Queries Page: 2000

Queries  2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999
Student Queries 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000  

How to cite this page Submit a question or reply
  • Wharton's "Hymn of the Lusitania" 
  • Social Role of Women
  • Meaning of Inscription on Wharton's gravestone (X)
  • Discussion questions for Summer (X)
  • "Keeping up with the Joneses" (X)
  • Edith Wharton quotation (X)
  • "Amor Fati" (X)
  • Critical edition of The Age of Innocence (X)
  • Edith Wharton's Verses (X)
  • Edith Wharton's "Terminus" (X)
  • Sales Figures for Age of Innocence (X)
  • Authoritative Wharton biography (X)
  • Wharton Stories Set in Italy (X)
  • Play Version of House of Mirth (X)
  • Edith Wharton and E. Nesbit (X)
  • Edith Wharton's Library (X)
  • Edith Wharton for Children (X)
  • Old New York: Publication History (X)
  • Edith Wharton Quotation on Italy
  • Meaning of the pelican in "The Pelican" (X)
  • Ending of The House of Mirth (X)
  • EW Quotation on Age (X)
  • Dramatic Adaptation of "Xingu"(X)
  • Serial Version of The House of Mirth (X)
  • Movie Version (2000) of The House of Mirth (X)
  • Edith Wharton and the Gothic
    Wharton's Creativity
    New York Divorce Laws in 1913 (X)

    Queries Replies (Use the Reply Form)
    Wharton's Play Version of The House of Mirth  top

    Sent: Tuesday, January 04, 2000 5:58 PM
      Subject: Wharton's play version of House of Mirth

      I just learned that Edith Wharton wrote a play version of THE HOUSE OF MIRTH after she completed the novel. Can anyone tell me what year she wrote this play and if and where it was ever produced?

      Thank you,

      Jessica Werner


    Dear Jessica Werner:
               I think the following information may be what you need.  It was 
    compiled by Scott Marshall,  Vice-President and Deputy Director of the Edith  Wharton Restoration, who generously contributed it to my "Edith Wharton A to Z" (Facts on File, 1998), where it appears on p. 292. 
    The HOUSE OF MIRTH was co-dramatized by Edith Wharton and Clyde Fitch (Fitch also directed).  The production, starring Fay Davis as Lily Bart, opened at the Savoy Theater in New York City October 1906.  Others in the cast included Charles Bryant (Lawrence Selden), Jane Laurel (Gerty Farish), Albert Bruening (Simon Rosedale), Lumsden Hare (Augustus Trenor), Katherine Stewart (Mrs. Trenor), Charles Lane (George Dorset), Olive Oliver (Mrs. Dorset), Frank Dekum (Ned Silverton), Grant Mitchell (Percy Gryce), Isabel Richards (Evelyn Van Osburgh), Alan Allen (Wellington Bry), Florence Earle (Mrs. Wellington Bry).
                Although it had succeeded in Detroit, where it was presented at 
    the Detroit Opera House on September 14, Wharton sensed that it was doomed to failure because she refused to let Lily Bart survive; it was, in fact, panned by critics.  The dramatization was published as The House of Mirth: The Play of the Novel, edited, with an introduction, notes, and appendices, by Glenn  Loney (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1981).
            I hope this is helpful. 
                               Sarah Bird Wright

    Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2000 22:54:26 -0800 (PST)

    Subject: Re: Wharton's play version of House of Mirth

    According to Shari Benstock's _No Gifts From Chance_, "In November 1905 .. . she was also collaborating with popular New York playwright Clyde Fitch on a dramatic adaptation of _The House of Mirth_; he created the scenario, and she wrote the dialogue" (152). [. . . ] "In August, she and Clyde Fitch completed their script of _The House of Mirth_, and the play went into rehearsal.  On September 14, they were in Detroit for the opening.[...] But the New York opening at the Savoy Theatre on October 22 fell far short of success" (155). 

    Benstock discusses the play and its reception at more length, but this gives some idea of the dates involved. 

    Hope this helps.

    Donna Campbell

    From: "S_shaloo" <S_Shaloo@email.msn.com>
    Subject: Re: Wharton's play version of House of Mirth
    Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2000 19:20:59 -0500

    Clyde Fitch did the play.  I think Wharton got billing as author, but my memory of the correspondence is that she didn't write any of it.  It was produced.  Scribner's printed the dramatic version.  Sorry don't have the date handy.  Will be readily available on any library search.

