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Source of Sarah Orne Jewett Quotation Wharton's addresses in Paris
1928 Age of Innocence Play French draft of Ethan Frome
Bellomont and Mills Mansion La Solitude = Saint Claire du Vieux Chateau?
Manon Lescaut and The House of Mirth Jérôme et Jean Tharaud and Wharton
Wharton in 1911 "Why I Write"--Wharton?
"The Descent of Man" The Cruise of the Vanadis
Mrs. Mingott and Mrs. Welland: Mother/daughter or aunt/niece? Mrs. Lloyd
Biographical Sources for The Children  

Source of Sarah Orne Jewett Quotation

I'm looking for the source of the following literary allusion: "It is the higher nature that yields, because it is the most generous."  A Google search will yield only the text in which the allusion occurs (Sarah Orne Jewett's novel A Country Doctor) and a previous posting of mine with the same query.  It's possible that she's quoting inexactly, from memory, or that it's an English translation of a line whose source is in another language.  Any help in tracing this line to a source will be most appreciated.

Frederick Wegener, fwegener at csulb.edu



Age of Innocence Play

I understand that "The Age of Innocence" was produced on Broadway in 1928.I
was wondering how I would get a copy of the script. Anyone know?

John Egan


This is an answer to the student who needed the theatrical adaptation of The Age of Innocence : the documents are at Yale University
Box 1 folder 17-20
V.Hugel, bounespams-anglais at yahoo.fr


Bellomont and Mills Mansion

QUESTION: Louis Auchincloss mentions in his biography of Wharton that he believes she based Bellomont in "The House of Mirth" on Mills Mansion. Is there any evidence that Wharton actually knew the Mills and that she spent time with them, either at Mills Mansion or in Newport?

Anne Miller 11/13/04


Manon Lescaut and The House of Mirth

Do you know where (if anywhere) Wharton makes a comparison between _The House of Mirth_ and _Manon Lescaut_? I could swear I remember reading this, but I'm not sure if it's the letters, _A Backward Glance_, or a secondary source.

Meredith Goldsmith 11/2/04




This doesn't address the question about Wharton's comparison of the two, but here is some information.

From Lewis's biography:

"At the request of the English actress Marie Tempest, she set to work on a dramatic version of Prosper Mérimée's romantic nineteenth-century novel _Manon Lescaut_. It was quite a sizeable task; but Edith completed the highly competent four-act work only to be told over supper in Marie Tempest's house in London that she had decided not to do any more costume plays" (110).

This took place in 1901-1902, as far as I can tell (Lewis isn't exact about the dates.)

There's also the Abbé Prevost's _Manon Lescaut_, which she mentions in _A Motor-Flight Through France_ (see http://www.edithwhartonsociety.org/disc/id19_m.htm ).

D. Campbell

Wharton in 1911

What did EW publish in 1911?

Bill Hobby


Ethan Frome.

"The Descent of Man"

I would like to find the genesis of her reference in the story to "Babism," a movement of the 19th century now known as the Baha'i Faith.

dlherrmann@yahoo.com 8/24/04

There may be some playfulness in Wharton's passing reference to Babism in "The Descent of Man" (1904) given that the Professor Linyard's satirical book is misconstrued as reconciling science and religion, and Babism seems to seek similar sorts of reconciliation between religions.

Pauline Manford in Wharton's novel Twilight Sleep (1927) strikes me as something of a Babist in her attempts to foster discussion between leaders of various religions. And, to my mind at least, a close reading of Wharton's 1920 travel book In Morocco , provides some indirect evidence of her awareness of and attitudes toward Bab, Babism, and the Baha'i faith, the last of which was established the year after Edith Wharton was born.

--Dan Hefko, Ball State University 9-7-04

Mrs. Mingott and Mrs. Welland: Mother/daughter or aunt/niece?

