Queries Page: 2006

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Age of Innocence: First Edition?

I find that I have a 1920 D. Appleton and Company edition of The Age of Innocence. Could it possibly be a first edition? Thank you for any information.

lucille warner, lucillesw@yahoo.com 12/11/06

"The Life Apart"

I'm looking for a Wharton story called "The Life Apart," and I can't seem to find it anywhere. Might someone direct to a collection, or advise as to where it was initially published?

Thank you.Bill

bscalia@lsu.edu 12/11/06

Wharton's Rest Cure

Lewis asserts that Wharton was never a patient of S. Weir Mitchell's even though she did partake of a "rest cure."

Who was the doctor who prescribed the rest cure?

Did she and Mitchell have any kind of relationship?

Any ideas as to how the legend arose that Mitchell prescribed novel writing as a form of therapy?

Yale Kramer, MD

ykramer1 at nyc.rr.com


Italian Backgrounds: 1907 reprinting?

Question: I have a copy of Wharton's Italian Backgrounds which all sources including LC Catalogue list as published 1905 but the title page of my copy is clearly marked New York/Charles Scribner's Sons/MCMVII. On the verso is "Copyright 1905" etc. and "Published April, 1905." Can someone verify that there was a 1907 reprinting of this work? If so, is the 1907 exactly like the 1905 in content and appearance? And were there later reprintings?

With thanks,

David Palmquist

Kinderhook NY USA, dpalmquist at nycap.rr.com 11/15/06


I remember seeing a dramatization on television of Edith Wharton's short story "Bewitched." I would like to try to find this dramatization on either VCR or DVD format. Can anybody help? I don't think it was titled "Bewitched" when it was aired. Thanks to all--it was a VERY creepy story. Kay Lord, kittykay1 at hotmail.com



Edith Wharton, Fabric Designer?

did Edith Wharton design fabric for Shumacher depicting the fable Le Meunier, son fils and l'ane ? I have come across a beautiful linen tapestry with Edith Wharton listed as a credit.

Thanks, Betsy Jackson 10/23/06

Address of Pavillon Colombe

Dear Madams, dear Sirs,

I would like to ask if you may give me the address of Edith Wharton's house in St. Brice sous forêt near by Paris, becaus I would like to visit it.
Or do you have some other information about the house, whether there is a museum etc.?

Thank you very much, I am a fascinated reader of Edith Wharton from Germany

Kind regards
Anja Koenenanjabip at gmx.de

The only information we have is that the house is on the rue Edith Wharton. It's a private residence, so as far as I know there is no museum there.


D. Campbell

Macmillan Edition (1907) Madame de Treymes

As part of an auction lot we've come across a first UK edition of Madame de Treymes published by Macmillan in 1907 in orange boards. We can't find references anywhere to this edition - are you able to shed any light for us please? Many thanks. Mark Crocker

mark at mcrocker.co.uk


Wharton allegory

There is a very short short story Edith Wharton wrote, it is an allegory. A young woman leaves her childish comrades with a male companion to learn what exists beyond the community of the uninquisitive in which she lives. Does anyone recall the name of this story and does anyone know in what book, if any, it was first published.
I just finished teaching my students Plato's Allegory of the Cave, and I thought this feminist allegory written by Wharton would be of interest to them.
J. Balgley portjosh at aol.com


This is in The Valley of Childish Things and Other Emblems.

--D. Campbell

Wharton: American face like a football?

Edith Wharton once made a comment about the American face and likened it to (I think) a football. I would appreciate the exact quote and the source. Was it Custom of the Country?


Jeanne Farewell

JeanneFarewell at suscom.net, 10/7/06

The quote is from “Madame de Treymes” and says that the American face is as “unexpressive as a football.”

Nick Nicholson


Summer (1981) Movie: Available?

My daughter was in the TV movie "Summer" in 1981.  I would like to obtain a copy of the movie for her, for her 36th birthday this October.  The movie was filmed in 1990 - some of it in New Hampshire.  Any idea where I can find a copy?

Marilyn Wood
 emontpelier at yahoo dot com


This is one of the most frequently asked questions at the site. Unfortunately, those Wharton films from the early 1980s are not currently available. If anyone has other information, please contact the site.

I've also put this query on Wharton News and Notes in case that reaches a wider or different audience. --D. Campbell

"Roman Fever"

I'm going to be teaching "Roman Fever" for the first time and was wondering if anyone has a guidline that they like use to do a class discussion on it. I've got a great deal of time to be able to devote to it (My Comp 2 class is a two-hour and forty minute affair - I'm shooting for at least an hour), and want to be able to make it as interesting for my students as it is for myself.
I want to do the work justice - the questions I have developed come from a basic understanding of Wharton and the text, having only read one book of her shorter fiction , so I'm looking for help from the experts Side Note - I wish I hadn't dropped Singley's class when I was at Rutgers. Guess I just wasn't ready for Wharton at the time.


