Author Archives: Donna Campbell

About Donna Campbell

Professor of English, Washington State University. Late nineteenth- and early 20th-century Americanist and digital humanities. and

Wharton in the News: Shadow of a Doubt Production in New York

Edith Wharton’s


Monday, January 28, 2019

7:30 PM
Lucille Lortel Theatre

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]


Lecture: Linda Selman: The Inadvertent Researcher: A New York Story Parlor, June 07, 2018

NYC at the Salmagundi Club, 47 Fifth Avenue.
Linda Selman: The Inadvertent Researcher: A New York Story
Parlor, June 07, 2018

Thursday, 6:30pm

Free admission.

Sponsored by the SCNY Program Committee.

About the lecture:

Playwright Linda Selman recounts from her book, The Inadvertent Researcher: A New York Story, how the painting principles of the Hudson River School of Art, the Ashcan School, and the Tonalist Movement found in Edith Wharton’s first New York novella “Bunner Sisters,” led her to discover unknown works of art housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New-York Historical Society, and the Salmagundi Club, while adapting the narrative for the stage. Written in 1891, but not published until 1916, the story focuses on the drama and hopes of the poor, the immigrant, and the disenfranchised as they attempt to eke out meaningful lives in the tenement houses and overcrowded streets of the city. These findings culminated with her discovery of an “American Bloomsbury” community in Nutley, New Jersey where art influenced literature and literature influenced art. And ultimately, to a leader in a movement that changed the tastes of America and established cultural standards still revered today – Henry Cuyler Bunner, grandnephew of Alexander Hamilton, editor-in-chief of Puck magazine, father of the New York Story genre, and a founder of the reform-minded Independent Party.

About the speaker:

Linda Selman has developed, directed and written works for Off-Broadway including the two Emmy Award-winning Bubbe Meises/Bubbe Stories, From My Lady’s Diary:Marie AntoinetteTallulah Hallelujah! Starring Tovah Feldshuh, and Bunner Sisters at the Metropolitan Playhouse Gilded Age Festival. (The first presentation of Bunner Sisters was in 2006 at the Salmagundi Club.) In November of 2017, Nutley, N.J. inducted Henry Cuyler Bunner into their Hall of Fame. Ms. Selman accepted the honor for the Bunner Family and also co-curated with the director of the Nutley Historical Society, John Simko, the exhibition “The World of H. C. Bunner: Changing the Tastes of America from New York to Nutley.” Ms. Selman is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America and Chair of the Theatre Committee at the National Arts Club.

Her beautiful book, The Inadvertent Researcher: A New York Story will be available after the lecture for signing and purchase.

Dining Room opens at 5:30pm. Attendees can dine before or after the presentation. Reservations are required. Please call 212-255-7740 to make a reservation.


p3_WhartonOn February 14, 2018, the Times Literary Supplement published a newly discovered lecture by Edith Wharton, “France and Its Allies at War: The Witnesses Speak,” translated by Virginia Ricard (University of Bordeaux).   Professor Ricard is co-editor of volume 29, Translations and Adaptations, of the Complete Works of Edith Wharton, a 30-volume series under contract at Oxford University Press.

The entire lecture is online at (Image courtesy of this site.)

Read the rest of this interview at the Complete Works of Edith Wharton site,

  1. How did you happen to discover this piece?

In France we have an extraordinary tool, Gallica, a digital library created by the Bibliothèque nationale. Like the Internet Archive, it constantly expands the amount of material it makes available and improves accessibility. Over the years, I have downloaded anything and everything concerning Wharton or by Wharton that I found on Gallica. “L’Amérique en guerre” was published in the Revue hébdomadaire on 2 March 1918, and the review was uploaded by Gallica in December 2013. I read the lecture, among other things, soon afterwards. But it was in Washington, in July 2016, as I listened to Alan Price’s paper that I realized just how interesting it was. So the credit really goes to Alan. When I began looking at the translation work required for the Complete Works of Edith Wharton, I realized that “L’Amérique en guerre” had never been published in English and so I set to work on it. As I did so, I thought 2018 seemed the right moment to publish it—just a hundred years after Wharton gave her lecture and a little over a hundred years after the United States entered the war—still an important event in Europe although I think all but forgotten in the United-States.

  1. What can you tell us about this lecture? Do we know how it was received by those who heard it?

“L’Amérique en guerre” was part of a series organized in 1918 by the Société des conferences, that is, a lecture society that worked closely with the Revue hébdomadaire in which the lectures were regularly published. This particular lecture was one of ten called Paroles de témoinsThe Witnesses Speak. The nine other speakers were politicians, members of the Church, and writers, all closely involved in the conflict for various reasons. I think is is pretty clear why the organisers asked Wharton to take part. She had influenced American opinion, which the French saw as an essential factor in the American decision to enter the war, and she had contributed to the war effort in France. So she was, in that sense, “a witness.”

Newly Translated and Previously Unpublished Edith Wharton Lecture at the Times Literary Supplement


Newly published lecture “France and Its Allies at War: The Witnesses Speak” translated by Virginia Ricard, Wharton scholar and an editor of Wharton’s translations in The Complete Works of Edith Wharton (Oxford University Press).

Read an interview with Virginia Ricard about this piece next week at the Complete Works of Edith Wharton site:

On February 8, 1918, in a series called “France and Its Allies at War: The Witnesses Speak”, Edith Wharton gave a lecture in French to an audience of about 400. Why had the United States entered the war with such enthusiasm? How could Americans, who were only interested in money-making, be ready to fight? The lecture, which appears here for the first time in English and in edited form, was an attempt to answer these questions. It reveals Wharton’s interest in the early American settlers’ lasting contribution to democracy, and displays her wide – and generally unsuspected – knowledge of American history.

Virginia Ricard

There is a profound difference, a funda­mental difference, between the French and the Americans: a difference of language, far greater than that which exists between races of Latin origin, whose languages draw on a common linguistic fund. When an Italian or a Spaniard needs to translate his ideas into your language, he finds an equivalent, or even a synonym, far more easily than we do. For the person of purely Anglo-Saxon origin, there is, apart from the difficulty of pronunciation, that of finding exact equivalents in French for her American thoughts. If I call your attention to this obstacle, it is not merely to beg your indulgence. Rather, it is because I was invited to speak to you of my country and one of the most delicate questions concerning the relations between our two peoples is precisely the problem caused by the difference between our languages. If the United States and France were near neighbours, this obstacle would be less troublesome, but we are obliged to converse through the intermediary of the press and government statements. Each time I see the translation of a speech or an official American Government statement in a French newspaper I fear a misunderstanding.

(Read the rest at the Times Literary Supplement).