Celebrating Edith Wharton

When I visited Edith Wharton’s home in Lenox, Massachusetts – the Mount – I remember the docent telling how Wharton would stay in bed all day writing, strewing rejected pages on the floor for the maid to clean up, whenever Edith finally emerged from her self-imposed exile. The idea of staying in pajamas all day, having food delivered, and looking out on the lush garden outside her window for inspiration, was appealing to me.

Hearing that Wharton would have celebrated her 150th birthday in January (and I missed the party), I was inspired to revisit the world of Newland Archer and the Countess Olenska – so I am now rereading Wharton’s Pulitzer prize winning novel, “The Age of Innocence” – and finding it so much better now that it is not required reading for a class.

Have you read any of Wharton’s books – just for the fun of it?

Wharton used her native New York to frame her stories, but Dierdre Donahue in her column for USA Today lists two new books inspired by Wharton that base the action outside Gotham – “The Innocents” (based in London) by Francesca Segal and “Gilded Age” (in Cleveland) by Claire Millan.

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