||Replies (Use the Reply
|Edith Wharton's Poetry
NAME: Lisa Mezzani
QUESTION: I'm about to start working on my final college paper,
which should deal with the first verses and poetry written by
Edith Wharton. As I'm familiar only with her novels, I
would like to know whether
these works have been collected and published.
Any information on E.W.'s first poems will be greatly appreciated.
|There was a discussion about this not too long ago on the Edith
Wharton list; the archive for the discussion is at
There's also information (the same information) on the Queries
Artemis to Actaeon and Other Verse should be available
in libraries; it's a reprint version of Wharton's published poems.
An essay on Wharton's poems is available in Alfred Bendixen and Annette
Zilversmit's collection of essays on Wharton (1992).
Good luck with your project.
|The Greater Inclination
Hello, I am going to write an essay
on Edith Wharton's "The Greater Inclination"(I took a course entitled The
American Short Story).
The purpose of this essay is to look at how Wharton's early collection
of short stories fits in with the rest of her (later) work.
So far, I have only been able to find some information on "The Pelican" and
it seems there is not much written about the collection as a whole.
I would like to know if there are any books/links that discuss "The Greater
Inclination" as an significant work of literature by Wharton.
I would greatly appreciate your help.
Mirjana van Zeijderveld firstname.lastname@example.org
|Note: This question has been reposted from the Queries page because
it is a common question about the novel. --D. Campbell
From: laura canis <email@example.com>
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."
|Weddings in Edith
From: Gina Colagiovanni <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Hello. My name is Gina. I am currently in a graduate course
studying authors, such as Edith Wharton, as well as the the time period
of late 1800's and early 1900's. I have chosen to write a paper
regarding weddings from this time period. I am having a difficult
time finding facts about what a wedding would have looked like at this
time. If you have any information at all (web sites, book titles,
magazines)it would be very helpful to me. Thanks very much!
|One book that may be helpful to you is this one from the Recommended
Books list. The annotation is from that list, too.
Montgomery, Maureen E. Displaying Women: Spectacles of Leisure
in Edith Wharton's New York. New York: Routledge, 1998. More
a treatment of Wharton's cultural context than a close reading
of her fiction, but a valuable resource for anyone interested in the
New York of 1870 to 1920.
Montgomery uses a number of primary sources in her discussion, so the
bibliography as well as the text of the book would probably be helpful
to you. Good luck with your project. --D. Campbell
|Age of Innocence: Film
I am a university student who has to do a paper on the Age of
Innocence on the following subject. "By what methods do the film
and the novel create atmosphere? How does the atmosphere of each
contribute to the audience's sense of what the title means?" (We
are studying the 1990s film)I am at a lost to find information
to back up my ideas. If anyone could help it would be greatly
The bibliographies at the EWS site include these articles, which
may be useful to you:
Helmetag, Charles H. "Recreating Edith Wharton's New York in Martin Scorsese's The
Age of Innocence." Literature/ Film Quarterly
26.3 (1998): 162-65.
Marshall, Scott. "Edith Wharton on Film and Television: A History and
Filmography." Edith Wharton Review 13.2 (1996): 15-26.
Peucker, Brigitte. "Rival Arts? Filming The Age of Innocence." Edith
Wharton Review 13.1 (1996): 19-22.
of the Country Film and Edith Wharton and Henry James
This year, we are studying "The custom of the country" and I
would like to know if there is a film version of this work. Also,
Edith Wharton was said to be very close to Henry James, do you
think we can find links or is there any allusions to one of Henry
James'works? At least, have there been studies about similarities
in attitude in Wharton's or James' heroines? Olivia
|According to the Internet Movie Database, there hasn't been a movie
made of The Custom of the Country.
A great deal has been written about Edith Wharton's friendship with
Henry James and the effect that this had on their work. You might
try any of the biographies on the Recommended Works page at
A good source is Millicent Bell's Edith Wharton and Henry James:
A Story of their Friendship.
D. Campbell 9/28/00
|"Roman Fever" and "The
I am doing a critical analysis paper on Edith Wharton's "The Other Two'
and "Roman Fever". I was wondering if you knew of any resources that that
critique either of those two works? If so could you please respond to me
promptly. I thank you in advance for doing so. Have a great day!
|Many of the books on the Recommended
Bibliography list contain analyses of these two stories.
