Category Archives: New Books

New Books: The Old Maid

 Cita Press has published a new edition of Edith Wharton’s The Old Maid. In this 1924 novella, cousins Delia and Charlotte conspire to raise Charlotte’s secret daughter right under the nose of “old New York” society. Wharton expertly examines her characters and the social contradictions they exploit to protect their family in a story that is as biting as it is tender and, at times, perplexingly triumphant.

We are thrilled to bring this book to new audiences with a free, open access edition available online to all readers with an internet connection. The book is available in English and Spanish:

On Tuesday, May 17 at 6 pm ET, journalist and author Krithika Varagur, who wrote the foreword for this edition, will discuss the book and Wharton’s evolving legacy with Cita Press editorial coordinator Jessi Haley. Details and registration for this virtual event here:

Cita Press is a bilingual press that celebrates the spread of culture and knowledge by publishing writing by women that is open-licensed or in the public domain. Through its library of carefully designed free books, Cita honors the principles of decentralization, collective artistic production, and equitable access to knowledge. All of our work is non-commercial and intended for educational purposes. Subscribe to our newsletter via


New Books: American Snobs: Transatlantic Novelists, Liberal Culture and the Genteel Tradition by Emily Coit

American Snobs: Transatlantic Novelists, Liberal Culture and the Genteel Tradition by Emily Coit

Arguing that Henry Adams, Henry James, and Edith Wharton articulated their political thought in response to the liberalism that reigned in Boston and, more specifically, at Harvard University, American Snobs shows how each of these authors interrogated that liberalism’s arguments for education, democracy and the political duties of the cultivated elite. Coit shows that the works of these authors contributed to a realist critique of a liberal New England idealism that fed into the narrative about ‘the genteel tradition’, which shaped the study of US literature during the twentieth century. Reading texts such as The Valley of Decision and French Ways and Their Meaning, chapters on Wharton bring fresh attention to her exchanges with Harvard professors Charles Eliot Norton and Barrett Wendell. By locating Wharton in the history of literary studies in the US, American Snobs offers new perspectives on her thinking about education, race, and democracy.

This book breathes new life into the study of a set of ideas and authors, all of which are rich in their own right and illuminating for what they tell us about the period. Coit’s easy, writerly hand, her skilled close readings and her fluid movement between political context, literary history and detailed analysis are impressive.

– Lloyd Pratt, University of Oxford

New Books: Teaching Edith Wharton’s Major Novels and Short Fiction, edited by Ferda Asya

Teaching Edith Wharton’s Major Novels and Short Fiction | Ferda Asya | Palgrave Macmillanhttp://www.palgrave.comThis book meets the need of instructors for a resource that translates recent scholarship into pedagogy and implements innovative, adept, and practical approaches to teaching Edith Wharton’s versatile works and offers essays that will guide current and new instructors of Wharton’s fiction.

This book translates recent scholarship into pedagogy for teaching Edith Wharton’s widely celebrated and less-known fiction to students in the twenty-first century. It comprises such themes as American and European cultures, material culture, identity, sexuality, class, gender, law, history, journalism, anarchism, war, addiction, disability, ecology, technology, and social media in historical, cultural, transcultural, international, and regional contexts. It includes Wharton’s works compared to those of other authors, taught online, read in foreign universities, and studied in film adaptations.


“Ferdâ Asya’s collection of essaysis the first book to address the crucial issue of teaching one of the most important masters of American fiction. The essays in this intriguing volume reveal a remarkable variety of useful pedagogical approaches to Wharton’s fiction. In their representation of a wide range of critical approaches and insistence on exploring the full range of her literary achievement, these essays provide new testimony to the enduring power of the writer and her work.”

– Alfred Bendixen, Princeton University, USA, and Executive Director of American Literature Association

“This is a rousing collection of essays on how to make Edith Wharton relevant to twenty-first century-students. With a deep understanding of the student mindset, this volume employs fresh insight and remarkable creativity to help a new generation grasp the more germane points of this surprisingly modern and still unmatched American author.”

