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Berkshire Magazine June 2014


Berkshire Mag June 2014Berkshire Magazine

June 2014

“Edith’s Words to Live By”  

 

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Eagle 5-27-14

 

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 11.32.35 PMThe Berkshire Eagle

May 27, 2014

      “Good Food is Always in Style in Edith Wharton’s Kitchen at The Mount” 

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Spotlight: Julie Quain, volunteer extraordinaire

Julie Quain (right) helps Nicole Knapp with Community Day 2013 preparations

Julie Quain (right) helps Nicole Knapp with Community Day 2013 preparations

Julie Quain has been a loyal, hardworking volunteer at The Mount for the past seven years. We value her and her contributions tremendously, just as we value all of the people who donate their time and skills so generously throughout the year! We took a few moments to ask Julie about her personal connection to The Mount, and why she continues to dedicate her spare hours and boundless energy. Here’s what she said:

Q: How did you become familiar with The Mount? 

A: Ah, the not-so-unusual answer: I was an English major in college, was familiar with Edith Wharton’s writings, and was intrigued by being able to visit The Mount.

I also attended the Monday Lecture series when I was up in Lenox on my vacations. My mother then started to volunteer, helping with the tea after the lectures.  Once I was able to be up in Lenox for the summers, I started to help with the teas, as well.  I’ve also volunteered for WordFest [a literary celebration] and for Community Day.

Q: What was your most memorable volunteer experience?

A: I think “meeting and greeting” people from all over the country–and sometimes the world–is what makes volunteering at The Mount so interesting!  Being able to chat briefly with some of the authors who present at the Lecture series is wonderful.  Last year, I transported one of the WordFest authors from Hudson to Lenox, and being able to talk with him about The Mount and The Berkshires (he had not been up in the area before) was one of the more memorable times.

Q: Why do you volunteer at The Mount?

A: Because it’s an amazing place to spend time!  Knowing that it’s the actual place where one of America’s great authors lived, being able to walk on the same paths that she walked, is inspiring. Besides, it’s a beautiful place and it’s fun!

Q: And… Why should others volunteer for The Mount?

A: This is an easy question –because of the staff!  They are all friendly and they make it an easy place to volunteer. And all the work and programs that are done by The Mount are important, and they maintain a level of fun intellectualism!

Thank you, Julie, for sharing your thoughts and compliments. We’re grateful for all you and the other volunteers do to help us advance our mission!

If you’re interested in volunteering at The Mount, click here for more information. We welcome any and all inquiries!

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The Mount Will Host 2014 SculptureNow “Common Ground” Exhibit

Lenox, MA–This summer SculptureNow will once again collaborate with The Mount—the spectacular home designed by the great American author Edith Wharton in Lenox, Mass, with a new exhibit titled Common Ground, where art meets nature.

The show will feature 25 large-scale, outdoor sculptures by regional and nationally recognized artists, including Taylor Apostol, Peter Barrett, David Boyajian, Jamie Calderwood, William Carlson, Fay Chin, Gene Montez Flores, Mary Annella Frank, Anthony H. Garner, Fritz Horstman, Ann Jon, Nicholas Kantarelis, Elaine Lorenz, Philip Marshall, Lydia Musco, Gary Orlinsky, Barry Parker, Chris Plaisted, Laura Reinhard, Henry Richardson, Susan Ferrari Rowley, Konstantin Simun, Robin Tost, John Wilkinson and Allen Williams.

The sculptures vary widely in concept, style and medium. Thus you may see cast glass framed in a steel, an organic steel form moving in the wind, a cast cement piece inspired by canyons, a playful pod with rubber balls, a 5 foot diameter glass sphere, a steel arch with an inside seat and many more.

Guided tours of all the sculptures are scheduled for July 13, August 17, September 14 and October 12, all at 11:30 a.m.

The exhibit opens on June 1 and continues through October 31, 2014. Admission to the exhibit is free with admission to The Mount, located at 2 Plunkett Street in Lenox, MA.

A free opening celebration is scheduled for June 15, starting with a guided tour at 3 p.m. and followed by a reception 5-7 p.m. on the terrace of The Mount.

“If you love contemporary art, timeless writing, historic architecture, and beautiful gardens, The Mount is the place to come to” said Ann Jon, SculptureNow’s director. “Sculptors and art collectors meet here, and visitors are arriving from near and far to enjoy this enriching experience in the Berkshires.”