    Subject: Edith Wharton, E. Nesbit, and the Etruscans  top
    I have a rather eclectic request.  Does anyone know of Wharton's interest in or familiarity with Confucianism, the Etruscans, and/or E. Nesbit?  Edith Nesbit (1858-1924) lived in London.  Like Wharton she wrote novels and ghost stories, but she's most well-known for her children's literature.  Is it at all likely that Wharton would have read her work?
    Wharton makes a metaphorical reference to the Etruscans in _A Backward Glance_.  Do they appear elsewhere in her writing?
    Many thanks,
    Daniel Hefko 
    Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2000 19:48:03 -0400 (EDT)
    To: Dhefko@aol.com
    Cc: wharton-l@gonzaga.edu

    I can't address Confucianism or the Etruscans (though I think you might have a better shot on the Etruscans, since she loved Italy--she does have 2 texts on Italy you might look at), but I'm fairly sure she has no references to E. Nesbit (with whose work I'm slightly familiar).  In *A Backward Glance* she mentions a number of authors of children's books, but Nesbit is not among them. (To some extent this is not useful; she's remembering books *she* read as a child, so of course Nesbit would not be among them.)  Neither R.W.B. Lewis nor Shari Benstock (major biographies) has any listing for Nesbit, nor does her name (Nesbit's) appear in the volume of *Letters* edited by the Lewises. An interesting speculation--but my guess would be that they never met, and it's entirely possible they were unaware of each other.  Good luck! Julie Olin-Ammentorp 

    Edith Wharton's Library top

    This is a plea for help.  Some time during the past couple of weeks I saw an item about a bookseller who has been collecting books from Edith Wharton's library and now has a catalogue available.  I foolishly deleted the item.  Any information you can give me would be much appreciated.

    Jane Millgate 1/14/00

    I don't know if it's the person you read about, but a bookseller in York, England, named George Ramsden possesses what I believe is the bulk of Wharton's personal library, and I know that over the past few years he's been planning a catalogue. I'm afraid I no longer have his address, but I hope this helps. I think his shop is called Stone Trough.--Francis Morrone

    Forgive this partial reply to query re:bookseller.  I believe the name of the dealer is George Ramsden.  I am more certain that he is the proprietor of a shop in York, Stone Trough Books.

    The INDEPENDENT ran an article perhaps 18 months (or a bit longer) ago on his collection, which was really an article about Hermione Lee, about her access to the collection, and perhaps an interview with her.

    My files are in several locations just now, and I can't locate my copy of the Independent article, but you should be able to search and confirm the above information from U of Toronto.

    FYI, the bookseller wants to sell the collection as an entire and so is not taking bids on individual books.  I have heard he created a catalogue though I have never seen it.

    There is a list of books from EW's library at the Huntington, and it may comprise all or perhaps comprises only the majority part of his collection, since I understood that he has been trying to add to his holdings over time. The list does not represent EW's entire library, which apparently was not properly recorded before being split up after her death (sigh).

    Hope this helps.
    Sharon Shaloo
    The book can be found on Bibliofind (http://www.bibliofind.com):

    Ramsden, George (compiler): : Edith Wharton's Library; a catalogue. Settrington, Stone Trough Books, 1999 With a foreword by Hermione Lee. 25 x. 16.5 cm. xxxiii, 153 pp. Numerous b/w illustrations, 3 in colour. Cloth. In the glassine wrapper. Numbered edition of 350 copies. New. 'A scholarly and very useful  catalogue' Times Lit. Supp. 'This catalogue is a revelation [of the mind of Edith Wharton]' Order ref: 1.   Offered for sale by Stone Trough Books at £60.00

    Edith Wharton for Children top
    From: "medearis superfine" 
    Subject: Children's books on Wharton or by Wharton
    Date: Sun, 16 Jan 2000 21:23:32 -0500

    My daughter, who is eight, will have the chance to portray a famous woman in a school event.  We talked over possible people she might pretend to be, and I suggested Edith Wharton.  She was fascinated by the idea.  I don't seem to recall that Wharton wrote children's books.  Can anyone correct me?  I am also interested in any recommendations for a book or even a chapter about her that would be suitable for a third grader.  Thank you.

    Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 10:37:56 -0500 (EST)
    From: Renee Tursi 
    Subject: Re: Children's books on Wharton or by Wharton

    You are to be commended for managing to interest an eight-year-old in
    Wharton! I have two thoughts that, while not exactly what you might be
    looking for, might nonetheless spark more ideas of your own.

    Wharton's famous descriptions in her autobiographies ("A Backward Glance and "Life and I") of her own childhood compulsion to tell stories simply by looking at the type on the pages of books she couldn't yet read herself might engage children themselves. Also, in his biography of Wharton, RWB Lewis reprints a letter (pp. 385-86) she wrote to the precocious child of a friend regarding a stuffed parrot she was sending him for his birthday. It's one of my favorite things she ever wrote, and it certainly illustrates her wonderful regard for children as reasonable, intelligent little beings -- rather than as creatures who needed to be talked down to.

