Edith Wharton’s (Virtual) New York 2020

Edith Wharton’s (Virtual) New York 2020

Welcome! We are pleased to invite you to participate in Edith Wharton’s (Virtual) New York, a slate of events created 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. Edith Wharton’s (Virtual) New York includes two live sessions and videos to watch on your own time–please see details below–as well as a scholarship showcase that participants can enjoy at their leisure. There is also a separate (paid) event: a virtual walking tour, “Edith Wharton’s New York,” hosted by the Bowery Boys.

Edith Wharton’s New York Conference Schedule:


Two free live sessions via Zoom:

Invitations to the Zoom sessions will be emailed to all current EWS members and all registrants for the Edith Wharton’s New York Conference.

Keynote Lecture

July 15, 2020 1:00 EDT: Keynote Lecture by Francis Morrone (Architectural Historian, NYU), with an introduction by Meg Toth

Francis Morrone, “Newland Archer’s New York: The World of the Lawyer-Aesthete in the 1870s”

In his talk, Morrone will reconstruct the public and private lives of the male protagonist of The Age of Innocence by discussing the legal profession as it existed at that time in New York, the class structure of New York, and Newland’s self-education as an aesthete based on the clues provided by Wharton and by the lecturer’s own understanding of the intellectual formation of his American generation, which includes many of the architects, artists, and writers (including Edith Wharton) who would rise to prominence by the end of the 19th century. The lecture will be extensively illustrated to provide a panorama of 1870s New York and to show the scenes of Newland Archer’s life as described in the novel.

Bio: Francis Morrone is an architectural historian and a writer, and the author of twelve books, including Guide to New York City Urban Landscapes (W.W. Norton, 2013) and, with Henry Hope Reed, The New York Public Library: The Architecture and Decoration of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (W.W. Norton, 2011), as well as architectural guidebooks to Philadelphia and to Brooklyn. He was for six and a half years an art and architecture critic for The New York Sun. He is the recipient of the Arthur Ross Award of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art, of the Landmarks Lion Award of the Historic Districts Council, and of NYU’s Excellence in Teaching Award, and Travel and Leisure Magazine named him one of the thirteen best tour guides in the world. His research interests are nineteenth-century architecture, the history and theory of classical architecture, public sculpture, and Edith Wharton.

Wharton Scholarship Roundtable: Forward and Backward Glances

July 16, 2020 1:00 EDT: Discussion with Wharton Scholarship Roundtable panelists, 

hosted by Paul Ohler and Jay Jessee. 

*Please watch the  Roundtable videos linked below as preparation for this 

Discussion. See details below.

Details for the Wharton Scholarship Roundtable: Forward and Backward Glances

*Please Note: All videos are available at the Edith Wharton’s Virtual New York youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbsi6k25uQ8nLzOym3tC-qA?view_as=subscriber. We hope you can watch these prior to the live discussion on July 16, 2020.

Introduction to the Roundtable: Dale Bauer

Roundtable Presenter #1: Parley A. Boswell

Parley Ann Boswell is Professor Emerita at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois, where she taught American literature and Film Studies for thirty years. She is the author of Reel Rituals (1999); Edith Wharton on Film (2007); Pregnancy in Literature and Film (2014); and many essays and reviews, most recently “Wharton to Hemingway to Highsmith: American Noir Comes of Age,” in Wharton, Hemingway, and the Advent of Modernism (2018). She currently teaches in the OLLI program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Roundtable Presenter #2: Melanie Dawson

Melanie Dawson is professor of English at William & Mary and the author of various publications about Edith Wharton’s work and the T-20 period, including Edith Wharton and the Modern Privileges of Age (2020), Emotional Reinventions: Realist-Era Representations Beyond Sympathy (2015), American Literary History and the Turn toward Modernity (ed. With Meredith Goldsmith); her work has appeared in such publications as Edith Wharton in Context, The New Edith Wharton Studies, The Oxford Handbook to American Literary Realism, and Legacy.  She serves as current president of the Edith Wharton Society.

Roundtable Presenter #3: Jennifer Haytock

Jennifer Haytock is professor of English at SUNY Brockport and the Edith Wharton Society Vice President. Among other works, she has published Edith Wharton and the Conversations of Literary Modernism and co-edited (with Laura Rattray) The New Edith Wharton Studies. She is the volume editor for The Complete Works of Edith Wharton, Volume 24, The Children. She is also one of SUNY’s 2019 winners of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship.

