Next week: Wharton, author of The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth, first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize https://bbc.in/2DvJ2GX
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]
On 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 https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/america-at-war-wharton/ (Image courtesy of this site.)
Read the rest of this interview at the Complete Works of Edith Wharton site, https://whartoncompleteworks.org
- 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.
- 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 témoins—The 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 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: http://whartoncompleteworks.org.
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.
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).
This is definitely not Edith Wharton’s only play, but here’s the information for the Shadow of a Doubt staged reading in Washington on November 13.
“The Shadow of a Doubt.” Edith Wharton’s only play gets a free staged reading as part of the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s “Re:Discovery” series. Nov. 13 at the Lansburgh Theatre, 450 7th St. NW. Free. Call 202-547-1122 or visit shakespearetheatre.org.
Unpublished Edith Wharton Play Discovered by Scholars
LENOX, Mass. — Two scholars have made a new archival discovery: a previously unknown, original, full-length play by Edith Wharton called “The Shadow of a Doubt.”
The location of the discovery at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin was unexpected. Wharton scholars have been traveling to the Ransom Center for more than three decades to research Wharton’s papers. The source of their interest, however, was the author’s correspondence to her lover, Morton Fullerton. What scholars missed was hidden, in plain sight, in the center’s Playscripts and Promptbooks Collection (Performing Arts): two typescript copies of “The Shadow of a Doubt” by Edith Wharton.
The Edith Wharton Review, published by Penn State University Press, have published this finding, by Laura Rattray, a reader in American literature at the University of Glasgow, and Mary Chinery, a professor of English at Georgian Court University in New Jersey, in a journal article titled “The Shadow of a Doubt: A Play in Three Acts by Edith Wharton.” The article includes the play in its entirety.
The play, set in England, includes Wharton’s signature social realism and use of dramatic irony and wit to satirize social privilege and affluence. The play does take a decidedly dark and controversial turn into a world of extortion, mistrust, deception, and the revelation of an act claimed alternately as euthanasia and as murder.
Rattray and Chinery have been able to establish that “The Shadow of a Doubt” was not only completed, but in production by early 1901 with theatrical impresario Charles Frohman, and with Elsie de Wolfe in the leading role. For reasons not yet known, the production was abandoned.