Category Archives: Announcements

New Translation of “Les Marocaines chez elles” part 1, by Edith Wharton

Screen Shot 2020-08-21 at 9.54.41 AMFrom “Les Marocaines chez elles,” by Edith Wharton, translated by Nandan Kulkarni

I try, while exchanging compliments through our interpreter, to note down the details of their dresses. But how shall I describe the complex jumble of the gauze thrown on the heavy brocades? The lovely movements made with thick silk ribbons in large gold loops which are slipped under their underarms and lift their heavy sleeves? The fullness of the beautiful fabric, with folds like those in a Veronese painting, high above the large rigid belts? And, above all, the incredible complexity of their hair? Their black hair, curled and shaved at the bulge of the forehead, makes only a black line below the gold diadem or cloth band that a jewel holds just above their arched brows… Braids fall over every other part of their face; over their ears, which are laden with heavy earrings, coral pendants, big gold rings with emeralds or pearls, “bijoux de juifs” (jewels of the Jews) made in the blue Mellahs (Jewish quarters) of white cities. The countless necklaces fall on the gleaming of rich caftans, above the little pink, blue, or white gauze frills in the style of Watteau. On a narrow neck of black velvet: necklaces of gold, amber, coral, eccentric combinations of amulets and rough stones crafted in the same goldsmithery in the Mellah. All this forms an ensemble of extraordinary radiance, where the pink gauze blends with the blue and gold brocade, the white gauze with old rose gauze and violet or green-apple belts. Through the group weaves in and out a little négrillon (negro boy) with the sweet little face of Zamor, whose violet silver-spangled caftan is encircled by a beautiful raspberry-pink silk scarf.

***

In the fall of 1917, at the invitation of the French government, Edith Wharton spent three weeks touring Morocco by car. “Like a burst of sunlight between storm-clouds,” this excursion in the middle of the First World War gave Wharton, with unique privileges of access granted by her hosts, the opportunity to observe and then write about what was then, to Westerners, “a country still completely untouched by foreign travel” (A Backward Glance, 358). The tour resulted in a series of articles in Scribner’s and the Yale Review, which were then, reorganized and illustrated with photographs, published in 1920 by Scribner’s as the book In Morocco. While the brevity of her trip prevented her from writing the full-scale tour guide she felt was needed, Wharton did give her book a historical preface using scarce French sources, thus bringing more information about North Africa to a popular Anglophone readership than was previously available. Wharton was also fully aware, it seems, that as much as her book would provide “vivid and picturesque” glimpses of a “curious…beautiful” country “rich in landscape and architecture,” it would also encourage and enable a “deluge” of tourism that would destroy much of what she recorded (In Morocco, ix-xi, passim).

There was one other article in which Wharton documented her trip, an account in French that appeared in La Revue des Deux Mondes in the spring of 1918: “Les Marocaines chez elles,” which includes some observations not duplicated, it appears, in any of her Anglophone publications about Morocco. The partial translation excerpted above, and fully available here, was undertaken by Johns Hopkins University rising junior Nandan Kulkarni as a final project this spring for “Scribbling Women,” an undergraduate course I teach that is cross-listed in English and the Museums & Society program. In this class, we examine the speeches, private writings, and published poetry, fiction, and journalism by a selection of North American women who draw attention in their works to race-, gender-, and class-based inequities. Students especially consider the creation, publication, reception, and legacy of our texts, which date from the 1820s through the 1930s, using rare books, archival materials, and other primary sources. The class culminates in public projects designed to provide broad and accurate access for other potential readers of these texts. With the pandemic-related transition to remote learning, we moved, like so much else this year, from hands-on examinations of materials to digital resources and digital final projects.

We read several short works of fiction by Edith Wharton, looking at their first publication in books and magazines, as well as their current availability in e-books and digital archives. Nandan was intrigued by Wharton’s writing, her long residence in Paris, and her travels, and asked to undertake a translation of one of her French language works for his final project. Wanting to give students as much latitude as possible during a difficult semester, I allowed him to do so although it was not one of our established assignment options—my own French is certainly not at the level of Wharton’s—setting the condition, however, that he would have to find a short text by Wharton originally written in French for which a translation was not already readily available. I was thinking he might translate a few of her letters to Léon Bélugou, from the collection at the Beinecke Library; but, learning that many are already translated in Edith Wharton in France, he found instead, to my surprise, “Les Marocaines chez elles” in a digitized volume of La Revue des Deux Mondes in HathiTrust. We decided that he would translate the first half of it for our class blog, with my editorial supervision. As he explains in his headnote, parts of it are similar to sections of In Morocco but some of it does not seem to have been carried over. We were not able to make a detailed comparison to the English-language essay in the Yale Review (the print collection in our library was unavailable throughout the spring due to pandemic-related closures) but it seems to differ from that version, as well. We look forward to the full translation that is forthcoming in the Travel Writings volume of The Complete Works of Edith Wharton.