Dan Garavuso, scarletfire74 at gmail.com



Wharton and Electricity

Hi all,
Is there someone who's written on electricity in Wharton's works? I seem to recall hearing a conference paper about this years ago, but I didn't find anything when on the MLA bibliography.

Thanks in advance,
Meredith Goldsmith
Assistant Professor of English
Ursinus College
mgoldsmith at ursinus dot edu

There was a paper given at the Newport conference on this:

"100-Watt Wharton: Electric Lighting in The House of Mirth," Peter Betjemann, Princeton University

"The Confessional"

Is there any printed edition of the short story "The Confessional"?

Thank you for your help
Giulietta Bertoni


EW at the Paris World's Fair of 1889?

For a book about the Paris World's Fair of 1889, I wonder if anyone can tell me if Edith Wharton was a visitor and if there are any of her letters or journals from the summer of 1889 describing her visit.

jill jonnes jonnes at starpower dot com


Pavillon Colombe open?

Would you be kind enough and let me know whether the Pavillion Colombe in Saint Brice is open to the public. Many thanks, kind regards, Ingrid Christophersen


Sorry, but Pavillon Colombe is privately owned and not open to the public.

--D. Campbell

Edition of Madame de Treymes

As part of an auction lot we've come across a first UK edition of Madame de Treymes published by Macmillan in 1907 in orange boards. We can't find references anywhere to this edition - are you able to shed any light for us please? Many thanks.

Mark Crockermark at mcrocker.co.uk 8/23/06


Letters from Wharton to Morton Fullerton

I am doing research for a film and wanted to know the specifics in regard to the discovery or the letters of Edith Wharton to Morton Fullerton which are now housed at the University of Texas in Austin. I would like to know the following:

When were the letters discovered? (mm/dd/yy if possible)

Where were they discovered? What city or town? More specifically, were they in a desk drawer, an attic, etc.

Who discovered them?

Any other information would be greatly appreciated.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Daniel Lettieri

Here are some articles that will provide this information:

Price, Kenneth M., and Phyllis McBride. "'The Life Apart': Texts and Contexts of Edith Wharton's Love Diary." American Literature 66.4 (1994): 663-88.

Colquitt, Clare. "Unpacking Her Treasures: Edith Wharton's 'Mysterious Correspondence' with Morton Fullerton." Library Chronicle of the University of Texas 31 (1985): 73-107.

Gribben, Alan. "'the Heart Is Insatiable': A Selection from Edith Wharton's Letters to Morton Fullerton, 1907-1915." Library Chronicle of the University of Texas 31 (1985): 7-18.

You might also want to check R. W. B. Lewis and Nancy Lewis's edition of Wharton's letters; see also R. W. B. Lewis's and Shari Benstock's biographies of Wharton and Marion Mainwaring's The Mysteries of Paris: The Quest for Morton Fullerton.

--D. Campbell

Epigraph of Age of Innocence

In a Norton Classical Edition of "The Age of Innocence" there is an article by Jennifer Rae Greeson discussing three outlines of "The Age..." Edith Wharton wrote before its final publication. The editor (Candace Waid) remarked that shortly before this volume was published Jennifer Rae Greeson doscovered a sort of epigraph (in quotation marks) on the last of the original outlines, on the top of the page. It is probably written in Arabic. Can somebody tell me what this short quotation means?
thank you

magdalen22 at poczta.fm



"Sara" or "Sally" Clayburn in "All Souls"?

Wharton's short story 'All Souls'' describes what happened to the character named Sara Clayburn. In the Library of America 2001 edition (Collected Stories 1911-1937) p.799 appears the name 'Sally Clayburn' instead. This name isn't repeated in the rest of the story and, if I'm not mistaken, doesn't refer to any other possible character. Is it a mistake, or should I reread the text to understand it better?

Armelle Chastrusse, chastrusse at hotmail.com 6/28/06

She is referred to both as 'Sara' and 'Sally' by the narrator. The first time she is referrred to as 'Sally' - it what appears to be an attempt to show how close they were, but in the rest of the story she is called 'Sara'. I think this is to reinforce the notion that this is an unreliable narrator, who does not know his/her cousin well, which in turn lessens the credibility of the coven reading of the text - which is clearly not Sara's view of what happened that weekend.

sarah whitehead, 3-31-07

Quotation about "little old dog"

I'm working for a giftbook publisher, and we are considering using an Edith Wharton quote on one of our products (the application is in process!) and I was wondering if anyone could tell me what poem/title this line comes from:

"My little old dog: a heartbeat at my feet."

