Student Queries: 2004

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Student Queries 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000  

How to cite this page Submit a question or reply
Summer and Place Autobiographical Novel
Ethan Frome and Failure French Ways and Their Meaning
Help with paper on Edith Wharton Richardson's Clarissa
"The Angel at the Grave" and Mythology The Age of Innocence: Good criticism on the novel?
Thesis on Summer "Pomegranate Seed" and "The Muse's Tragedy"
Smoking in The House of Mirth Wharton's eyes (what color?)
Angelica du Lac Motives for writing Ethan Frome
General information on Wharton Wharton's Education
Life and works  

"Roman Fever"--date of composition?

QUESTION: When,exactly,was ROMAN FEVER written? Mary Filliol


R. W. B. Lewis has this to say in Edith Wharton: "'Roman Fever,' the one happy aftereffect of the sickness that ruined Edith Wharton's visit to Rome in 1934, is another instance of backward glancing" (523). According to Shari Benstock, "Roman Fever" appeared in Liberty magazine in November 1934. EW received $3,000 for it.

D. Campbell, 6/19/05

What makes Ethan Frome a classic?

QUESTION: I am a ninth grade student and I am writing a paper on Ethan Frome.  I like the book very much, but I need to know what makes this book a classic.  Or some information on where to find this.  Thanks Whitney Kennedy


Ethan Frome and Failure

I am writing a research paper in Ethan Frome and i am discussing failure: Ethan's failure to marry the right woman, stand up to his wife, etc. I need to have literary criticisms and or articles backing up my ideas. I am have a horrendous time doing so. Any help is overly appreciated. Emily Tolzien


Some of the recommended works on Ethan Frome may help you. see these pages:

Student Queries 2002
Discussion Questions

Help with paper on Edith Wharton

My advanced English class is writing an essay on Edith Wharton and her accomplishments. If anyone has any suggestions or advice, please e-mail me! God bless!Morgan, 6/29/04

"The Angel at the Grave" and Mythology

QUESTION: In a class that I am taking we read, "The Angel at the Grave" and we thought that it may have had a link to Greek mythology in a way.  I was wondering if there was a link to this for sure, and if so what it is?  We thought that there could be a link through Orestes, Olympians-Jove, Oracle, Pantheon (Greek & Roman), Antigone, Elecra & Iphagania, Labyrinth, etc. Amber Forsythe 6/26/04

Thesis on Summer
QUESTION: Dear reader,
I'd like to make my thesis on Summer.Would you be so kind to help about it.Thx a lot.
Can you be more specific about the kind of help you would like? You are most likely to receive a response if you can show that you've already done some research and you have a specific question.

Autobiographical Novel?

QUESTION: Which of Edith Wharton's novels is considered her most autobiographical?

Rebekah Fowler 6-4-04

In "Edith Wharton: A Brief Biography," included in A Historical Guide to Edith Wharton, ed. Carol J. Singley, Shari Benstock writes, "Her novel The Reef (1912) treats the complexities of family and romantic loyalties. This is her most intellectual novel and one of two works in which she constructs a heroine most like herself (the other is Ellen Olenska in The Age of Innocence)" (37).

D. Campbell, 6/19/05

French Ways and Their Meaning

QUESTION: I'm writing a paper looking at the autobiographical details revealed in Wharton's commentary and judgments in "French Ways and their Meaning."  I'd welcome any comments, insights, and suggestions!

Thank you very much! 5-15-04
Richardson's Clarissa

QUESTION: I would like to know whether anyone has written on the possible connections between The House of Mirth and Samuel Richardson's Clarissa.

It is not just that Richardson quotes Ecclesiastes 7 in his long postscript to the 3rd edition of the novel (1751), but rather that his ideas on tragedy, the lack of culpability of his heroine and his defence of her fate all seem equally appropriate to Lily Bart. I know she uses the name Clarissa in Glimpses of the Moon.
Martin Regal 5-15-04
The Age of Innocence: Good criticism on the novel?

QUESTION: My name is Kayla Galbraith and I am currently enrolled in my high school's AP Literature course and for my senior paper, I am required to compile a literary critique on my novel of choice.  I chose The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton.  As a high school student there isn't a large selection of literary criticisms to choose from in my high school's library, and frankly I have no idea where to begin to find any of worth.  I plan to start at the local college library, but am wondering if there are any particular authors I should look out for.

Thank you for your time.  5/15/04

A good place to start would be the essays collected with these editions of the novel; they will introduce you to the critics and concepts:

Nowlin, Michael, ed. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. Broadview Press, 2002.

Singley, Carol, ed. The Age of Innocence: Complete Text With Introduction Historical Contexts, Critical Essays New York: Riverside, 2000.