    A third thought: when Wharton received notice that her first stories were being published (not long after her marriage, I think) she ran up and down the stairs repeatedly in a frenzy of delight. 
    What great suggestions!

    I also think there was once a biography of EW published that was aimed at
    younger readers, but I have not been able to locate it.  I remember seeing
    it once at the house of a friend's mother, and I assume it was published
    some time ago.

    If anyone has that reference, would you post it to the list?


    Sharon Shaloo
    The biography geared to younger readers referred to is THE TWO FACES OF EDITH WHARTON  by Grace Kellogg, (New York: Appleton Century, 1965).  It is really more for teenagers and older to read themselves...It is quite interesting as actually it is the first biography of Wharton...It opens with  a beautiful description of Wharton, a lonely child,finding the beautiful books in her father's elegant library...You may have to read it with or to an eight-old but I think she will appreciate it.
    Annette Zilversmit

    Old New York: Publication History top
    QUESTION: For an article on Edith Wharton and Short Story writing late 19th Century, could anyone please advise whether the 4 novellas "Old New York" were published originally as individual short stories. And if so when and where. Many thanks.
    Charline Spektor      airplay@worldnet.att.net 
    From: SBWright@aol.com
    Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2000 20:15:02 EST
    Subject: Serialization of *Old New York* novellas

    Dear Charline Spektor:
        The four *Old New York* novellas were published by Appleton's in 1924 in  a boxed set.  All four had been serialized before publication, thanks to the  efforts of Rutger B. Jewett, W.'s editor at Appleton's and one of her most  faithful supporters.   *The Old Maid* ran in *Redbook* (then called *The Red Book Magazine*) in Feb., Mar., and Apr. 1922.  *New Year's Day* ran in the  same magazine in July and Aug. 1923.  *False Dawn* ran in the *Ladies' Home Journal* in Nov. 1923, and *The Spark* was published in the *Ladies' Home Journal* in May 1924.   Hope this helps --
                                               Sarah Bird Wright

    Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 10:07:09 -0400 (EDT)
    From: "Olin-Ammentorp, Julie" <olinamme@maple.lemoyne.edu>
    Subject: Re: Queries: Old New York

    The best source on such queries is _Edith Wharton: A Bibliography_ by Stephen Garrison (Univ. of Pittsburgh Press, 1990).  According to Garrison, "The Old Maid" was published in Red Book Magazine in Feb-April 1922; "New Year's Day" was pub. in Red Book Mag July & Aug 1923; "False Dawn" was pub. in Ladies' Home Journal in Nov. 1923; "The Spark" was pub. in Ladies' Home Journal in May 1924. 
    Julie Olin-Ammentorp 
    Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2000 09:06:10 -0500
    From: S_shaloo <S_Shaloo@email.msn.com>
    Subject: Re: Queries: Old New York

    I just wanted to add to Julie's very complete note that unlike other of EW's collections, which happened after the fact, when she had published a certain number of pieces and felt that they would make a volume, OLD NEW YORK was developed as a collection. She first wrote OLD MAID and then NEW YEAR'S DAY, with a working title of, if memory doesn't fail (and, alas, it often does these days) AMONG THE MINGOTTS.  That idea evolved into a four-novella collection, published as Sarah Wright mentioned, in four separate hardcover volumes that were also offered to the trade in a boxed set.  Wharton insisted on a very quick follow-up edition of the four novellas in one volume, but I don't have the date of the edition at hand. 

    Wharton's comment on living in Italy top
    Date: Fri, 4 Feb 2000 11:06:52 EST
    Dear Fellow Wharton Enthusiasts, 
        Hello, hello!  I'm trying to trace a comment Edith Wharton is alleged to  have made when asked about living in Italy.  Legend has it that she said  something witty (as ever) along the lines of "Why wouldn't someone live in  Italy?" I would very much appreciate the source, and exact quotation, if  someone would be kind enough to post it, or e-mail me at Ktolch@aol.com.    Thanks for your consideration. 
        Yours in Wharton-philia, 
    Meaning of the Pelican in "The Pelican"top
    NAME: Ms.supika yimlamai,  supika.1@email.com
    QUESTION: I am doing my master degree in Thailand. I am now progressing my dissertation. I am studying one of Edith Wharton's short story - The Pelican(1898). I wander if anyone can tell me how the name "The Pelican" related to the story.thanks a lot 
    Mrs Amyot pretends she sacrifices herself in order to provide for her son "the baby" (even when he is a baby no more) just as the Pelican (a bird with a very capacious beak for storing supplies for its young)could starve rather than eat what it has kept in store for its young.
    Colette Collomb-Boureau, Université Lumière Lyon2, France.

