Queries Page: 2000
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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
|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.
STAGE ADAPTATION OF THE HOUSE OF MIRTH:
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).
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,
I hope this is helpful.
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.
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
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?
|Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2000 19:48:03 -0400 (EDT)
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
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.
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
younger readers, but I have not been able to locate it. I remember
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?
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.
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 email@example.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 --
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 10:07:09 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Olin-Ammentorp, Julie" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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.
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.
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, email@example.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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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
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
appreciated. Thank you.
Nancy Merz, Program Manager
|dear Nancy Merz,
I believe the quote to which you refer comes from Wharton's "autobiography" _A
"In spite of illness, in spite even of the arch-enemy sorrow,
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,
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.
Thanks for your attention.
|From: Dale Flynn <email@example.com>
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
|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
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
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
D. Campbell 5/28/00
|Edith Wharton's Creativity
QUESTION: My question is "Where do you think Edith Wharton was
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
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.
|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