Waid, Candace, ed. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. Norton Critical Edition. New York: Norton, 2003.

See also Linda Wagner-Martin's Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence: A Novel of Ironic Nostalgia (Twayne, 1996).

All of these are available through online booksellers, and some will also be available in general libraries.


"Pomegranate Seed" and "The Muse's Tragedy"

QUESTION: I'm doing research on Edtith Wharton for a paper in english class. My thesis is the denial of both men and women when looking at there parnters past realtionships based off two of her short short stories "the Muse's Tragedgy" and "Promegranate Seed" i'm having trouble on where to look for solid information for my paper. Any sugestions?

Kati 4-9-04

Smoking in The House of Mirth

QUESTION: Can anyone explain cigarettes and smoking as a symbol in The House of Mirth? Are there any other symbols besides money? Thanks!

Charlene Leverette 3-30-04

Wharton's eyes (what color?)

QUESTION: Hello, I am a middle school student working on a project called "Eminent Americans". For this project I am supposed to "become" Edith Wharton, but first it is required for me to learn as much personal information as possible. I have been able to find most required information, however I have been unable to find, regardless of where I search, for Edith Wharton's eye color and her favorite color. It would be most appreciated if someone could provide me this information.

Thank You,
Lianne Louie

Edith Wharton had reddish hair and brown or light brown eyes, according to her biographers.

Angelica du Lac

I am an MA student in Tel-Aviv university. My thesis deals with the use of art in "The House of Mirth", "The Age of Innocence" and the short story "The Daunt Diana".

Can you recommend on relevant bibliographical items?

Furthermore, I have encountered in "The Age of Innocence" a painting which is called "Angelica du lac" by Gainsborough which I couldn't find anywhere. I don't know if this painting even exits.

Thank you for your help.

einat segev 2/29/04

There is a general bibliography on The House of Mirth that may be helpful, but if readers of the site would send specific suggestions, they'll be posted.

About the Gainsborough painting: Update 6/29/04: According to Candace Waid's edition of the work (see above), this is "a fictitious portrait" (33, n. 1).

Motives for writing Ethan Frome

QUESTION: What, if any, was Edith Wharton's person motives for writing Ethan Frome? What are the intertwined themes between Frome's New England farm, and her own life?karen wesala


If you read the preface that Edith Wharton wrote to the 1922 edition of Ethan Frome, you will find Wharton's explanation for why she wrote the novel. Her biographers (Lewis, Wolff, Benstock, Dwight, etc.) discuss the connections between Ethan's plight and Wharton's own unhappy marriage.

General information on Wharton

QUESTION: I am an italian student, my name is Amore Nadia. I am preparing my thesis on Edith Wharton and her novel "The house of mirth" so I need more material about her. Can you give me some indication about any library where I could find more material about her? If you have information please contact me at this address:
Thank you


Wharton's Education

Dear Edith Wharton Society homepage,
It has come to my attention that I have not recalled any information about Wharton's educational life. Was there any education involved? Or did her mother pay for the publications for her books?
Who is theauthor of this page? I need it for research if it is possible.


You can find information about Wharton's education in her autobiography A Backward Glance and also in these biographies:

Bell, Millicent. Edith Wharton and Henry James: A Story of their Friendship. New York: Peter Olsen, 1965.
Benstock, Shari. No Gifts From Chance: A Biography of Edith Wharton. New York: Scribner's, 1994.
Dwight, Eleanor. Edith Wharton, An Extraordinary Life: An Illustrated Biography.
Lewis, R.W.B., and Nancy Lewis, eds. The Letters of Edith Wharton. New York: Scribners, 1989.
Lewis, R.W.B.Edith Wharton: A Biography. New York: Harper & Row, 1975. Still the basically wonderfully researched and elegantly written life.
Wolff, Cynthia Griffin. A Feast of Words: The Triumph of Edith Wharton. New York: Addison-Wesley, 1977, 1995.
Wright, Sarah Bird.Edith Wharton A to Z: The Essential Guide to the Life and Work. New York: Facts on File, 1998.

Most items at the EWS site are signed; if they are not signed, the work is that of the site author (Donna Campbell).

Life and works

QUESTION: to what extent did Whartons life and background influence her major works.esp, 'The Age Of Innocence'

jennifer, 1/29/04


Summer and place

QUESTION: In my English class we just began out research paper on "Summer," by Edith Wharton. I have chose the topic of the importance of places (such as the mountain, Lawyer Royall's house). I would be much obliged if i could be provided with websites presenting information on this topic. Thanks! Alexandra DiGiorgio 2/1/04