—Gabrielle Dean, PhD, William Kurrelmeyer Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts, Johns Hopkins University

(See https://literaryarchive.net/2020/04/28/les-marocaines-chez-elles-by-edith-wharton-section-i/ for the entire translation.)

Conference programs link

Our thanks to all who made Edith Wharton’s (Virtual) New York such a success! If you did not have a chance to view the roundtable presentations, they’re here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbsi6k25uQ8nLzOym3tC-qA?view_as=subscriber. The original program is linked from the conference page at https://edithwhartonsociety.wordpress.com/conferences/edith-whartons-virtual-new-york-2020/

If you would like to see the original program and other materials from previous conferences, click on Conferences in the menu at the top of the page or or look here: https://edithwhartonsociety.wordpress.com/conferences/.

Thanks to EWS Archivist Carole Shaffer-Koros for making the .pdf versions of the programs available.

July 16: Edith Wharton’s (Virtual) New York Panel Discussion

We wanted to let you know that the webpage with details about Edith Wharton’s (Virtual) New York is up and running. At the page, you will find details about the events we are running, including a link to our YouTube channel that contains short videos by roundtable presenters. Those videos should be watched prior to the roundtable event on Thursday, July 16th, 1pm EDT.Link to videos for July 16 panel discussion: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbsi6k25uQ8nLzOym3tC-qA?view_as=subscriber

If you’re an Edith Wharton Society member or registered for the conference, you should have received the Zoom link and invitation; if not, please reach out to whartonnewyork@gmail.com (conference address) or Margaret Toth (Meg), Manhattan College margaret.toth@manhattan.edu or
Margaret Jay Jessee (Jay), University of Alabama at Birmingham mjjessee@uab.edu

This info is from the Conference Update page at https://edithwhartonsociety.wordpress.com/2019/04/21/conference-update-edith-whartons-new-york-in-2020/.

**

This week, July 15 & 16: Edith Wharton’s (Virtual) New York

Update: The Zoom links have been sent to you. Please contact the conference organizers if you didn’t receive them.
Update 7/16/20:

If you’re an Edith Wharton Society member or registered for the conference, you should have received the links; if not, please reach out to whartonnewyork@gmail.com (conference address) or Margaret Toth (Meg), Manhattan College margaret.toth@manhattan.edu or
Margaret Jay Jessee (Jay), University of Alabama at Birmingham mjjessee@uab.edu

This info is from the Conference Update page at https://edithwhartonsociety.wordpress.com/2019/04/21/conference-update-edith-whartons-new-york-in-2020/.

**
We wanted to let you know that the webpage with details about Edith Wharton’s (Virtual) New York is up and running. At the page, you will find details about the events we are running, including a link to our YouTube channel that contains short videos by roundtable presenters. Those videos should be watched prior to the roundtable event on Thursday, July 16th, 1pm EDT. No preparation is required for the keynote lecture on Wednesday, July 15th, 1pm EDT.

Call for Nominations: EWS Officers (deadline July 31, 2020)

Dear Edith Wharton Society members,

As we look forward to 2021, the leadership of the Society will transition to a group of incoming officers. At this time, we are accepting nominations for the position of Secretary and two Members-at-Large, for the 2021-23 term. Please see below descriptions of these positions according to our Constitution:

Secretary

“5.4.  The Secretary shall take and distribute minutes of all meetings of the Society and of the Executive Board and shall forward minutes to the Web Master for posting on the society’s web page. The Secretary shall coordinate the nominations of new members of the board.”

5.7 “To achieve continuity, officers shall ordinarily succeed one another in this order: the Vice-President shall become President, and the Secretary become Vice-President, and the President become the Immediate Past President.”

Member-at-Large

Members-at-Large may be asked to adjudicate the EWS prizes, and they have the option of organizing, or deputizing someone to organize, the guaranteed EWS panel at NEMLA, SAMLA, and other regional MLA conferences (5.9).

For further information about these positions, please review our Constitution at

https://edithwhartonsociety.wordpress.com/membership/constitution-and-by-laws/.