I'd be grateful if someone with the answer could email me at mia.kilroy at exleypublications.co.uk.

Thank you,

Mia. 6/28/06

This quotation and its source are discussed on the Queries 2003 page.

Wharton and Praslin Case

Love Wharton's work and was particularly interested in finding out that she worked on an unfinished novel regarding the 1847 Praslin Murder in Paris (as Bette Davis' had a starring role in the screen adaption of Wharton's "The Old Maid"; she also starred in "All This and Heaven, Too" about the Praslin Murder). I have an interest in this 19th Century Victorian scandal and was wondering if Wharton's novel about the case would warrant publication, even though it was unfinished. I am curious to know what her interest was in the case.

Betty, 6/8/06



Summer: Date of publication in London & Europe

SUMMER, date of first publication in London. Does anyone know the exact date this novel was first published in London or Europe?
many thanks
Alison Brown alisonbrown4 at aol.com 6/8/06

The standard reference for finding information like this would be Stephen Garrison's Edith Wharton: A Descriptive Bibliography (1991).
Quotation source: "could not sleep in a room with a book containing a ghost story"?

There is a quote attributed to Ms. Wharton -- "Until I was twenty-seven, I could not sleep in a room with a book containing a ghost story" -- Did she actually say this and in where can the quote be found, e.g., in a preface, biography, one of her short stories or novels, etc.

S Molini, 5/31/06

The whole quotation reads: But how long the traces of my illness lasted may be judged from the fact that, till I was twenty-seven or eight, I could not sleep in the room with a book containing a ghost story, and that I have frequently had to burn books of this kind, because it frightened me to know that they were downstairs in the library!

The passage can be found on page 1080 of Wharton s autobiographical fragment Life and I, which was published in _Edith Wharton: Novellas and Other Writings_ edited by Cynthia Griffin Wolff. The passage can also be found on page 303 of an excerpt of "Life and I" published as An Autobiographical Postscript in _The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton_.

--Daniel Hefko, 6/8/06

"The Old Maid": "Prequel" to The Age of Innocence?

I have only recently had the pleasure and privelege of becoming more aquainted with Wharton's body of work. "Age of Innocence" as been a favorite of mine for a number of years. About 2 weeks ago, I read her "Old New York" novellas....wow! My question stems from "The Old Maid"... is this story meant to be a "pre-quel" of sorts to "Age"? Any insight or rec. reading suggestions would be so very appreciated!
James Emery, Bushfighter1 at hotmail.com


Edith Wharton Review: Indexes?

I would like to know what academic indexes the Edith Wharton Review is listed with (MLA, Current Contents/Arts & Humanities, etc.). Thank you for your help.


Matthew Gumpert
The Edith Wharton Review is indexed in the MLA Bibliography. If readers know of other academic indexes in which it's listed, please contact the site.
Permission to use Wharton's works

I'm writing from Exley giftbooks in Watford, London, and we are interested in using a Wharton quote on one of our 3D products (a giftbag), and I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction as to whom I could apply to. Is there an agent or estate that deals with her permissions to use her work?

Thank you for your assistance,

all the best,

Mia Kilroy.

You would need to contact the Watkins/Loomis agency; the address is on our FAQ page.
Wharton's works to read at a wedding

I am getting married this July and having a non-religious ceremony. We would like to include some readings from our favorite authors, Edith Wharton being one of mine. I am having a difficult time finding an excerpt about love from her works that would be appropriate, do you have any suggestions?
Thank you so much,

Heather Singmastersingmaster at gmail.com 5/18/06

You'll probably receive several responses to this but among those that might work are these:

Newland Archer's words to Ellen Olenska in The Age of Innocence (the passage in which he says, "Each time you happen to me all over again."
Some of Wharton's poems
Some of her writings to Morton Fullerton

--D. Campbell

Keillor's 'Almanac' attribution of 25 Feb 06

Poem: "When I am gone, recall my hair" by Edith Wharton from Edith Wharton: Selected Poems. © The Library of America. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

When I am gone, recall my hair

When I am gone, recall my hair,
Not for the light it used to hold,
But that your tough, enmeshed there,
As turned it to a younger gold....

Is there something missing? is there an error, in the third line? JRT Moorejrtmenviro at yahoo.com


"Tough" should probably be "touch," and "As" should be "Has," but if anyone with the book can confirm this, please write to the site.

