beyond Sympathy.
Dawson, Melanie.  University of Michigan Press, June 2015.

http://www.press.umich.edu/7807503/emotional_reinventions

Focusing on representational approaches to emotion during the years of American literary realism’s dominance and in the works of such authors as Edith Wharton, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, W. D. Howells, Charles Chesnutt, and others, Emotional Reinventions: Realist-Era Representations Beyond Sympathy contends that emotional representations were central to the self-conscious construction of high realism (in the mid-1880s) and to the interrogation of its boundaries. Based on realist-era authors’ rejection of “sentimentalism” and its reduction of emotional diversity (a tendency to stress what Karen Sanchez-Eppler has described as sentimental fiction’s investment in “overcoming difference”), Melanie Dawson argues that realist-era investments in emotional detail were designed to confront differences of class, gender, race, and circumstance directly. She explores the ways in which representational practices that approximate scientific methods often led away from scientific theories and rejected rigid attempts at creating emotional taxonomies. She argues that ultimately realist-era authors demonstrated a new investment in individuated emotional histories and experiences that sought to honor all affective experiences on their own terms.

 

“This is a nuanced and elegant analysis of how affect is portrayed in what Dawson refers to as ‘realist-era’ fiction. Against a critical tradition that downplays emotion’s centrality to this era, Dawson maintains that writers from this period reappropriated emotions crucial to the antebellum era but did so primarily to interrogate conventional expressions and established meanings.”
—Cynthia Davis, University of South Carolina

 

EWS Prizes Awarded

EWS Prizes Awarded

Dear Edith Wharton Society Members and Friends,

Our judges have now had a chance to assess a record number of submissions and I am pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Edith Wharton Society Awards:

The Edith Wharton Prize for a Beginning Scholar is awarded to Dr. Lina Geriguis of Chapman University for her essay “‘Rich in Pathological Instances:’ Disability in the Early Reception Theory of Ethan Frome.”  Second place goes to University of Cincinnati PhD candidate Lindsey Kurz for “The Heroine of a ‘Queer Episode’: Gerty Farish’s Martyrdom in The House of Mirth.”  Both essays are under consideration at the Edith Wharton Review  for possible publication.  Thank you to Drs. Melanie Dawson and Myrto Drizou for serving as judges and Dr. Meredith Goldsmith, EWR editor, for overseeing publication.

Three (3) essays were singled out for the EWS Undergraduate Research Prize.  First place is awarded to Angela Sammarone of Fairfield University for “‘On the threshold she paused’: Doors in Edith Wharton’s The Decoration of Houses and The Mother’s Recompense.”  Angela wrote her essay under the direction of Dr. Emily Orlando.  A revised version will appear on the Edith Wharton Society website.  Honorable mention goes to Lauren E. Hayes  of Framingham State University for her essay “‘More Real to Me Here Than if I Went Up’: Fantasy Visions and Fear of the Unknown in Wharton’s Summer and The Age of Innocence.”   Lauren produced her essay under the direction of Dr. Carolyn Maibor.  Honorable mention also is awarded to Jacqueline Bradley of the University of Wyoming for “False Freedom: The Constraints of Divorce in Edith Wharton’s ‘The Other Two'”.  Jacqueline wrote her essay under the direction of Dr. Arielle Zibrak.  Thank you to Drs. Sharon Kim and Shannon Brennan for serving as judges.

The EWS Award for Archival Research is awarded to Dr. Bethany Wood of Southwest Baptist University for her project Adaptations Preferred: Gender Across 1920s Fiction, Theatre, and Film.  Thank you to Drs. Meredith Goldsmith and Gary Totten for serving as judges.

Please join me in congratulating our winners and a tip of the hat to the mentors who advised them as they produced their prize-winning work.  Thank you also to our distinguished Wharton scholar judges for their important work assessing the entries which, by all accounts, were quite impressive this year.

All best wishes,

Emily Orlando

Emily J. Orlando, Ph.D.

President, The Edith Wharton Society