If you have any questions about either position, please feel free to contact any current Society officer, including President Melanie Dawson (mvdaws@wm.edu), Vice President Jennifer Haytock (jhaytock@brockport.edu), or Secretary Myrto Drizou (myrto.drizou@boun.edu.tr) for further information.

Candidates must be members in good standing of the Edith Wharton Society. Membership dues can be paid here:

https://edithwhartonsociety.wordpress.com/membership/

Please email Myrto Drizou with nominations by Friday, July 31, 2020. Please include which position you are nominating yourself for and a one-paragraph biography. A voting period will follow the close of the nomination period.

To vote, you must be a member in good standing. I encourage you to check on your membership status (https://edithwhartonsociety.wordpress.com/membership/directory/) and update it if necessary. Please don’t hesitate to contact our membership coordinator Sheila Liming (sheila.liming@und.edu) with questions about your membership.

Sincerely,

Myrto

Myrto Drizou

Assistant Professor of English
Department of Western Languages and Literatures
Bogaziçi University
34342, Bebek
Istanbul, Turkey

Secretary, Edith Wharton Society
Associate Editor, Edith Wharton Review

myrto.drizou@boun.edu.tr

 

Edith Wharton’s New York Virtual Tour on July 17

You can now register for the Bowery Boys Virtual Walking Tour! They have created a special event and private link for us, so that everyone who attends the virtual tour will be part of the conference. To register, follow this link: https://fareharbor.com/embeds/book/boweryboyswalks/items/129472/availability/466669070/book/
The event costs $20 and will take place at 1:00 EDT on Friday, July 17th. More details about the tour can be found on the Bowery Boys website: https://www.boweryboyswalks.com/walking-tours/edith-whartons-new-york-tour/
Those who sign up will receive a Zoom link for the event the day before (July 16th) from the organizers of the tour.
In related news, we will be sending Zoom links for the keynote talk and roundtable panel toward the beginning of July.
If you have any questions, please let us know.
Best,

Margaret Toth (Meg) and Margaret Jay Jessee (Jay), Edith Wharton’s New York Conference Co-Directors

UPDATE on the 2020 Edith Wharton Society Awards

Because of our current pandemic’s effect on travel, we have decided to suspend the Edith Wharton Society Archival Research Award for the present time.  If you are interested in applying for this award, please hold your application materials until next summer.  The Elsa Nettels Award for a Beginning Scholar and Undergraduate Research Prize will be open, however, and the new deadline will be July 15.  We hope you will consider applying or that you will encourage your students and colleagues to do so.

Announcements: Edith Wharton’s (Virtual) New York for Conference Participants

Dear Conference Participants,

We are pleased to invite you to participate in Edith Wharton’s (Virtual) New York, a slate of events we are creating to recognize the canceled 2020 NYC conference and to commemorate the centennial of the publication of The Age of Innocence. These events are designed to honor not only Wharton’s relationship to the city but also the past, present, and future of Wharton scholarship.

We are still working out some details, but Edith Wharton’s (Virtual) New York will include two live sessions, and we ask that you please save the dates for those:

July 15, 2020 1:00 EDT: Keynote Lecture by Francis Morrone (Architecture Historian, NYU), “Newland Archer’s New York,” with an introduction by Meg Toth

July 16, 2020 1:00 EDT: Discussion with Wharton Scholarship Roundtable panelists on the past, present, and future of Wharton scholarship, hosted by Paul Ohler and Jay Jessee

We hope you will be able to join!

Thank you,
Margaret Toth (Meg) and Margaret Jay Jessee (Jay), Edith Wharton’s New York Conference Co-Directors

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The original schedule for the in-person Edith Wharton’s New York 2020 is available under Conferences – Edith Wharton’s New York 2020 – Edith Wharton’s New York 2020 Conference Schedule in the menu bar and also here: https://edithwhartonsociety.wordpress.com/conferences/edith-whartons-new-york-2020/edith-whartons-new-york-2020-conference-schedule/

New Books Week at the EWS site

cropped-whartoncomputer.jpgA new book on Edith Wharton will be featured each day for the next week at the Edith Wharton Society site: https://edithwhartonsociety.wordpress.com/category/new-books/

If you’d like to see your book at the site, email me the information and link at whartonqueries@gmail.com.

The New Articles page has recently been updated, too: https://edithwhartonsociety.wordpress.com/new-books-and-articles/2012-2014-new-articles/