Discussion Questions on The Reef

In about three weeks I will be leading a reading group discussion about The Reef and would be most grateful for questions to use or any source where I might find questions or discussions that will help me formulate questions for the discussion. Thank you.

Gloria Zimmerman, gloriazimm28 at aol.com 4/15/06

There is a summary and some questions here, but more are always welcome:


Poverty and Prosperity in Edith Wharton's Works

I am researching poverty and prosperity as they shape feminine roles in early 20th century American society and as they are reflected in Edith Wharton s The Age of Innocence (1920), Summer (1917), House of Mirth (1905), Old New York (1924), and Ethan Frome (1912).
Any economic or critical sources that Wharton Society Members can suggest would be greatly appreciated.

Charlotte Hudgins



Lowell Barrington and Ethan Frome

While researching information on "Ethan Frome" I came across the name Lowell Barrington as a person who wrote a dramatization of the novella (which Owen & Donald Davis later based their dramatization on). I cannot find any information on Mr. Barrington. Does anyone have any suggestions or know when he wrote his version of "Ethan"?

James Eimont, eimont at ucc.edu


"Red gold and myrrh" in "The One Grief"

Could someone please explain the reference to'tribute of red gold and myrrh' at the end of Wharton's poem 'The One Grief'? I assumed a biblical reference at first but don't quite see the connection. Thank you.

Julia Dickmann, julia.dickmann at btinternet.com


"Beatrice Palmato" criticism

I am currently researching my Masters dissertation on Edith Wharton particularly representations of art, money and gender/sexuality in The House of Mirth and The Custom of the Country. I am hoping to draw in the extract "Beatrice Palmato" but am struggling to find any criticism on the text that focusses on the explicit sexuality without recourse to the incestuous nature of it. The only article I can find is Reinaldo Francisco Silva's "Eroticizing the Other in Edith Wharton's "Beatrice Palmato"", can anyone recommend anything else, or even another example of such extraordinary explicitness on the part of Wharton? Thanks for your help.

Kate Ashton, kateashton179 at hotmail.com


Here are three articles on it, including the one that you mentioned. See also Cynthia Griffin Wolff's A Feast of Words, which discusses this fragment.

Lauer, Kristin O. "Is This Indeed 'Attractive'? Another Look at the 'Beatrice Palmato' Fragment." Journal of Evolutionary Psychology 11.1-2 (1990): 1-8.

---. "Is This Indeed 'Attractive'? Another Look at the 'Beatrice Palmato' Fragment." Edith Wharton Review 11.1 (1994): 26-29.

Silva, Reinaldo Francisco. "Eroticizing the Other in Edith Wharton's 'Beatrice Palmato'." Mentalities/Mentalites 19.1 (2005): 38-45.


Wharton's WWI essays

Edith Wharton's WWI essays. I will appreciate help locating any of the essays she wrote about/during the war.

Thanks, Beverly Simpson bsimpson at rcn.com


Regarding Wharton's World War I essays: those she published in Scribner's Magazine were collected in the volume _Fighting France_. (This is out of print but can probably be obtained through Interlibrary Loan.) She wrote many other articles as well, some of which are collected in Appendix B of my 2004 book, _Edith Wharton's Writings from the Great War_ (University Press of Florida).

--Julie Olin-Ammentorp, 4/7/06

Real-life Undine Spragg?

Among the many candidates who might be possible real-life sources/inspirations/models for the figure of Undine Spragg in The Custom of the Country, has Ethel Tree Beatty ever been suggested?

She was the ambitious, rich and American-born wife of the English WWI Admiral Sir David Beatty. To marry Beatty, she abandoned claim to her son by her first husband. When he died some years later, she had a messenger inform her son (then at his father's bedside) that after the death he would need to come with her. She also had to pull strings to be received at the Royal Court, because the divorced were generally not received by the monarch.

She had two children during her marriage with Beatty, one of whom was generally known not to have been Sir David's.

There are other details in her life that suggest her as a model for Undine.

As a longtime Wharton reader and admirer, I would appreciate any guidance.

Douglas Haneline, hanelind at ferris.edu 3/21/06


Theatre Adaptations of Wharton's Works

Hello - I'm looking for any recommendations for theatre adaptations of Wharton's novels. We're a new London-based company looking specifically for adaptations of female writers' work. If anyone has any recommendations, I would love to hear them, particularly if they have yet to be produced in the UK. Louise Hilllouisechill at hotmail.com

The Mint Theater Company in New York has put on several adaptations of Wharton's works and might have suggestions.

