Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Recent queries at the Wharton Society Site

Here are some recent unanswered queries received at the Wharton Society site. If you have some answers, please sent your replies to whartonqueries at and I'll post them. --Donna Campbell

Ethan Frome: what happened after his mother's death?

Ethan Frome is presented for the defense, a man on the way to adultery with a dependent in his own home but not yet completely conscious of his desires and not yet planning to carry them out. His wife believe something that has not occurred Therefore we should excuse and pity him.
Does no reader see that in the quarrel near the end of the story Zeena says "my family said at the time that you could do no less than marry me after---"
Ethan is horrified as though both had decided never to mention what had taken place after his mother's death. He retreats into dreams because he does not want his mistake to be repeated. What do you readers think?



PBS adaptation of a Wharton story?

Several years ago, PBS ran what I believe was a one-part Masterpiece Theatre based on a Wharton story about a young rural girl whose boyfriend was killed in an industrial accident. He left her money to pursue her musical studies, and she went to Paris to study piano. However, her teacher recommended she switch from piano to voice, and she eventually becomes a major American opera singer.

Can you tell me the title of that short story and if it is available on DVD?

Steffan Aletti
sbaletti at 12/22/07

The Reef: Unexpected Obstacle? I’ve just read The Reef and I have a question: What is the “unexpected obstacle” that Anna telegraphs Darrow about at the beginning of the novel? The reader is never given a clue. Is incest an unheralded subplot of this novel, or is the telegram just an obvious plot device to get Darrow and Sophy Viner together? The scene with Anna and Owen before Darrow arrives seems innocuous, but I wonder if there was something going on between them. And at the end, when Anna bids a tearful goodbye to Owen, is there more to it than the fact that Sophy is out of Owen’s life?

Brian Kelly 11/10/07

"The Valley of Childish Things"

Could you please tell me where and when The Valley of Childish things was published?


Allyson Bird.

Hudson River Bracketed

i am teacher in litterature. i am preparing a course on edith wharton 's books " hudson river bracketed" and " the gods arrive". i am looking for papers and comtemporary rewiews about these two books in order to make a bibliography, can you tell where i can find them on your website or anywhere else on the web?

thanks for your help
christel Manrique
litterature teacher 9/29/07


I work in the education department at the Ponce Art Museum. Right now we are involved in a project sponsored by the NEA, The Big Read.For this project the Museum chose The Age of Innocence. I would like to know if the Ferrigiani mentioned by Old Mrs. Mingott ,who modelled her hands in Rome really existed. If so, can you tell me were to find information about him? I would be very grateful for your assistance in this matter.
Ana E.Bauza 9/29/07

Edith Wharton: A Portrait by Augustus M. Gerdes?

I am working with a collector who has what may be an early painting of Edith Wharton by Augustus M. Gerdes, a friend of Morton Fullerton. Mr. Gerdes was a painter who studied in Paris and would have had the financial background to be in the circle of artists, writers and other collectors. His lifelong passion was art and collecting. Descendants of his family have felt for years that there may have been more than a friendship between Mrs. Wharton and Mr. Gerdes. Do you or any of your members have any information on Augustus M. Gerdes and Edith Wharton? Thank you for your assistance in this matter and I have no problems with my name and email being posted.

John Coker 6/21/07


Age of Innocence on TCM December 28, 2007

The 1934 adaptation of Wharton's The Age of Innocence will be shown on Turner Classic Movies at 6:30 a.m. ET (3:30 a.m. PT) on December 28, 2007. This film is not available on VHS or DVD, so its periodic showings on TCM are the only way to see it.


Wharton sessions at MLA 2007


dith Wharton Sessions at MLA 2007

Saturday, 29 December

513. Beyond Pro- or Anti-: Toward the Politics of Race in Edith Wharton’s Fiction

1:45–3:00 p.m., Grand Suite 2, Hyatt Regency

Program arranged by the Edith Wharton Society

Presiding: Meredith Lynn Goldsmith, Ursinus Coll.

1. “Reading the ‘Sojourn in Exotic Lands’: Edith Wharton’s ‘Xingu,’” Laura Anne Lomas, Rutgers Univ., Newark

2. “‘Constitutional Restlessness’: The Ambiguity of Race in The Custom of the Country,” John Bruni, Colorado School of Mines

3. “The Age of Innocence and Reconstruction-Postreconstruction Contexts,” Jonathan Hayes, Univ. of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh

Sunday, 30 December

745. Edith Wharton and Illness, Followed by Business Meeting

1:45–3:00 p.m., San Francisco, Hyatt Regency

Program arranged by the Edith Wharton Society

Presiding: Hildegard Maria Hoeller, Coll. of Staten Island, City Univ. of New York

1. “Standing Tall or Lying Still: The Impact of Spinal Impairment on Individual Subjectivity in Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome and The Fruit of the Tree,” Cyndy Hall, Univ. of California, Riverside

2. “Circulatory Disorders in The Custom of the Country,” Caroline Guény, Université de Paris 3, Sorbonne Nouvelle

3. “Wandering Women and the Dangers of Contagion in Edith Wharton’s The Old Maid and ‘Roman Fever,’” Lisa L. Tyler, Sinclair Community Coll., OH

Respondent: Hildegard Maria Hoeller