Roundtable Presenter #4: Jennie Kassanoff 

Jennie Kassanoff is the Adolph S. and Effie Ochs Professor of American Studies and History at Barnard College, Columbia University, where she is a Professor of English. She is the author of Edith Wharton and the Politics of Race (Cambridge UP, 2004) and is completing a new book entitled Voter Writes: Race, Gender and the Ballot. Her essays have appeared in PMLA, American Literature, the Henry James Review, and American Literary History, among other books and journals. She serves on the Editorial Boards of J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists and A-Line: A Journal of Progressive Thought.         

Roundtable Presenter #5: Julie Olin-Ammentorp

Julie Olin-Ammentorp is a professor of English at Le Moyne College. She is the author of EdithWharton, Willa Cather, and the Place of Culture (University of Nebraska Press, 2019) and of Edith Wharton’s Writings from the Great War (2004). In addition, she has published over twenty-five articles, including essays in The New Edith Wharton Studies (2020) and Willa Cather and Modern Culture (2011). She is a member of the Board of Governors of the Willa Cather Foundation and a past president of the Edith Wharton Society.

Roundtable Presenter #6: Emily Orlando

Emily Orlando is Professor of English and the E. Gerald Corrigan Chair in the Humanities and Social Sciences at Fairfield University in Connecticut (USA).  She has published on 19th- and 20th-century literature and visual culture and especially Edith Wharton, Oscar Wilde, Nella Larsen, and Elizabeth Siddall. Orlando is the author of Edith Wharton and the Visual Arts (2007). With Meredith Goldsmith, she edited Edith Wharton and Cosmopolitanism (2016). Orlando is a Past President of the Edith Wharton Society. She is currently editing The Bloomsbury Handbook to Edith Wharton.

Roundtable Presenter #7: Laura Rattray

Laura Rattray is Reader in American Literature at the University of Glasgow. Her work on Wharton includes, as editor,  The Unpublished Writings of Edith Wharton (2009), Edith Wharton in Context (2012), the Oxford World Classics edition of Summer (2015) and, with Jennifer Haytock, The New Edith Wharton Studies (2019). She is the author of Edith Wharton and Genre: Beyond Fiction (2020).

Roundtable Presenter #8: Carol Singley

Carol Singley, professor of English at Rutgers University-Camden, teaches American literature and childhood studies. She is the author of Edith Wharton: Matters of Mind and Spirit (Cambridge UP, 1995); co-author of House of Mourning, House of Mirth (Fahrenheit, 2013), and author of Adopting America: Childhood, Kinship, and National Identity in Literature (Oxford UP, 2011). She has edited four books on Wharton: The House of Mirth Casebook (2003) and A Historical Guide (both Oxford UP); The Age of Innocence (Houghton Mifflin, 2000); and Ethan Frome (Broadview, 2013). She is editor or co-editor of Anxious Power: Reading, Writing, and Ambivalence in Narrative by Women (SUNY, 1993), The Calvinist Roots of the Modern Era (New England, 1997), and The American Child: A Cultural Studies Reader (Rutgers UP, 2003). She is General Editor of the 30-volume The Complete Works of Edith Wharton (Oxford UP) and past president of The Edith Wharton Society.

Edith Wharton’s New York: A Virtual Walking Tour

July 17, 2020 1:00 EDT ($20)

Join Bowery Boys’ guide Carl Raymond for a tour of Gilded Age New York, with a special focus on Wharton’s experiences in the city. For more details about the virtual tour, please visit the Bowery Boys’ website: https://www.boweryboyswalks.com/walking-tours/edith-whartons-new-york-tour/. To register, please use the private link sent over email. If you have any questions, contact Meg Toth at margaret.toth@manhattan.edu.

Scholarship Showcase

Please enjoy the ever-evolving showcase of recent and past scholarship at the Edith Wharton Society website:

New Books: https://edithwhartonsociety.wordpress.com/category/new-books/

New Articles: https://edithwhartonsociety.wordpress.com/new-books-and-articles/2012-2014-new-articles/

 Here you can peruse the original program to get a sense of current and future Wharton scholarship:

Edith Wharton’s New York Conference Schedule:


From the President and Vice President

In these unprecedented times, we are pleased to mark our Edith Wharton Society conference year with these virtual events, thanks to our intrepid conference directors Jay Jessee and Meg Toth. At some future point, we hope to meet in New York and enjoy the fullness of our society-wide conversation; until then, we appreciate your joining us in a celebration of the ongoing intellectual vitality of our society. Although our conference was disrupted, we know our collective joy and engagement with Wharton and her writing continues, and we look forward to sharing our scholarship in other forms, including the Edith Wharton Review.

Melanie Dawson, President, and Jennifer Haytock, Vice President
Many thanks to Donna Campbell, EWS Webmaster, for her guidance and technical support that made the virtual conference possible.