Here are two books that focus on the short stories:
White, Barbara A. Edith Wharton: A Study of the Short Fiction. Boston:
Fracasso Evelyn E. Edith Wharton's Prisoners of Consciousness : A
Study of Theme and Technique in the Tales Westport, Conn.
: Greenwood Press, 1994.
You could also check these books for suggestions:
Lauer, Kristin, and Margaret Murray, eds. Edith Wharton: A
Bibliography. New York: Garland, 1989.
Wright, Sarah Bird.Edith Wharton A to Z: The Essential Guide to the
Life and Work. New York: Facts on File, 1998.
Here are some of the resources listed for both works at the Wharton
Society site and elsewhere. Suggestions for obtaining these are available
on the Frequently
Asked Questions page.
- Berkove, Lawrence I. "'Roman Fever': A Mortal Malady." CEA Critic 56.2
- Sweeney, Susan Elizabeth. "Edith Wharton's Case of Roman Fever." Wretched
Exotic: Essays onEdith Wharton in Europe. Eds. Katherine Joslin
and Alan Price. American University Studies XXIV:American Literature
(AmLit), New York, NY. Series No: 53. New York: Peter Lang, 1993.
- Petry, Alice Hall. "A Twist of Scarlet Silk: Edith Wharton's 'Roman
Fever.'" Studies in Short Fiction 24, no. 2 (1987): 163-166
- Mortimer, Armine Kotin. "Romantic Fever: The Second Story as Illegitimate
Daughter in Wharton's 'Roman Fever'." Narrative 6.2 (1998):
- Inverso, Mary Beth. "Performing Women: Semiotic Promiscuity in 'The
Other Two'." Edith Wharton
Review 10.1 (1993): 3-6.
|The Custom of the Country
I'm working on this novel and would like to have some information
(critics, etc...) Thanks
|It's best to do your research and check the resources in your library
first before posting a general question to a discussion list; otherwise,
the information may not address your needs. There's a short
bibliography on this novel available at the following address
|Edith Wharton and Italy.
I'm an Italian student.I'm studying languages at university, I'd
like to write my graduation thesis on Edith Wharton and her success
in Italy. I'm especially interested in critical comments or conferences
about this subject. I'm also interested in finding material concerning
E.Wharton and Italy in general. I thank right now all the people
that want to help me.
Thank you. daniela
Reviews on Ethan Frome
QUESTION: I really need some help. I just read the book Ethan
Frome and it was a great book but now I am a little stuck.
I have to write a 5 page summary/review of the book using critical
reviews from PHD's online but I can not find even one. If anyone
can help please email me and your help is needed greatly. Thanx
|There probably won't be critical reviews online from Ph.D.'s in
most disciplines, because most college and university professors
in the humanities publish their work in print journals. Unlike
most web pages, each article that's published in a journal has to
go through a process called "peer review" in which other scholars
read the work and decide whether it is worth publishing or not. Although
scholars are not paid for the publication of their work in academic
journals, their reputations depend on having their work reviewed
by their peers, and most Wharton scholars, at least, would be reluctant
to put their work on the web until it has appeared in print. Some
scholars do put their work on the web after it has been published.
Although there are some peer-reviewed journals on the web, general essays
on the web (at least in American literature) are usually not yet as highly
regarded as those that appear in print, though there are exceptions.
If a web journal is peer-reviewed, it will say so, and it will probably
charge a fee.
Some sources on the web do reprint articles from reputable journals,
however. If you are a college or university student and your library
subscribes to UnCover, Expanded Academic Index, ProQuest, Project
Muse, or another such service, you will be able to find the articles
If you are not affiliated with a college or university, you can also
do a search at a commercial site such as www.northernlight.com,
which provides articles from reputable journals like Studies in American
Fiction for prices ranging from $1 to $4 apiece. Northernlight
has several articles on Edith Wharton available, although I don't recall
whether those are on Ethan Frome.
--D. Campbell 11/2/00
and Social Climbing in The Custom of the Country
QUESTION: I have an essay to do on The Custom of the Country.The subject
is:"conformism and social climbing" or in French:"conformisme et arrivisme".Can
you help me?
Hi,my name is Lyace and I'm studying English in France.This year The
Custom of the Country is on the syllabus,and I have an essay to do on "conformism
and social climbing" (or in French "conformisme et arrivisme").I have
found many sources but the problem is that I can't find a good plan (we're
not allowed to write one part on conformism and another one on social
climbing).Could you help me please?