If readers have other suggestions, please send them to the site.

***Update 3/24/06****

Regarding Louise Hill's inquiry about theater adaptations of Wharton novels:  Mint Theater Company in New York has published the dramatization of The House of Mirth that Wharton wrote herself in 1906, along with playwright Clyde Fitch.  The Mint text revises the play somewhat using material from the novel.  Mint also has a copy of the Margaret Ayer Barnes' 1928 dramatization of The Age of Innocence.  For more information please contact Mint Artistic Director Jonathan Bank: jbank at minttheater.org


Dear Ms. Hill: I would like to recommend my play/adaptation of BUNNER SISTERS based on Wharton's early New York City novella. It just received "rave" reviews at The New York Society Library (the first library established in New York City, 1754) and at The Salmagundi Club (the first watercolor society in New York City, 1871) where two staged readings of the work were presented - October 24 & 25 of 2006. It has yet to travel to England. My other works have been seen off-broadway, in regional theaters and on television where one received two Emmy awards. I can be reached at lselman@nyc.rr.com.

Most sincerely, Linda Selman 1/1/07


Edith Wharton--travel to San Francisco?

Did Edith Wharton ever visit San Francisco?

Deborah Doyle zorrah at well.com 3/9/06

Wharton's family--New York?

Can you tell me if Edith Wharton's family originated in New York City society and if the family name is related to the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. I know from my own New Jersey family that many of the old names came from one root. I am thinking of Vanevar Bush and George Bush both also from Massachusetts history. Thank you for you reply.

Carolyn Gill 3/5/06


People resembling their houses

In a memoir, A Place in the Country, by Laura Shaine Cunningham, she writes that Wharton wrote that  people became their houses, even looked like them. Cunningham, of course, gives no citation. Does this ring true with you and do you have any ideas as to where I might find this thought. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Judith Church Tydings
jtydings at xecu dot net


Edith Wharton's dogs

I'm the author of a series of books for young people about Impressionist painters and their circle ("Charlotte in Giverny," "Charlotte in Paris," "Charlotte in New York") published by Chronicle Books. Now Charlotte is off to Italy where she meets Edith Wharton. Charlotte loves dogs and has a Brussels Griffon named Toby. I'd like to know more about Edith Wharton and her dogs. Did she have any breeds other than Papillons? What are some of the names she gave her dogs? Many thanks! Joan Knight

Joan M. Knight

JKMacGriff at aol.com 2-10-06

To the reader interested in Edith Wharton's dogs

You may be interested to know that the graves of several of her dogs are on a hill at her estate in the Berkshires (The Mount). The small, elegant tombstones bear French and English names and sweet, short farewells or tributes.
--Karen Noske, 4/13/06

Scarcity of French Ways and their Meaning

Can you inform me as to the scarcity of dust jacketed copies of the first UK edition of 'French Ways and their Meaning' London,1919?

Used book sites on the internet all seem not to have seen a dust jacketed copy of "French Ways and their Meaning". Is it really that scarce?
B Benneworth

b.benneworth at btinternet.com 2-10-06


Berkshire Evening Eagle Article on Sledding Accident (Ethan Frome)

I'm about to begin a unit on Ethan Frome and I found a reference to a March 12, 1904 article in the Berkshire Evening Eagle about a fatal coasting accident that may have served as inspiration for the accident in Ethan Frome. Would the Society have such an article, and if so, how may I attain a copy? Thank you.
P.S. The reference to the article is in The Glencoe Literature Library Study Guide for Ethan Frome.
Thomas Ross
Language Arts Department
Danbury High School, Danbury, Conn.

rossth at danbury.k12.ct.us


We don't have this available on the Wharton Society site, but it can be found in a widely used edition of Ethan Frome: Kristin O. Lauer and Cynthia Griffin Wolff's Ethan Frome (Norton Critical Edition), published by W. W. Norton in 1995, pages 86-90.

--D. Campbell


The Berkshire Evening Eagle article on the sledding accident is also included as an appendix to the Penguin Classics edition of ETHAN FROME--or at least it used to be (I haven't seen the most recent re-printing).

-- F. Wegener 2-8-06

Countess Olenska: Part of the Money Plot?

I have been trying to research Countess Olenska's contribution to the triangle in "Age of Innocence", but no reviewers or discussions on the internet ever concede that she may have been part of the plot to get the money from the grandmother to return to Europe and live their "on her terms". 
Can you recommend a website where I can pursue this?

jeanne haigis pedler 1/23/06


Please send comments and suggestions to D. Campbell.