“We are so happy to welcome SculptureNow back to The Mount with their new show and to build on the success of last year’s collaboration,” said Susan Wissler, The Mount’s executive director. “The exhibit will undoubtedly draw new audiences to The Mount, and we know it will captivate our regular visitors in fresh and exciting ways.” 

About SculptureNow

Founded in 1998, SculptureNow aims to expand the knowledge of art in general, and sculpture in particular, in the Berkshires through exhibitions, presentations and workshops. Besides producing an annual juried exhibit at selected locations in the Berkshire region, SculptureNow offers sculpture tours and hands-on workshops to students in our community.

Each year, for 17 years, SculptureNow has presented works by 16-32 regional, national and international sculptors. Our juried shows have been sited at the Berkshire Botanical Garden, the Norman Rockwell Museum, and in the streets and parks of Becket, Great Barrington, Hinsdale, Housatonic, Lenox, Lee and Stockbridge.

For additional information about SculptureNow please visit sculpturenow.org. For information about the show and for high-resolution photos, please contact Ann Jon at annjon@bcn.net or call 413 623 2068.

About The Mount:

The Mount is a National Historic Landmark and cultural center that celebrates the intellectual, artistic, and humanitarian legacy of Edith Wharton. We engage a diverse audience by providing context to Wharton’s life and achievements through our educational and public programs and the conservation and preservation of her historic estate and gardens.

Each year, The Mount is host to over 40,000 visitors. Daily tours of the house and gardens are offered through October 31st. with special events throughout the year. Annual summer programming includes, Wharton on Wednesdays, Music After Hours, and the celebrated Monday Lecture Series. Exhibitions explore themes from Wharton’s life and work.

For more information, including hours, tour times and our admission packages, please visit EdithWharton.org or call 413-551-5111.

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The intersection of literature and gardening

Beatrix Farrand's perspective of the kitchen garden at The Mount

Beatrix Farrand’s perspective of the kitchen garden at The Mount

Yesterday’s New York Times review of the New York Botanical Garden’s “Groundbreakers: Great American Gardens and the Women Who Designed Them” exhibition calls to our attention important Gilded Age themes that played a dominant role in literature and design created during that time. “Is it only a biographical curiosity,” asks critic Edward Rothstein, “that [Beatrix] Farrand was a niece of Edith Wharton’s?”

In addition to her landscape work for the Rockfellers featured in the exhibit, Beatrix Ferrand worked closely with Wharton on the kitchen gardens and the entrance drive to the house at The Mount. As an avid gardener and authoritarian on European landscape design, Wharton herself took the lead on the rest of the property. The results were spectacular then, as they are today in their fully restored glory.

The Mount's Formal Garden today

The Mount’s Formal Garden today

“I was amazed at the success of my [efforts],” wrote Wharton to Morton Fullerton in 1911. “Decidedly, I’m a better landscape gardener than novelist, and this place, every line of which is my own work, far surpasses The House of Mirth.”

Whether you’ve seen the “Groundbreakers” exhibit or not, we invite you to visit The Mount to experience one of the best living examples of early 20th century landscape gardening. Guided garden tours begin Memorial Day weekend. Materials are available for visitors who wish to take self-guided tours at any time during normal daily operating hours (10 am to 5 pm through October 31, except on early closing days).

 

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An Intern’s Journey

This post was contributed by Zara Williams-Nicholas, who interned at The Mount in 2013-2014. 

Zara Williams-Nicholas

Zara Williams-Nicholas

In September of last year, I enrolled at Miss Hall’s School and began my first year in the school as a junior. I was coming to Miss Hall’s from Jamaica – a little Caribbean island where temperatures below 72 degrees are rare. I began working at The Mount through the school’s Horizons internship program, which provides students with volunteer opportunities in and around the Berkshires. In my first few weeks at The Mount, Edith Wharton’s life and literature began to come alive –I was fascinated by her personal life and by her writing style, and I was interested to learn more about her humanitarian work during World War I. Wharton’s extensive knowledge of languages intrigued me, as did her relationship with her husband, Teddy.