Thank you very much!!
|Your teacher will be the best source for finding out how the paper
be structured. One way might be to look at how "conformism" is related
social climbing: must one conform in order to succeed at social
climbing? You might look at specific instances of this in the text.
and the Theme of Money
QUESTION: I'm writing a short paper on the underlying theme
of money that appears in many of Wharton's works. I will be focusing
especially on how her work can be viewed as an allegory for the
economic change around the country that led to the market crash
in '29. I'd love if anyone could point me in the direction
of criticisms that address money in her novels, especially Custom
of the Country, Old New York, Glimpses of the Moon, or the House
Thanks so much!
|Many of the books on Wharton address this issue. There is
a short bibliography of works derived from the MLA Bibliography on
this issue at
of Mirth: Did the Serial have the Same Title?
QUESTION: I am having trouble reconciling the chronology of Wayne Westerbrook's "HoM
and the Insurance Scandal of 1905" (Am.Notes&Q,May 76, p. 134-7) with
HoM publishing history. Westerbrook argues that EW availed herself
of the topicality of the phrase "House of Mirth" from the 1905 scandal,
which he dates early in that year, HoM appearing in book form later.
However, HoM appeared in Scribner's Mag. beginning in January, 1905,
did it not? Was it not titled House of Mirth then? If so,
then Westerbrook has the cart before the horse.
Elucidation would be much appreciated.
My paper, by the way, is on gambling in HoM.
|You're right--The House of Mirth began its serial run in Scribner's in
January 1905, and it was called The House of Mirth. Wharton
had not yet finished writing the book (Benstock 149), but this was
the experience that she said later taught her the value of the "discipline
of the daily task" and turned her into a professional writer.
Although the work had had different working titles, most famously "A
Moment's Ornament," the current title was already in use in 1905.
Note: If readers of this page know the date at which EW changed her title
from "A Moment's Ornament" to the current one (which, as many have
noted, is from Ecclesiastes 7:4: "The heart of the wise is in the house
of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth."), please add
that information to this page.
|Custom of the Country Topics
QUESTION: I'd like some information about the following topics:
- the market
- the deal
- the deal
- the marriage
- the mirror
- the excess
- the social classes
in "The Custom Of The Country" Edith wharton
|Information on these topics is available in the articles listed
in the bibliography on The Custom of the Country at
Other readers of this page may respond with more specific suggestions;
if you would like to reply, please add
your information to this page.
of Wharton Quotation on Woman's Nature and Rooms
QUESTION: I cannot seem to find the entire quote by Edith Wharton referring
to the "rooms" of a woman's personality. All I can remember is the
ending of the quote: "...and in the innermost room...the holiest of holies...the
soul sits alone and waits for the footsteps that never come."
Does anyone know what this is from -- short story? novel? comment to a
-- and where I can find it? (12/1/00)
|This is from "The Fulness of Life" (part II) (December 1893) and
is available online in the Early
Stories of Edith Wharton, vol. 2. In the story, a woman dies
and reflects on her marriage as she talks about her life with the
Spirit of Life. Here is the relevant passage from the story:
"You have hit upon the exact word; I was fond of him, yes, just as I
was fond of my grandmother, and the house that I was born in, and my
old nurse. Oh, I was fond of him, and we were counted a very happy
couple. But I have sometimes thought that a woman's nature is like
a great house full of rooms: there is the hall, through which everyone
passes in going in and out; the drawing- room, where one receives formal
visits; the sitting-room, where the members of the family come and go
as they list; but beyond that, far beyond, are other rooms, the handles
of whose doors perhaps are never turned; no one knows the way to them,
no one knows whither they lead; and in the innermost room, the holy of
holies, the soul sits alone and waits for a footstep that never comes."
"And your husband," asked the Spirit, after a pause, "never got beyond
the family sitting-room?"
"Never," she returned, impatiently; "and the worst of it was that he
was quite content to remain there. He thought it perfectly beautiful,
and sometimes, when he was admiring its commonplace furniture, insignificant
as the chairs and tables of a hotel parlor, I felt like crying out to
him: 'Fool, will you never guess that close at hand are rooms full of
treasures and wonders, such as the eye of man hath not seen, rooms that
no step has crossed, but that might be yours to live in, could you but
find the handle of the door?'"
This version of the Early Short Stories (volumes 1 & 2) are newly available
at the Wharton Society Site, so in the future, a search of the site for
certain phrases should turn up the right quotation.
D. Campbell, 12/2/00