 – Jennie Fields, author of The Age of Desire (2012)and Atomic Love (2020)

 “This volume offers essays that will guide new and experienced instructors of Wharton’s fiction. The contributors take a variety of Wharton’s texts as their subjects and approach the teaching of her work from a range of perspectives, from different theoretical contexts to varying roles in the curricula. This volume will spark new and creative approaches to teaching Wharton’s well-known and highly complex body of fiction.”

– Jennifer Haytock, Professor, SUNY Brockport, USA, and author of Edith Wharton and the Conversations of Literary Modernism (2008)

Table of contents (19 chapters) is available at the Palgrave site:

New Books: Rosedale in Love by Lev Raphael

Rosedale in Love has been reissued with a new Foreword and Afterword by the author, and is available at Amazon and B&N for Kindle and Nook.  Watch the book trailer.

In the glittering world of money-mad 1905 New York City, Jewish financier Simon Rosedale plans to force his way into high society through marriage and has his eye on Lily Bart. One of the most beautiful women in the city, Lily is a down-at-heels aristocrat plagued by gossip and might be vulnerable to his proposal. With his money and her style and connections, he can rise to the top—but will she lower herself to marry a Jew? Could such a marriage heal Rosedale’s secret shame, and will Florence Goodhart, the cousin who adores Rosedale, help or hinder his plans? Written in a period voice, Rosedale in Love audaciously revisions Edith Wharton’s beloved classic The House of Mirth, offering readers a timeless American story of greed, envy, scandal, love and revenge.

Lev Raphael is a prize-winning author, reviewer, and blogger who has published 26 books in a wide range of genres and seen his work translated into over a dozen languages. A former student of Wharton biographer Cynthia Griffin Wolff, Raphael has been reading and teaching Wharton for decades. He’s written a highly regarded biography/critical study of Wharton as well as an acclaimed comic mystery, The Edith Wharton Murders, that delves into the politics around her reputation. Special Archives at Michigan State University’s Library has purchased his literary papers in recognition of his contributions to American Literature.

“Richly textured and darkly witty, Rosedale in Love explores the inner life of outsiders, to whom the hidden give-and-take of high society is a language to be struggled with, for whom external wealth and inner impoverishment go hand in hand. Lev Raphael catches the subtlety of Wharton’s original, and enriches her exploration of a story in which love pulls against ambition, and shame is a daily taste in the mouth.”—Laurie R. King, author of Pirate King

New Books: The Blossom Which We Are: The Novel and the Transience of Cultural Worlds by Nir Evron


 Nir Evron writes: “I was hoping to bring my book, The Blossom Which We Are: The Novel and the Transience of Cultural Worlds (just out with State University of New York Press), to the attention of the Wharton Society. In this comparative and multilingual study, I trace the vicissitudes of the trope of cultural extinction from its first appearance in the mid eighteenth century till the late twentieth century, with special emphasis on this theme’s significance for our understanding of the development of literary realism and regionalism. Edith Wharton, whose career makes up my first twentieth-century case study, plays a central role in the book’s argument. My hope is that book will demonstrate what can be gained by placing Wharton in a context that stretches beyond American literature, and which reaches back to literary developments that took place long before she embarked on her writing career.”

New Books: L’Amérique au tournant: La place des États-Unis dans la littérature française (1890-1920)

L’Amérique au tournantLa place des États-Unis dans la littérature française (1890-1920)

Includes this article by Virginia Ricard:

Edith Wharton au tournant

  • Abstract: En 1907, la traduction en français du premier grand roman d’Edith Wharton, Chez les heureux du monde, donne l’impression qu’elle est acquise à l’antiaméricanisme, puisque, en présentant des personnages riches, brutaux et insensibles, elle contribue à diffuser une image négative des États-Unis en France. Après août 1914, elle parle même d’un « retard » des Américains. Mais l’entrée en guerre des États-Unis conduit Wharton à regarder d’un autre œil la contribution de l’Amérique à l’histoire humaine.
  • Pages: 145 to 156
  • Collection: Encounters, n° 456


Screen Shot 2020-07-16 at 7.53.36 PMReQueered Tales releases 2nd Lev Raphael novel

Nick Hoffman / Academic Mystery Series continues THE EDITH WHARTON MURDERS by Lev Raphael

LOS ANGELES—June 9, 2020—ReQueered Tales is restoring award-winning gay and lesbian fiction to print with a focus on mystery, literary and sci-fi genres. Since May 2019, we’ve reintroduced twelve authors to old friends and a new generation of readers. Lev Raphael returns with book two in his Nick Hoffman series – “THE EDITH WHARTON MURDERS”.