However, what I learnt at The Mount was hardly limited to literature or history. The outdoor sculpture exhibit by SculptureNow last year initially made me think: “What? Why?” But, as I learnt more about Edith’s interests in design and decoration, it started to make sense. I gained insight about the decoration of The Mount and of its grounds through listening to tours or helping with them. I began to appreciate Edith’s love of symmetry and admired the intricacy with which the renovators refurbished The Mount. I also loved the feel of the grounds and the way the grounds and nature seemed to complement the house. Taking in these detailed allowed me to developed a greater appreciation of the décor and aesthetics, which I hadn’t even noticed before.

As an international student, the experience of working at The Mount may was also a lesson in American culture. This was my first year in an American high school, and this was also my first internship. I learnt pretty quickly that one sweater just wouldn’t cut it during the New England winters. I learnt that tissues needed to be on hand at all times during the winter. I observed my co-workers and their behavior in a business setting, which was professional but always friendly. I was also happy to discover that at least one person at The Mount always has a dog by their side (like Wharton!).

During my time at The Mount, there were some memorable moments as I worked with many of the different departments in The Mount, and I had many wonderful experiences. These included:

Boots

Boots

1)     Setting up my own workspace

2)     Hiding in one of the sculptures

3)     Almost getting lost in the house about 40 times

4)     Spending over a hour pouring over Edith’s personal library

5)     Meeting and forming an invaluable friendship with Boots, the house dog

6)     Spending a morning sorting hundreds of news articles about Edith from the last year

7)     Discovering the joys of a toasty radiator

Working at The Mount has been an incredible journey for me, not just in terms of business but also in terms of life experiences. I am so grateful that I’ve been able to offer my help to my co-workers, and I’m very happy to have been a part of The Mount’s family.

Zara, we are very happy that you were part of our family, too! -The Mount 

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The Mount’s 2014 season features stories from the backstairs, a revamped WordFest and the return of Shakespeare & Company and SculptureNow

Lenox, MA–This summer, The Mount is pleased to announce a full schedule of lectures, readings, performances, music and more. The Mount will be open daily starting May 3rd through October 31st.

“There is truly something for everyone this season,” said Susan Wissler, executive director of The Mount. “There are exhibits and lectures for our Wharton fans, theater, music, art…we even have a children’s camp on the grounds. Our programming is more robust and varied than ever before.” Opening day is Saturday, May 3rd.

The Mount will be kicking off the season with a special members preview sale for its popular Monday Lecture Series. This year’s series will feature Rebecca Mead speaking about her book My Life in Middlemarch; J. Michael Lennon discussing Norman Mailer and his latest book on the divisive cultural icon, Norman Mailer: A Double Life; and Thomas Maier speaking about his book, Masters of Sex, which was the inspiration for theShowtime television series of the same name.Tickets are $25 for members and $30 for the general public. Public sales start June 1. For additional information and to purchase tickets, visit EdithWharton.org or call 413-551-5100. For memberships, please call Johanna at 413-5551-5112.

Additional Highlights of the 2014 season include:

  • The Backstairs ToursLearn about the daily routines of the men and women who ran The Mount. Ticket includes admission for the day, the tour, and glass of champagne. Sundays & Thursdays starting May 25.
  • Kitchen Stories – An exhibit exploring the workings an early twentieth-century kitchen. Opens May 2014.
  • A revamped WordFest featuring writer and cultural commentator Kate Bolick in conversation with noted writers including Andre Dubus III as well as a reading by Pulitzer-Prize winning poet Sharon Olds. Friday evenings, August 8 – September 12.
  • Common Ground – A new exhibition of outdoor sculpture set in one of the most breathtaking settings in the Berkshires. Presented in partnership with SculptureNow. June 15 – October 31
  • The Nutrition Center and The Mount present Food Adventures at The Mount, a one-week half-day camp for children ages 7-14. Campers will take advantage of the bounty of local produce and have fun with food and the joy of entertaining. Two sessions: June 30-July 3rd and July 7-July 11.

In addition to a full schedule of special events and exhibitions, The Mount will continue to offer summer audiences traditional seasonal programs that include the Music After Hours series on Fridays and Saturdays evenings in July and August as well as Wharton on Wednesdays starting June 4th.

For additional information, including our full Calendar of Events, please visit EdithWharton.org.

Full 2014 Season

2014 MONDAY LECTURE SERIES

Mondays, July 7 – August 25; 4:00 p.m.

