Happy 155th Birthday to Edith Wharton!

whartondogsOn January 24, 1862, Edith Newbold Jones, later Wharton, was born in New York City. Happy birthday, Edith Wharton! Your novels, plays, stories, essays, and poems have made a lasting contribution to literature. And would that we could all balance tiny dogs on our shoulders with as much aplomb as you do.

CFP: The Edith Wharton Review – Special Issue on Wharton and Religion

The Edith Wharton Review

Call for Papers 

Special Issue: Wharton and Religion

We invite papers exploring any aspect of religion, spirituality, and the sacred in Wharton’s work, including the afterlives of religion in gothic, aestheticism, or satire. How does Wharton conceptualize belief, spirituality, or religious tradition in modernity? What place does the sacred have in her writing, and where are the sacred spaces in her work? Are there distinctive features to Wharton’s discussions of religious architecture or sacred art? What interactions take place between Wharton’s fiction and the Bible, or religious texts and genres? How does Wharton’s anthropological eye address religious movements, practices, or characters? Do recent studies in religious history illuminate new aspects of Wharton’s fiction? Can Wharton’s writing contribute any insights to current post-secular discourse? What does it mean to read Wharton in an age of religious terror? We welcome studies of Wharton in relation to Islam, Judaism, and alternative spiritualities addressed within her work, in addition to the Christianity most familiar to her. We encourage attention to lesser known texts, such as “The Seed of the Faith,” as well as canonical novels like The House of Mirth. Essays should be 4,000-6,000 words in length and submitted online to The Edith Wharton Review with a note that it is for the “Wharton and Religion” Special Issue. Deadline: August 1, 2017.  

New Articles 2016

Drizou, Myrto. “‘Go Steady, Undine!’ The Horror of Ambition in Edith Wharton’s The Custom of the Country.” Gothic Landscapes: Changing Eras, Changing Cultures, Changing Anxieties. Eds. Sharon Yang and Kathy Healey. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. 125-45.

Malmgren, Carl D. “Art and Life in Edith Wharton’s ‘The Muse’s Tragedy.'” Mosaic: An Interdisciplinary Critical Journal, vol. 49, no. 4, 2016, pp. 129-144, https://muse.jhu.edu/article/640855.

Tisdale, Bethany Dailey. Creating the Self: Women Artists in Twentieth-Century Fiction. 2016.

Bex, Sean. “Marketing Professionalism: The Transatlantic Authorship of Edith Wharton.” Neophilologus, vol. 100, no. 3, 2016, pp. 503-519.

Goldsmith, Meredith. “Of Publicity, Prizes, and Prestige: The Middle-Zone of the Marketplace in Hudson River Bracketed.” American Literary Realism, vol. 48, no. 3, 2016, pp. 232-250, http://muse.jhu.edu/article/614593.

Louvel, Liliane. “Declinaisons Et Figures Ekphrastiques: Quelques Modestes Propositions [Special Issue].” Arborescences: Revue d’Etudes Francaises, vol. 4, 2016, pp. 15-32, http://www.erudit.org/revue/arbo.

Grant, David. “Trusting America: Undine Spragg’s Revolutionary Break in the Custom of the Country.” Canadian Review of American Studies/Revue Canadienne d’Etudes Americaines, vol. 46, no. 1, 2016, pp. 86-115, http://muse.jhu.edu/article/614919.

Clarke, Michael Tavel. “Between Wall Street and Fifth Avenue: Class and Status in Edith Wharton’s the House of Mirth.” College Literature, vol. 43, no. 2, 2016, pp. 342-374, http://muse.jhu.edu/article/614319.

Wagner, Johanna M. “The Conventional and the Queer: Lily Bart, an Unlivable Ideal.” SubStance: A Review of Theory and Literary Criticism, vol. 45, no. 1 [139], 2016, pp. 116-139, http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/substance/v045/45.1.wagner.html.

Pierpont, Claudia Ruth. American Rhapsody: Writers, Musicians, Movie Stars, and One Great Building. Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2016.

Wharton in the News: Edith Wharton, Ruth Draper, and Henry James

john-singer-sargent-portrait-of-ruth-draperFrom The New Yorker, on the well-known performer and monologuist Ruth Draper. 

Over lunch, a little later, Mulcahy took out her phone and played one of her favorite discoveries so far: a brief interview with Draper on a BBC program about Henry James, whom she had known. (James’s father was a friend of Draper’s grandfather, and James once wrote a stilted, highly Jamesian monologue for her, which she never performed.) Draper recounts a walk she took with James at a house party, also attended by Edith Wharton, shortly before he died. She describes his “rather ponderous manner of speaking” and various odd motions he made with his right hand as he spoke—exactly the sort of close observations, Mulcahy said, that underlay all her performances. Draper, in the interview, then says that she had once asked James whether he thought she ought to pursue a career as a conventional actress, perhaps by attending drama school. “He took a long while to answer,” she recalls. Then she lowers her voice: “ ‘No—my dear child. You—you have woven—you have woven your own—you have woven your own beautiful—beautiful little—Persian carpet. Stand on it.’ ” 

Does this remind you of James’s advice to Wharton to “Do New York”?

In Memoriam: Elsa Nettels

Update 1/7/17: Information on Elsa Nettels and a memorial service at



Dear all,

The EWS has received word from Irene Goldman-Price that Elsa Nettels passed away peacefully this morning. EWS members and her many students at William and Mary knew Elsa as a wonderful scholar, friend, and mentor, generous to younger scholars and unfailing in her guidance. Further information and a picture will be added here as available.

Please feel free to leave your memories of Elsa in the comments or in the online Guestbook at http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/name/elsa-nettels-obituary?pid=1000000183260973.

Donna Campbell

Edith Wharton Review: Table of Contents


Edith Wharton Review
vol. 32 nos. 1–2 2016

v Editor’s Note
Meredith Goldsmith

Wharton and Sex


1 The Woman Who Hated Sex: Undine Spragg and the Trouble with “Bother”
Arielle Zibrak

20 Wharton, Sex, and the Terrible Honesty of the 1920s
Melanie Dawson

40 Sexual Violence and Ghostly Justice in “The Lady’s Maid’s Bell” and “Kerfol”
Paul Ohler

From the Archives

57 Launching e Complete Works of Edith Wharton
Carol J. Singley

61 “Comedy of Errors”: the Correspondence between Edith Wharton and John Murray in the National Library of Scotland
Anna Girling


80 In Memoriam: Millicent Bell (1919–2015)
Irene Goldman-Price

84 In Memoriam: Shari Benstock (1944–2015)
Suzanne Ferriss

Book Reviews

88 Edith Wharton at Home: Life at the Mount, by Richard Guy Wilson
Reviewed by Mary Carney

93 American Writers in Europe: 1850 to the Present, edited with an introduction by Ferdâ Asya
Reviewed by Myrto Drizou

97 Transatlantic Women: Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers and Great Britain, edited by Beth L. Lueck, Brigitte Bailey, and Lucinda L. Damon-Bach
Reviewed by Joshua Kotzin

101 Between the Novel and the News: the Emergence of American Women’s Writing by Sari Edelstein
Reviewed by Martha J. Cutter

Conference Abstracts

106 Edith Wharton in Washington, 2–4 June 2016