Friday, April 14, 2006

Buccaneers Miniseries now on DVD

Buccaneers Miniseries now on DVD

`The Buccaneers' miniseries gets better with age
By R.D. Heldenfels
Akron Beacon Journal

DVD pick of week: When The Buccaneers aired on Masterpiece Theatre in 1995, I called it "a wonderful story of money and class, romantic love and marriages of convenience, of England and the United States."

More than a decade later, the DVD (BBC Video, five parts on one two-sided disc, $14.98) found me liking it even more.

Based on an unfinished Edith Wharton novel, the miniseries involved young women trying to succeed in London society after failing to make a dent in America's upper crust.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

New Queries (Jan-April 2006)


"Beatrice Palmato" criticism

I am currently researching my Masters dissertation on Edith Wharton particularly representations of art, money and gender/sexuality in The House of Mirth and The Custom of the Country. I am hoping to draw in the extract "Beatrice Palmato" but am struggling to find any criticism on the text that focusses on the explicit sexuality without recourse to the incestuous nature of it. The only article I can find is Reinaldo Francisco Silva's "Eroticizing the Other in Edith Wharton's "Beatrice Palmato"", can anyone recommend anything else, or even another example of such extraordinary explicitness on the part of Wharton? Thanks for your help.

Kate Ashton,


Wharton's WWI essays

Edith Wharton's WWI essays. I will appreciate help locating any of the essays she wrote about/during the war.

Thanks, Beverly Simpson


REPLY: Regarding Wharton's World War I essays: those she published in Scribner's Magazine were collected in the volume _Fighting France_. (This is out of print but can probably be obtained through Interlibrary Loan.) She wrote many other articles as well, some of which are collected in Appendix B of my 2004 book, _Edith Wharton's Writings from the Great War_ (University Press of Florida).

--Julie Olin-Ammentorp, 4/7/06


Real-life Undine Spragg?

Among the many candidates who might be possible real-life sources/inspirations/models for the figure of Undine Spragg in The Custom of the Country, has Ethel Tree Beatty ever been suggested?

She was the ambitious, rich and American-born wife of the English WWI Admiral Sir David Beatty. To marry Beatty, she abandoned claim to her son by her first husband. When he died some years later, she had a messenger inform her son (then at his father's bedside) that after the death he would need to come with her. She also had to pull strings to be received at the Royal Court, because the divorced were generally not received by the monarch.

She had two children during her marriage with Beatty, one of whom was generally known not to have been Sir David's.

There are other details in her life that suggest her as a model for Undine.

As a longtime Wharton reader and admirer, I would appreciate any guidance.

Douglas Haneline, 3/21/06


Theatre Adaptations of Wharton's Works

Hello - I'm looking for any recommendations for theatre adaptations of Wharton's novels. We're a new London-based company looking specifically for adaptations of female writers' work. If anyone has any recommendations, I would love to hear them, particularly if they have yet to be produced in the UK. Louise

REPLY: The Mint Theater Company in New York has put on several adaptations of Wharton's works and might have suggestions.

If readers have other suggestions, please send them to the site.

**Update 3/24/06****

Regarding Louise Hill's inquiry about theater adaptations of Wharton novels: Mint Theater Company in New York has published the dramatization of The House of Mirth that Wharton wrote herself in 1906, along with playwright Clyde Fitch. The Mint text revises the play somewhat using material from the novel. Mint also has a copy of the Margaret Ayer Barnes' 1928 dramatization of The Age of Innocence. For more information please contact Mint Artistic Director Jonathan Bank:
Edith Wharton--travel to San Francisco?

Did Edith Wharton ever visit San Francisco?

Deborah Doyle 3/9/06


Wharton's family--New York?

Can you tell me if Edith Wharton's family originated in New York City society and if the family name is related to the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. I know from my own New Jersey family that many of the old names came from one root. I am thinking of Vanevar Bush and George Bush both also from Massachusetts history. Thank you for you reply.

Carolyn Gill 3/5/06

People resembling their houses

In a memoir, A Place in the Country, by Laura Shaine Cunningham, she writes that Wharton wrote that people became their houses, even looked like them. Cunningham, of course, gives no citation. Does this ring true with you and do you have any ideas as to where I might find this thought. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Judith Church Tydings
jtydings at xecu dot net



Edith Wharton's dogs

I'm the author of a series of books for young people about Impressionist painters and their circle ("Charlotte in Giverny," "Charlotte in Paris," "Charlotte in New York") published by Chronicle Books. Now Charlotte is off to Italy where she meets Edith Wharton. Charlotte loves dogs and has a Brussels Griffon named Toby. I'd like to know more about Edith Wharton and her dogs. Did she have any breeds other than Papillons? What are some of the names she gave her dogs? Many thanks! Joan Knight

Joan M. Knight 2-10-06

Scarcity of French Ways and their Meaning

Can you inform me as to the scarcity of dust jacketed copies of the first UK edition of 'French Ways and their Meaning' London,1919?