Members $25; General $30

Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renaissance
Carla Kaplan, July 7

Miss Anne in Harlem is the first book to tell the story of the spirited white women who crossed race lines to play seminal roles in the great black cultural movement of the early twentieth century.

A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel-True 1907-1940
Victoria Wilson, July 14

Wilson’s A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel True, 1907-1940, is the first volume of her remarkable biography of the brilliant, enigmatic and complex actress whose life spanned the richest and fastest changing period of the motion picture business.

Bernard Berenson: A Life in the Picture Trade
Rachel Cohen, July 21

Bernard Berenson: A Life in the Picture Trade, investigates the development of the great art connoisseur who began life as a penniless Lithuanian immigrant and made his career in the world of Gilded Age finances and prejudices.

My Life in Middlemarch
Rebecca Mead, July 28

In Mead’s new book- a combination of biography, reporting, and memoir-she explores her relationship with George Eliot’s Middlemarch. Both a fascinating reading of Eliot’s biography and an exploration of the way aspects of Mead’s life uncannily echo that of Eliot herself.

Norman Mailer: A Double Life
J. Michael Lennon, August 4

Lennon met Mailer in Illinois when he was on a college speaking tour for his book St. George and the Godfather in1972 and later became Mailer’s archivist and authorized biographer. His books on Mailer include Norman Mailer: A Double Life, the official biography, and Norman Mailer: Works and Days.

Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love
Thomas Maier, August 11

Maier’s most recent book chronicles the lives of researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson who pioneered research into the nature of human sexual response. The book is the inspiration for the Showtime television series of the same name starring Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan.

Amy Lowell Anew: A Biography
Carl Rollyson, August 18

Rollyson’s new biography of Amy Lowell, the first in forty years, presents a complete portrait of the controversialpoet, examining her work, her personal life, and her legacy in an era that is beginning to appreciate the contributions of gays and lesbians to American’s cultural heritage

Clouds of Glory: The Life and Legend of Robert E. Lee
Michael Korda, August 25

Korda paints a vivid and admiring portrait of Lee, perhaps the most famous and least understood legend in American history and one of our most admired heroes, recognized today as the nation’s preeminent military leader.

HONORING WHARTON:

Screening of Edith Wharton: The Sense of Harmony with filmmaker Elizabeth Lennard
Sunday, June 1, 3:00 pm

$10 general; free for Mount members and BIFF pass holders

This one-hour documentary includes interviews, rare documents, and archival footage including a brief glimpse of Wharton herself. A talk-back with film-maker Elizabeth Lennard immediately follows the screening. Presented in partnership with the Berkshire International Film Festival.

 America’s Lost Playwright: Edith Wharton’s Writing for the Stage with Scholar Laura Rattray
Thursday, June 12, 6:00 pm

$10 general; free for Mount members

Drawing on papers from the Wharton’s archives, this talk explores Edith Wharton’s largely forgotten work for the theatre and its impact on her career. For tickets, visit EdithWharton.org.

What They Wore to War: Dressing American Relief Workers in the Great War
Thursday, July 31, 4:00 pm

$12 general; $10 Mount members

In honor of the 100th anniversary of World War I, Dr. Alan Price will tell the story of three important American charities in France and the dress of their three extraordinary leaders: Edith Wharton, Nina Duryea, and Isabel Lathrop.

Summer Marathon Reading
Tuesday, August 12, 1:00-6:30 pm

Free

Come enjoy Wharton’s incredibly modern coming of age tale set against the backdrop of the Berkshire Hills. If you’d like to read part of the story, contact email kmullen@EdithWharton.org by August 1!

The Artistic Lure of the Gilded Age, a panel discussion
Thursday, August 28, 6:00 pm

$20 general; $15 MASS MoCA and Mount members

Artist Darren Waterston will join Wharton scholar Roxana Robinson and Rachel Dickstein, director of a stage adaptation of The House of Mirth, to discuss what can be learned from investigations of the Gilded Age today.

ART & DESIGN:

George Stacey and the Creation of American Chic with author Maureen Footer
Sunday, May 18, 4:00 pm

$12 general; $10 Mount members

Footer will discuss how Stacey modernized The Decoration of Houses to fit the evolving American aesthetic of the 20th century. Book signing to follow.

