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Friday, April 08, 2005
The Fatherless Children of France Exhibit (Wharton items at Holy Cross)

Currently on display on the second floor of Dinand Library, The Fatherless Children of France: “Their Book” exhibit is a rare event. Given to the College by Mrs. David Johnson in 1953, the collection was a gift in memory of her husband, who from 1891-1893 attended the Holy Cross Preparatory School, which was affiliated with the College until 1909. The collection contains autographed messages, manuscripts, photographs and artwork from the greatest political and military leaders, writers and artists of the World War I era. The items were originally assembled for a fund-raising auction to benefit the Fatherless Children of France Society, an organization founded in 1915 by American women to help French war orphans.

The auction items range from autographed poems by Robert Frost and Edith Wharton, to a 1918 autographed musical score for “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” by John Phillips Sousa . . .
Sunday, March 27, 2005
From The Age (Australia):

To maintain the rigid status quo of high society New York, sacrifices must be made and rebellion punished. By Avril Moore.

The EROTICISM represented by the perpetually blooming red flowers overlaying the lace and perfect copperplate in the title sequence of The Age of Innocence conveys the film's main theme: old-world values colliding with the new.

And yet if May Welland epitomises the strict adherence of the New York aristocracy to what was socially acceptable for the time, then the irony of the title cannot be lost.

For here, as in the novel by Edith Wharton from which the film is faithfully derived, is a world where the intransigent preservation of wealth and power is paramount, and any whiff of individualism must be sacrificed, if not eradicated.

This tension, or outright hostility, exists beneath a brittle veneer of impeccable manners, taste and morality - a harmony shattered by a whisper and a subterfuge so sophisticated that it warrants decoding by an arch, third-person narrator.

Screenwriter and director Martin Scorsese said the narrator was a "tricky" character. The narrator "presents the story in this way to teach us a lesson".

"I love the idea of the female voice setting us up for a fall. You get to trust her, and then she does you in, just like he (Newland Archer) gets done in," he said. [. . . ]
Saturday, March 12, 2005
The New York Times Magazine
March 13, 2005
Interview with Meireille Guiliano (by Edward Lewine, p. 28-29)

"Best book she read recently:

It is called, "True Pleasures: A Memoir of women in Paris. Actually, it was written by an Australian named Lucinda Holdforth. I connect to it because she talks about great women in Paris like Colette, Edith Wharton, Gertrude Stein, but also because she visits the neighborhood where I live there."
--Submitted by Deborah Hecht
Thursday, January 27, 2005
Wharton Materials in World Renowned Literary Archive Secured For Scotland

The most important literary archive to have become publicly available in the last 100 years is on its way to Scotland thanks to a multi-million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The HLF has agreed to give £17.7 million towards the purchase of the John Murray Archive which will allow the National Library of Scotland (NLS) to complete the sale.

The John Murray Archive contains private letters, manuscripts and other correspondence from Jane Austen, Lord Byron, Sir Walter Scott, Benjamin Disraeli, Herman Melville, Charles Darwin, David Livingstone, Thomas Carlyle, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Edith Wharton, among others. It has been independently valued at £45 million but has been offered for sale to NLS at a reduced price of £31.2 million in order to keep the collection in the United Kingdom.
Sunday, January 16, 2005
From The Scotsman:

The naked truth

FROM HER DESK IN AN OAK-PANELLED room in New York Public Library, Hermione Lee can see the tattered remains of the splendid building on the corner of Fifth Avenue and East 42nd Street where the aristocratic, 17-year-old Edith Wharton had her coming-out party.

This being New York, of course, a new building is currently going up on the site, but Lee, a distinguished critic and award-winning biographer, is relishing living in the middle of the childhood landscape of the American novelist, who is the subject of her next biography - previous subjects include Virginia Woolf, Elizabeth Bowen and Willa Cather - which she is writing in the city while on a year’s unpaid leave from Oxford University, where she is a Fellow of New College.

. . . . .
While in New York she has turned down countless requests to lecture at American universities, although she has lectured at Princeton and the university’s press will publish a selection of her Body Parts essays under the title Virginia Woolf’s Nose. Edith Wharton and her body of work are, however, all-consuming. "I’m drawn to women writers who don’t have children and are rather self-concealing. I can’t think why. Although I don’t have children I do have five step-grandchildren and I’m very open about my own life."

Interview over, we repair for drinks to the Century Club on West 43rd Street, one of those imposing New York literary institutions where the members look so venerable that they might have been guests at Wharton’s coming-out ball. Indeed, whispers Lee, her eyes bright with mischief behind her spectacles, you almost expect a rather grand Edith Wharton and Henry James to walk in and begin conversing by the blazing log fire.

We both giggle - ever so quietly - at the thought. "There are times when Edith makes me laugh, so I have to ironise her," Lee says, draining her whisky glass. "She was so bossy sometimes. Although I do admire her tremendously: she was awesome, as they say here. Nevertheless, thank goodness I only write about dead people."
Saturday, January 15, 2005
Ripe Time celebrates the 100th anniversary of Edith Wharton's heartbreaking novel The House of Mirth with a NEW stage adaptation INNOCENTS

New York, New York December 1, 2004‹ Ripe Time presents the World Premiere of Innocents, directed by Rachel Dickstein, adapted from Edith Wharton's novel The House of Mirth by Rachel Dickstein with Emily Morse. Innocents previews on Saturday, January 8 for a limited engagement through Saturday, February 5. Opening Night is Monday, January 10 at 8:00 PM. The performance schedule is Monday, Thursday - Saturday at 8:00 PM; Sunday at 7:00 PM, with an additional performance on Wednesday, February 2 at 8:00 PM. Performances take place at the Ohio Theater (66 Wooster Street, between Spring and Broome Streets, in SoHo). For tickets, which are $20, the general public can call SmartTix at 212-868-4444 or visit www.smarttix.com. For more information on the production, visit www.ripetime.org.

Ripe Time is hosting a Panel Discussion on Sunday, January 23rd at 4:00 PM entitled "Gender, Privilege and Power: Staging the House of Mirth in the Age of Martha Stewart." The panel will be moderated by Prof. Rachel Brownstein of Brooklyn College/CUNY Graduate Center and will also take place at the Ohio Theatre. The Panel is FREE and open to the public. Reservations can be made by calling 718-622-3650.

Innocents is a timely tale of glamour, jealousy, ambition and betrayal set against a background of wealth and social hypocrisy in turn of the century New York. Penniless but well connected, Lily Bart navigates her precarious station among New York's upper class balancing her will for independence, the societal push for marriage and own her financial instability. Her search for wealth and power turns tragic when her one-time friends seek revenge on her success through a web of deception and lies. . . .
Thursday, January 13, 2005
From the New York Times (free registration required)

The Hazards of Fortune in the Age of Innocence

Published: January 13, 2005

Paula McGonagle stars as Lily Bart in "Innocents."

Even before "Innocents," the Ripe Time company's evocative interpretation of Edith Wharton's "House of Mirth," begins, the stage is set for a series of extended tableaux vivants.

Ensemble members in Victorian dress appear in the theater lobby, engaging in spirited banter. The audience files into the Ohio Theater across the stage itself, where a solitary young woman stands in a shaft of light, reading a book. The same tall, narrow door through which the audience has entered reveals the glimpse of a party in full swing, framed against a vivid red backdrop. This painterly pre-show image, held for a number of minutes, instantly establishes Lily Bart (Paula McGonagle) as both the antiheroine and ultimate outsider in Rachel Dickstein's impressionistic rendering of the literary classic. . . .


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