    I believe that there was also a legend (deriving from a misunderstanding of  this capacious beak)  that the pelican would nourish its young with blood drawn from its own breast.  The pelican thus signifies (ironically, in this case) maternal self-sacrifice.  --Donna Campbell

    From: laura canis <lcanis@bw.edu>
    House of Mirth ending

    Hello, I just finished reading House of Mirth.  What a book.  What are your ideas on the "word" that Lawrence was coming to tell Lily on the morning of her death?  What could it be?  I'm dying to know!
    Thanks, Laura Canis  (3/20/00)

    This question generated so many responses that they have been placed on a separate page, "The Ending of The House of Mirth."
    Edith Wharton Quotation on Age
    As program manager for the Elderhostel Institute Network (72,000
    older adult learners)I am looking for a quote attributed to Edith Wharton
    that refers to one living longer if one is unafraid of change and has an
    insatiable intellectual curiosity.  Any help you can send my way would be
    appreciated.  Thank you.

    Nancy Merz, Program Manager

    dear Nancy Merz,

    I believe the quote to which you refer comes from Wharton's "autobiography" _A Backward Glance_:

    "In spite of illness, in spite even of the arch-enemy sorrow, one *can*
    remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid
    of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways" (xix).

    Wise words those.
    Hope this helps,

    Emily Orlando
    University of Maryland

    Dramatic Adaptation of "Xingu"
    I have just discovered Edith Wharton's short story "Xingu" and was completely taken with it.  In fact, I have been inspired to adapt it for the stage; I work as the literary manager for a small theater company in New York that works  to revive American plays from before 1914.  We also do look at works based on American literature of the period as well. To your knowledge, has anyone ever attempted an adaptation of the story prior to this?  I wanted to make sure there wasn't already a version out there before starting.

      Kimberly Wadsworth

    Thanks for your attention. 

    From: Dale Flynn <dbflynn@ucdavis.edu>
    Subject: Re: Adaptation of "Xingu"?


    "Xingu" was adapted for the stage by Thomas Seller in 1939.  The
    Dramatists Play Service holds the rights to it; it is readily

    Serialization of The House of Mirth 
    QUESTION: I am searching for information on the possible serialization of House of Mirth prior to its 1905 publication.  Was it serialized, perhaps in Scribner's Magazine?  Any references that I can be directed towards would be greatly appreciated.   Wendy Foster wcfoster@interchange.ubc.ca
    The House of Mirth was serialized in Scribner's Magazine from January through November 1905. (Source: preface to The House of Mirth, ed. Elizabeth Ammons [New York: W.W. Norton, 1990], page ix.)
    Hope this helps--
    D. Campbell    5/20/00 
    New Movie Version of The House of Mirth
    I have been trying to find information on the film version of House
    of Mirth. I think the film was just screened at Cannes this year. I think it is
    a British film and Gillian Anderson is starring in it. Can anyone suggest a web site that might have information on this film? I have checked many movie web sites and I have not found anything. 
    Information on the movie version is available at this site on Gillian Anderson (Lily Bart); thanks to Natalie Steckler for submitting this information. This link appears also on the Wharton filmography page.
    D. Campbell 5/28/00
    Edith Wharton's Creativity 


    QUESTION: My question is "Where do you think Edith Wharton was more creative?
    in the countryside or in the city? She wrote novels in places ranging from the States to Paris . . . .  10/16/00

    Edith Wharton and the Gothic


    QUESTION: I have a question regarding the Gothic nature of some of Edith Wharton's stories.  In stories like "Pomegranate Seed" and "Afterward," it seems as if the 'terror' is two-fold.  The circumstances of a woman in the upper class seem to be suffocating enough to set the stage for a gothic story. but it seems like subtextually that these women also bring about the terror from what they do (or don't do) that is in a certain sense the impetus for the terror.  If anyone has any thoughts about this, it would be greatly appreciated!  10/15/00

    New York Divorce Laws in 1913
    QUESTION: I am preparing a class on the "Custom of the Country" and would like to know when the divorce law was voted in the State of New York. Any information on divorce at the time of Edith Wharton's writing (around 1913) would be of great interest to me.

    Marie-Pierre Liny

    Divorce details on her particular case could be hard to come by.  All of EW's biographers say that she worked hard to keep the details under wraps and tried various stratagems so that the divorce would not be public.

    See also the  edition of her letters.
    An archive that might prove helpful is the New York State legal resources archive at