A Sense of Place: Private Gardens of the Hudson Valley with author Jane Garmey
Thursday, June 19, 6:00 pm

$12 general; $10 Mount members

Jane Garmey shares her insider’s view of twenty-six gardens that are the subject of her latest book. Book signing to follow.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

Garden Party at The Mount
Sunday, June 29, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

Free

Bring the family and spend the day at The Mount! Tour the house, explore the gardens and trails, and enjoy the surroundings. Activities throughout the day. Sponsored by the Massachusetts Culture Council, its local affiliates and WGBY.

Bingo Night
Thursday, July 17, 5:00-8:00 pm

Free

Lenox residents are invited to walk the grounds at twilight and enjoy a rousing game of Bingo on the Terrace. Presented in partnership with the Lenox Community Center and Council on Aging.

HANDS-ON WORKSHOPS, CAMPS, AND INTENSIVES

IS 183 presents: Interpret Marginalia
A Painting Intensive at The Mount
June 9 –June 13, 9:30 am-12:30 pm

$190 for IS 183 members, $205 general. $15 materials fee

Prompted by Edith Wharton’s scribbling in the end pages of her vast collection of books, each day artists will get a kernel of inspiration from staff of The Mount with their favorite Whartonian trivia.

The Nutrition Center presents Food Adventures at The Mount
Session 1: June 30-July 3, 9:00 am-1:00 pm
Ages 7-14, $215 general; $200 for Mount members
Session 2: July 7-11, 9:00 am – 1:00pm
Ages 7-14, $275 general; $250 for Mount members

The Nutrition Center will take advantage of the bounty of local produce and the historic setting, embracing the fun of food and joy of entertaining.

The Mystery of Mobiles Revealed
Saturday, July 12, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

$25 general; $22 for Mount members

Ages 8-16

Inspired by kinetic sculptures on the grounds, SculptureNow director Ann Jon will lead a hands-on workshop exploring the fine art of balance.

THEATER

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet
July 17 – August 23

Adults $15; Children and Students $5

The most timeless tale of love, Romeo and Juliet, is performed ‘bare Bard’ style with only 6 actors playing all the roles and trimmed to 90 minutes, you won’t want to miss our Northeast Regional Tour of Shakespeare when it comes home for the summer! Bring your own seating and blanket for this 90-minute performance of Shakespeare’s beloved comedy performed outdoors in the Dell. For more information and tickets, visit: www.shakespeare.org.

2014 WORDFEST

Sponsored by Canyon Ranch, The Amy Clampitt Fund, and the Xeric Foundation

Touchstones at The Mount with Kate Bolick
Fridays, August 8 – August 29
6 pm (Doors open 5:30)

$18 general; $15 Mount members

Journalist and cultural commentator Kate Bolick will host a series of interview with leading writers.

August 8 – Kate Bolick in conversation with Andre Dubus III, author of six books, including House of Sand and Fog, The Garden of Last Days and his memoir, Townie.

August 15 – Kate Bolick in conversation with Joanna Rakoff, author of the novel The Fortunate Age and the soon-to-be-released memoir My Salinger Year.

August 22 – Kate Bolick in conversation with Scott Stossel, editor of The Atlantic magazine and the author of My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind and Sarge: The Life and Times of Sargent Shriver.

Coming Alive: Storytelling on Stage
Friday, September 5, 7 pm (Doors open at 6)

$18 general; $15 Mount members

In partnership with massmouth, inc., The Mount presents riveting narrative in its oldest, most intimate and revealing form: the human voice.

The Amy Clampitt Memorial Reading with Sharon Olds
Friday, September 12, 7 pm

Free

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Sharon Olds will read from her selected works. Followed by a book signing, the reading will be free and open to the public.

The Mount is located at 2 Plunkett Street in Lenox, MA. For additional information about The Mount and to purchase tickets for events please visit EdithWharton.org.

About The Mount:

The Mount is a National Historic Landmark and cultural center that celebrates the intellectual, artistic, and humanitarian legacy of Edith Wharton. We engage a diverse audience by providing context to Wharton’s life and achievements through our educational and public programs and the conservation and preservation of her historic estate and gardens.