Used book sites on the internet all seem not to have seen a dust jacketed copy of "French Ways and their Meaning". Is it really that scarce?
B Benneworth 2-10-06

Berkshire Evening Eagle Article on Sledding Accident (Ethan Frome)

I'm about to begin a unit on Ethan Frome and I found a reference to a March 12, 1904 article in the Berkshire Evening Eagle about a fatal coasting accident that may have served as inspiration for the accident in Ethan Frome. Would the Society have such an article, and if so, how may I attain a copy? Thank you.
P.S. The reference to the article is in The Glencoe Literature Library Study Guide for Ethan Frome.
Thomas Ross
Language Arts Department
Danbury High School, Danbury, Conn.

REPLY: We don't have this available on the Wharton Society site, but it can be found in a widely used edition of Ethan Frome: Kristin O. Lauer and Cynthia Griffin Wolff's Ethan Frome (Norton Critical Edition), published by W. W. Norton in 1995, pages 86-90.

--D. Campbell


REPLY: The Berkshire Evening Eagle article on the sledding accident is also included as an appendix to the Penguin Classics edition of ETHAN FROME--or at least it used to be (I haven't seen the most recent re-printing).

-- F. Wegener 2-8-06

Countess Olenska: Part of the Money Plot?

I have been trying to research Countess Olenska's contribution to the triangle in "Age of Innocence", but no reviewers or discussions on the internet ever concede that she may have been part of the plot to get the money from the grandmother to return to Europe and live their "on her terms".
Can you recommend a website where I can pursue this?

jeanne haigis pedler 1/23/06


New Student Queries


Specific request for criticism

I'm writing a research paper on Edith Wharton's novels The Age of Innocence and Ethan Frome. My idea is to compare the two and how she used the basic plot of a dissatisfied man (Ethan and Archer) having a restraint on his desired (Mattie and Ellen) and how the wife (Zeena and May) interfere with the desire and how they remain "faithful" to their wives because of society/appearance. My only problem: I NEED VALUABLE AUTHORED RESEARCH! I have found research on Wharton, just nothing that could help back me up on my topic. If anyone could supply some websites (please no books) with this type of info immediately, it'd be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

Oh, and places you need to pay for research (like Questia) won't really help.

ANSWER: It's unlikely that you will find any of this on a web site; "valuable authored research" such as books and journals are found in libraries, and subscription databases of published criticism are not free.
Name of this Wharton story?

does anyone know the name of a short story that takes place on a cruise ship. There are two women, one of whom has a beautiful daughter. The story ends with a twist: the revelation that the daughter is the child of the other woman's husband, or something like that. THANKS.

ANSWER: This is the plot of "Roman Fever," although it takes place in Rome and not on a cruise ship.

Age of Innocence: Irony?

can you help me find the greatest irony in the age of innocence?


i cant come up with a good thesis statement for the irony in the age of innocence, can you help?


Help with deciding topic for M.A. thesis

I am a master student and I wanna write a thesis on edith wharton's short stories. I read some of the stories & I found out that I cannot generalise the subject since each story deals with different subject matters. can you help me to narrow my topic about the stories? a title is necessary for me including all stories urgently. Ihave two weeks to submit my subject to the instructor. banu aldım


ANSWER:Since the purpose of a thesis is to demonstrate your knowledge and mastery of the subject, only you and your advisor would know the answer to this. Think about these questions:

1. Do you see particular themes, characters, settings, or motifs appearing in several stories?

2. How do these elements differ from story to story?

Age of Innocence

what was the doubled standars in the Age of Innocence?
ANSWER: The idea of a "double standard" usually refers to different standards of sexual morality or purity being applied to men as opposed to the higher standards imposed on women. Can you see where these might exist in The Age of Innocence?

Manuscript of Summer

Are there any manuscripts of Summer preserved? Charity


ANSWER:A good place to look would be the Finding Aid at the Beinecke Library, available from the Research Resources page at this site.

According to that, the manuscript of Summer is there.

Movie of "Roman Fever"
Years ago I have seen a movie made after Edith Wharton's Roman Fever. I cannot manage to get hold of it. Do you have any info which coul dbe of some help ?

Many thanks for your help. JMJacqueline de Matignon

ANSWER: The Filmography doesn't list one, but if anyone has more information about this, please let us know.

Age of Innocence: Europe vs. New York

I have a topic to discuss about edith wharton's "the age of innocence": europe vs new york ".could you help me?or at least give me a key?

adou 2/20/06


I picked the book Sanctuary by Edith Wharton, and am having trouble finding much on it for my report. Do you have any siggestions for where I can find criticisms?

Alex 2-8-06

Summer: A Feminist Novel?

Question: Do you consider Edith Wharton's "Summer" to be a feminist book? If so why?

Jessica Roberts 2/8/06

"Souls Belated": 3rd person omniscient?

Is "Souls Belated" in the 3rd person limited or the 3rd person omniscient? Thank you.

Marsha McPherson 1-28-06

Scholars on "Xingu"

I would like to know if there are any scholars who have written on "Xingu."

N. 1-23-06