My question is on the relation between Mrs. Manson Mingott and Mrs. Welland, two characters in THE AGE OF INNOCENCE.  In Chapter I we read ...."Directly facing him was the box of old Mrs. Manson Mingott, whose monstrous obesity had long since made it impossible for her to attend the Opera, .... On this occasion, the front of the box was filled by her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Lovell Mingott, and her daughter, Mrs. Welland; ...."
By this passage I take it to mean that Mrs. Welland is Mrs. Manson Mingott's daughter.  And  in fact, in Chapter II we likewise read that "... Archer ... had once more turned his eyes  toward the Mingott box.  He saw that Mrs. Welland and her sister-in-law were facing their semi-circle of critics...."
So if Mrs. Lovell Mingott, who is Mrs. Manson Mingott's daughter-in-law, is Mrs. Welland's sister-in-law then Mrs. Welland could only be Mrs. Manson Mingott's daughter (or other daughter-in-law at the farthest).
My question is: Why is it that in Chapter IV Mrs. Welland addresses Mrs. Manson Mingott as Aunt Catherine -- and not Mother?  ("We must give them time to get to know each other a little better, Aunt Catherine," Mrs. Welland interposed, ....")

I am eagerly looking forward to an explanation regarding this matter.  Thank you.              Mary Lou


In "To Read These Pages is to Live Again" (in the Norton Critical Edition of The Age of Innocence), Julia Ehrhardt explains the inconsistencies as follows:

"In addition to sending [Rutger] Jewett a list of corrections, Wharton prepared a three-page errata sheet listing additional mistakes that she had detected. Among them were several 'errors in the family tree' of 'the Mingott clan' that Lillie Lamar would explore in her 1968 study of the first edition of The Age of Innocence [TSLL 8 (1996)]. As Lamar points out, tangled genealogical roots among several characters mar the novel; the first snarl concerns the inconsistent relationahship of Mrs. Welland and Mrs. Mingott. Near the beginning of the first edition, Mrs. Mingott is identified as Mrs. Welland's aunt, but much later (in Chapter 19), when the obese family matriarch proposes that the awning in front of Grace Church be removed so that her wheeled chair may clear the doorway, Mrs. Welland expresses shock at 'her mother-in-law's plan." On the errata sheet, Wharton changed 'niece' to 'daughter' to rectify the first mistake in the second printing, but did not change the second error, which an 'energetic' London reader pointed out on a handwritten errata sheet he sent to Jewett. '184. Mrs. Welland's 'mother in law' should read 'mother' (see p. 3)'" (410).


Given this explanation, "Aunt Catherine" may be an uncorrected error from the "niece" references, or it may be a kind of courtesy title used in the presence of family.

If anyone has another explanation, please send it to the site. Thanks.

--D. Campbell

Biographical Sources for The Children

QUESTION: Would anyone know if The Children is loosely based on the Lawrence Grant White family children?

Lydia M. Chapin lydiachapin@yahoo.com 8/23/04


Wharton's Books?

Where can I locate a list of books Wharton owned?  I am particularly interested in books about architecture and interior design with which she would have been familiar.  She mentions a few which came from her father's library in _A Backward Glance_,but what titles did she purchase and own?

Barbara Kernan 7/8/04


As far as I know, there is no complete list because her library was divided at her death and many of the books were destroyed during World War II, but a good start is Edith Wharton's Library, a Catalogue compiled by George Ramsden (Stone Trough Books, 1999). The forthcoming biography by Hermione Lee will doubtless also have a great deal of additional information. See this link for more information about the Ramsden book and other sources.

--D. Campbell, 11/2/04

Jérôme et Jean Tharaud and Wharton

QUESTION: cher collègue,
je suis enseignant en histoire à l'Université de Lille III et à Sciences po Paris. J'ai fait ma thèse sur Jérôme et Jean Tharaud qui se trouvent au Maroc en même temps qu'E. Wharton.
Je travaille actuellement sur Lyautey et l'image du Maroc que donnent les écrivains.
J'aimerais entrer en relation avec Charlotte Rich qui a écrit la page sur In Morocco, ou avec tout collègue qui pourrait m'en dire plus.
Merci de bien vouloir entrer en contact avec moi en anglais ou en français.
Bien coridalement
Michel Leymarie michelleymarie@club-internet.fr 6-7-04

Mrs. Lloyd

QUESTION: Hi, I am from Mexico and I am doing some work on Sir Joshua Reynolds and I was wondering if any of you know why Edith Wharton chose his painting of "Mrs. Lloyd" for Lily Bart on the tableau vivant?