Each year, The Mount is host to over 40,000 visitors. Daily tours of the property are offered May through October, with special events throughout the year. Annual summer programming includes a joint exhibit with SculptureNow, Wharton on Wednesdays, Music After Hours, WordFest at The Mount, and the celebrated Monday Lecture Series. Exhibitions explore themes from Wharton’s life and work.

For more information, please visit EdithWharton.org.

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2014 Lecture Series participants announced!

It’s always a big moment when we announce the much-anticipated lineup for our annual Monday Lecture Series, which will run this year from July 7 through August 25. And here it is! (Drumroll…)

July 7: Carla KaplanMiss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renaissance

Carla Kaplan is an award-winning author and professor of American Literature at Northeastern University. A recipient of a Guggenheim and many other fellowships, Kaplan is the author of The Erotics of Talk and Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters, as well as the editor of Dark Symphony by Elizabeth Laura Adams, Every Tongue Got to Confess by Zora Neale Hurston, and Passing by Nella Larsen. Miss Anne in Harlem is the first book to tell the story of a number of spirited white women who crossed race lines to play seminal roles in the great black cultural movement of the early 20th century that came to be called the Harlem Renaissance.

July 14: Victoria WilsonA Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel-True 1907-1940

Victoria Wilson was born in New York City, grew up on Martha’s Vineyard and was educated at Goddard College, Hunter College, and the New School for Social Research.  She is a vice president and senior editor at Alfred Knopf. Wilson’s A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel True, 1907-1940, is the first volume of her remarkable biography of the brilliant, enigmatic and complex actress whose life spanned the richest and fastest changing period of the motion picture business.

July 21: Rachel CohenBernard Berenson: A Life in the Picture Trade

Rachel Cohen has written essays for The New Yorker, The Guardian, The London Review of BooksThe Believer, and Best American Essays. Her first book, A Chance Meeting: Intertwined Lives of American Writers and Artists, won the PEN/Jerard Fund Award. Her new book, Bernard Berenson: A Life in the Picture Trade, investigates the development of a great art connoisseur who began life as a penniless Lithuanian immigrant and made his career in the world of Gilded Age finance and prejudice. A resident of Cambridge, MA, Cohen is a member of the regular faculty of the creative nonfiction program at Sarah Lawrence College.

July 28: Rebecca MeadMy Life in Middlemarch

Rebecca Mead has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1997. She has profiled many subjects, among them Lena Dunham, Christine Quinn, Santiago Calatrava, Nico Muhly, Slavoj Zizek, and Shaquille O’Neal. She is also the author of One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding, and has written more than a hundred “Talk of the Town” stories. Mead was a young woman in an English coastal town when she first read George Eliot’s Middlemarch, regarded by many as the greatest English novel, and one of Edith Wharton’s favorite novels. In her book My Life in Middlemarch, a combination of biography, reporting, and memoir, Rebecca Mead leads us into the life that the book made for her, as well as the many lives the novel has led since it was written.

August 4: J. Michael LennonNorman Mailer: A Double Life

Michael Lennon, emeritus professor of English at Wilkes University, met Mailer in Illinois when he was on a college speaking tour for his book St. George and the Godfather (1972). Eventually, Lennon became the late Norman Mailer’s archivist and authorized biographer. He has written/edited several books about him, including Norman Mailer: A Double Life, the official biography, and Norman Mailer: Works and Days, which was the recipient of a Choice Magazine award for “outstanding scholarly title” in 2001. Lennon’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, Paris Review, Mailer Review, James Jones Literary Society Journal, Playboy, New York, Chicago Tribune, Narrative and Journal of Modern Literature, among others. Lennon is currently editing Mailer’s letters to be published in 2014.

August 11: Thomas MaierMasters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love

Thomas Maier is an award-winning author and investigative journalist for Newsday in New York. His most recent book, Masters of Sex, chronicles the lives of researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson, and is now a Showtime television series starring Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan. Maier is also the author of, among others, When Lions Roar: The Churchills and the Kennedys, The Kennedys: America’s Emerald Kings, and Dr. Spock: An American Life. Maier’s book Newhouse: All the Glitter, Power and Glory of America’s Richest Media Empire and the Secretive Man Behind It is currently being developed into an upcoming television project by Sony.