“Is vulgar literary taste sufficient motive for murder? Actually, killing is too kind for the vindictive scholars in Lev Raphael’s maliciously funny campus mystery The Edith Wharton Murders.” — Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review

Nick Hoffman, desperate to get tenure, has been saddled with a thankless task: coordinating a conference on Edith Wharton that will demonstrate how his department and his university supports women’s issues. There’s been widespread criticism that SUM is really the State University of Men. Problem is, he’s forced to invite two warring Wharton societies, and the conflict between rival scholars escalates from mudslinging to murder. Nick’s job and whole career are on the line unless he can help solve the case and salvage the conference.

“A savagely funny satire of academic pretensions and posturings.
Definitely on my list of the year’s best!” – Dean James, Simon Kirby-Jones series

Originally published in 1998, this new edition contains a 2020 foreword by Gregory Ashe as well as a new introduction by the author.

THE EDITH WHARTON MURDERS, A Nick Hoffman / Academic Mystery by Lev Raphael 278 pgs • ISBN 978-1-951092-22-1 •
Trade Paperback: US $16.95 • CAN $21.95 • UK £13.95
E-book: US $5.95 • CAN $7.95 • UK £4.95 • EU €5.95 • AU $8.95

Continue reading

New Books: Edith Wharton’s Lenox by Cornelia Brooke Gilder

lenoxIn 1900, Edith Wharton burst into the settled summer colony of Lenox. An aspiring novelist in her thirties, she was already a ferocious aesthete and intellect. She and her husband, Teddy, planned a defiantly classical villa, and she became a bestselling author with The House of Mirth in 1905. As a hostess, designer, gardener and writer, Wharton set high standards that delighted many, including Ambassador Joseph Choate and sculptor Daniel Chester French. But her perceptive and sometimes indiscreet pen also alienated potent figures like Emily Vanderbilt Sloane and Georgiana Welles Sargent. Author Cornelia Brooke Gilder gives an insider’s glimpse of the community’s reaction to this disruptive star during her tumultuous Lenox decade.

New Books: The Night of All Souls, a novel by Philippa Swan

nightI’m contacting you about my recently published novel, The Night of All Souls, a mystery about words from the past. In this novel, Edith Wharton is variously reimagined: as a host in the afterlife, a historical figure in a modern novella, and as an elusive presence in the pages of her own writing. Published by Penguin NZ,  I’m hoping you will be interested to know more:

You may also be interested in a short reading:

And finally, I’ve recently published an article on why, in this age of a pandemic, we need Edith Wharton more than ever. (Please note that I wasn’t responsible for the photograph captions – I do realise the W.25th Street living room belonged to her mother, and that Edith wrote an entire book on home decoration that repudiated Lucretia’s taste in furnishings!)

New Books: The Inadvertent Researcher by Linda Selman

Website: and email address (1) (1)-1 copy

The Inadvertent Researcher is a beautifully illustrated, fascinating, and unusual detective book. It takes us on a compelling search through the worlds of 19th century society, literature, art, and journalism, as it discovers the hidden story behind a little-known Edith Wharton novella and brings to life the world and people of New York City and beyond in the Gilded Age. It gives its readers a delightful and highly recommended journey from a once famous but now forgotten Puck Magazine editor-in-chief H. C. Bunner to a pioneering suburban literary village to delicate watercolors and frescos. This marvelous tale of a vanished age brings together research and history in a lively and well-written book.

Stephen Marmon

Author, Editor Time-Life; Journalist The New York Times