I would appreciate any information on this.

thank you,

Eduardo Hernandez eduardo@alegora.com 6-7-04
"Why I Write"--Wharton?

QUESTION: I am looking feverishly for an essay titled, "On Why I Write." I'm quite sure that this is
Edith Wharton; however, I'm having a heck of a time confirming it. I think I read it in an anthology.
Does anyone have information on this particular piece? Id appreciate it! J Holland jana@aeroballsports.com

Joan Didion's essay "Why I Write" is frequently anthologized, but I have not seen a comparable essay by Wharton in anthologies. If someone knows of this essay, please e-mail the information so that it can be added to this page. --D. Campbell

The essay is most likely George Orwell’s 1946 essay ‘Why I write’.

Terrie Jones


The Cruise of the Vanadis

QUESTION: Can anyone tell me if the steam yacht "Vanadis" mentioned in Edith Wharton's 1888 diary (The Cruise of the Vanadis) was later owned by E.K.G.Billings of NYC and if this is the same ship now anchored in Stockholm and used as a floating hotel? Thank you in advance for any information you can furnish.

R.Lewis          lewis100@optonline.net 4-1-04

La Solitude = Saint Claire du Vieux Chateau?

QUESTION: I was wondering if you could confirm if the chateau in Hyeres, France, which is now part of Parc Saint Claire, was ever named by her or a previous owner as the villa: La Solitude.  I saw this name given was given as the name she called this manor house. I understood its only name was Saint Claire du Vieux Chateau.
The accuracy of the name of this Villa, as it was known or called by Edith Wharton is very important to my research.
Thank you.


This is an answer about "La Solitude"

There is a French website about Mrs Wharton's houses in France:


It says that "Elle s’intéresse aux restes d’un ancien couvent, dont elle va faire sa demeure hivernale : la villa Sainte-Claire-du-Vieux-Château, près du chalet La Solitude occupé par les Stevenson en 1884." which means that " La Solitude" was a chalet not far from the villa Sainte-Claire-du-Vieux-Château.


bounespams-anglais at yahoo.fr


French draft of Ethan Frome

QUESTION: Where can I find the early French draft for Ethan Frome? Edith Wharton wrote Ethan Frome in French to practise her French, but the ending in the draft is different from the ending in the final version of Ethan Frome. Can someone tell me what these differences are? Thanks a lot!

LI Jin janelee@bjut.edu.cn 3-30-04

This is an answer to the student who was looking for the Ethan Frome French draft: it is at Yale University, Beinecke Library in the Edith Wharton collection, box 5 folder 114.You can ask them to send you copies (copyflo or microfilms), they are very helpful and efficient.
I am a French student and I ordered some copies last year, I paid with my credit card and the parcel was sent to France a few weeks later.  It helped me a great deal.
Have a look on their website:

V. Hugel, bounespams-anglais@yahoo.fr 11/29/04

Wharton's addresses in Paris

QUESTION: I am looking for parisian's adresses where was living Edith Wharton. Please can you help me to find this information ?

Kristof Richer 2-1-04

I'm sure many people have answered this question, but, if not, in Paris she lived at 53, rue de Varennes, in the Faubourg St. Germain (Left Bank). 
       I don't believe it is possible to see the interior of the Pavillon Colombe, since it is privately occupied, but it is not difficult to take the bus from Paris to the small town of St.-Brice-sous-Fôret.  You can easily locate the rue Edith Wharton and view the commemorative plaque on the wall by the door. 
       Hyères is a very large city on the Riviera.  However, Edith Wharton's home, the Ste. Claire Château is owned by the city.  Although it is not easy to find, you can, perhaps, ask directions at the tourist bureau.  The building (former convent) is not open, but you can walk through the beautiful gardens and take photographs freely.   

--Sarah Bird Wright 4-6-04


Wharton's addresses in Paris and links to some of the places are listed on the Frequently Asked Questions page. If readers have other addresses for her, please contact the EWS site. Thanks. --D. Campbell