Edith Wharton at 150

Today is the 150th birthday of one of the most renowned authors in American literary history, Edith Wharton.

Wharton’s work ranged from famous novels such as The House of Mirth, The Age of Innocence, The Custom of the Country and Ethan Frome, to travel writing, autobiography, writing on interior design, and even ghost stories.

The Library owns Wharton’s works and many works of criticism discussing her writing, as well as biographies by R.W.B. Lewis, Hermione Lee, and Shari Benstock. We also collect the Edith Wharton Review, a scholarly journal dedicated to Wharton’s work, and the Undergraduate Library media collection houses adaptations of Wharton’s novels including Martin Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence and Terence Davies’s The House of Mirth.

The Edith Wharton Chronology, created by the Edith Wharton Society, provides a detailed chronology of her life alongside a list of her writings, useful for learning the real-life sources of some of her works (for example, a 1904 sledding accident in Massachusetts provided inspiration for Ethan Frome).

For background information discussing the milieu of Wharton’s work, America’s Historical Newspapers and ProQuest Historical Newspapers offer valuable opportunities to look at primary sources related to Wharton – not only the many short stories, poems and other articles she wrote for various newspapers around the turn of the century and after, but also articles dealing with Wharton as a contemporary (such as real estate listings!).

Cornell University Library’s Making of America is another useful resource for accessing primary sources, such as the original serializations of Wharton’s works in magazines like Scribner’s and Harper’s before they were printed in book form.

The Mount Estate & Gardens also points to items of interest regarding Edith Wharton, including a list of 150th-birthday events to take place nationwide and an index of recent media references to Wharton and her work.

Collections of Wharton’s personal documents and manuscripts in libraries include the Edith Wharton Collection at Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and the Edith Wharton Papers at Indiana University’s Lilly Library.

The Edith Wharton Society includes further resources, such as a news blog, a bibliography of recommended reading, and the WHARTON-L e-mail discussion list.

One thought on “Edith Wharton at 150

  1. Pingback: Keeping up with the prizewinners - Reader's Exchange

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