August 18: Carl RollysonAmy Lowell Anew: A Biography

Carl Rollyson is professor of journalism at Baruch College, The City University of New York. Rollyson has published more than 40 books, ranging in subject matter from biographies of Marilyn Monroe, Lillian Hellman, Martha Gellhorn, Norman Mailer, Rebecca West, Susan Sontag, and Jill Craigie to studies of American culture, genealogy, children’s biography, film, and literary criticism. His books include American Isis: The Life and Art of Sylvia Plath and Hollywood Enigma: Dana Andrews. Rollyson’s provocative new biography of Amy Lowell, the first in forty years, restores the poet to her full humanity in an era that, at last, is beginning to appreciate the contributions of gays and lesbians to American’s cultural heritage.

August 25: Michael KordaClouds of Glory: The Life and Legend of Robert E. Lee

Michael Korda is the author of Ulysses S. Grant, Ike, Hero, and Charmed Lives. Korda was editor in chief of Simon and Schuster for 37 years and edited the likes of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, David McCullough, and countless others. Educated at Le Rosey in Switzerland and at Magdalen College, Oxford, he served in the Royal Air Force and took part in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. His latest and much anticipated book, Clouds of Glory, is the first major biography of Robert Lee in nearly 20 years, bringing to life America’s greatest and most iconic hero. Korda paints a vivid and admiring portrait of Lee, perhaps the most famous and least understood legend in American history and one of our most admired heroes, and recognized today as the nation’s preeminent military leader.

Tickets will go on sale for Mount members on May 1, with sales opening to the general public on May 30. As one of the most popular summer programs in the Berkshires, the Lecture Series sells out fast…so consider becoming a member of The Mount–if you’re not already–and buying early!

Also, our hearty congratulations to Megan Marshall, who appeared at The Mount as part of the 2013 Lecture Series, for winning the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for her biography “Margaret Fuller: A New American Life”!

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Staff Spotlight: Johanna Batman

Last fall, after serving as a summer docent, Johanna Batman became The Mount’s development associate. We sat down with her for a few minutes for a brief Q&A.

Q: Did you always see yourself working in a cultural nonprofit organization?

A: No, I had my heart set on being a paleoanthropologist.  I was determined to have my Ph.D. by the time I was 28. But during my sophomore year in college, I realized I needed a break. I wasn’t sure I really wanted to be a college professor who lived in Tanzania or South Africa for three months each year.

My senior year of college I did an internship in curatorial work at an historic house in Rhinebeck, New York. There I became very interested in museums, and that’s been my focus ever since.

Johanna

Johanna Batman, The Mount’s development associate

Q: Why did you come to The Mount? 

A: I fell into it serendipitously. I’m from a small town in the Finger Lakes, and I thought I needed to get a little further away from home. I looked on Craigslist and saw the listing for a tour guide at The Mount. I thought: I’ll do that for the summer. In November, I was offered a full-time position as development associate.

Q: What do you find most gratifying about working at The Mount?

A: I’ve really loved both being a docent and working in development. I love that The Mount makes such a strong commitment to its staff and personnel, recognizing the staff is the institution and not just accessories. Knowing you are a priority is unusual in this kind of setting, and it makes all the difference.

I’ve also been constantly impressed by the strong connection between The Mount and our members and supporters. The Mount has seen its share of ups and downs, but the staff here has worked hard to build enduring relationships with the local community through outreach and partnership that is a wonderful model for non-profits everywhere.

Q: What have you learned about Edith Wharton you didn’t know before?

A: Everything! Before coming to The Mount, I knew nothing about Edith Wharton. I’d read The Age of Innocence but didn’t remember it well at all; I made the mistake of reading it back-to-back with The Wings of Dove. Henry James is hard work, and I was worn out and didn’t approach Edith Wharton with a fresh perspective.

After I was hired as a docent, I read Ethan Frome, and I then read about 20 more Wharton books over the course of the summer. She’s a fascinating woman—and I love how, on this spectacular property, you can approach art, literature, and history through the lens of this one remarkable woman.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?

A: I enjoy cooking and gardening. My feminist forbearers would be ashamed! I also love my dog, and hiking, and I’m hoping to get a plot in a community garden. I’m very much an amateur foodie.

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NY AAA: C&T 4-13

Car_&_Travel_Mag_logoCar &Travel (published by NY AAA)

April 2014

“The Best of the Berkshires” (p. 14)

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