In this episode, we’ll discuss the life and work of Edith Wharton, who was born in 1862 into a tightly controlled society at a time when women were discouraged from achieving anything beyond a proper marriage. Wharton broke through these strictures to become one of America’s greatest writers. Author of The Age of Innocence, Ethan Frome, The House of Mirth, and many more, she wrote over 40 books in 40 years, including authoritative works on architecture, gardens, interior design, and travel. She was the first woman awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Yale University, and a full membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters. You can read more about Wharton from The Mount, a historic house museum and vibrant cultural center.
For this episode we are joined by Wharton scholars Anne Schuyler and Emily J. Orlando.
Anne Schuyler is the Curatorial and Visitor Services Director at The Mount, Edith Wharton’s Home in Lenox, Massachusetts where she leads the Visitors Services, Interpretation, and Exhibits teams. Since joining The Mount in 2006, Anne has produced multiple exhibits and expanded the interpretive content on Wharton and The Mount, highlighting, among other topics, Wharton’s humanitarian work during World War One and servant life at The Mount. She holds a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Virginia and a Professional Certificate in Public History from Northeastern University in Boston, MA.
Emily J. Orlando is Professor of English and the E. Gerald Corrigan Chair in the Humanities and Social Sciences at Fairfield University. Dr. Orlando is the author of the award-winning book Edith Wharton and the Visual Arts and co-editor, with Meredith Goldsmith, of Edith Wharton and Cosmopolitanism. A Past President of the Edith Wharton Society, she curated for the American Writers Museum the Edith Wharton installation, which focused on the Pulitzer-Prize winning novel The Age of Innocence. Orlando edited and wrote the Introduction to The Bloomsbury Handbook to Edith Wharton, published this year with Bloomsbury Academic in London. Orlando is currently preparing for publication the first annotated edition of Edith Wharton and Ogden Codman’s 1897 design manual The Decoration of Houses. It is forthcoming from Syracuse University Press.
Anne and Emily are interviewed by Nate King, Digital Content Associate at the American Writers Museum.