“It is quite true that Edith Wharton has been a tremendous influence on me…I decided, largely because of her work, that it was time I wrote something.” -Julian Fellows, creator of Downton Abbey

Why does Edith Wharton continue to seem credible and contemporary 80 years after her death? One reason is the authenticity of her writing; she was a keen observer not just of society but of the human condition. You can find contemporary counterparts of her characters in today’s literature because the qualities she imbued them with are universal.

Her name is now used as shorthand to invoke style, character, place and time. “Wharton” has even become a verb! In a recent New York Magazine article, a socialite was described as spending most of her adult life Edith Wharton-ing her way through Manhattan’s upper crust.

Additional Testaments:

Anna Kingston’s Why Edith Wharton Still Haunts Us

Vogue magazine honoring Edith Wharton on her 150th birthday with an 18-page photo spread shot by photographer Annie Leibovitz.

Smithsonian magazine named Edith Wharton among the most significant Americans of all time.

Declared Wharton Fans:

Tori Amos

Kate Bolick

Former First Lady Laura Bush

Candace Bushnell

Tory Burch

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Cindy Crawford

Lena Dunham

Michael Eisner

Jennifer Egan

Nora Ephron

Julian Fellows

Julia Fierro

Ken Follett

Jonathan Franzen

Roxane Gay

Paul Goldberger

Katherine Howe

Anjelica Huston

Scarlett Johansson

Ashley Judd

Mindy Kaling

Garrison Keillor

Dennis Lehane

Jim Lehrer

Edan Lepucki

J.D. McClatchy

David McCullough

Jay McInerney

Leighton Meester

Charlotte Moss

Mitchell Owens

Michelle Paver

Richard Price

Anna Quindlen

Roxane Robinson

Isabel Rose

Martin Scorsese

Chloë Sevigny

Lionel Shriver

Anis Shivani

Tellison

Emma Thompson

Colm Toibin

Suzanne Vega

Cecily von Ziegesar

Edmund White

Bunny Williams

Meg Wolitzer

Books inspired by Edith Wharton:

A Wife of Noble Character by Yvonne Puig

Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford

The Unfortunates by Sophie McManus

Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own by Kate Bolick

The Edith Wharton Murders by Lev Raphael

Rosedale in Love by Lev Raphael

The Innocents by Francesca Segal

Gilded Age by Claire McMillian

The Age of Desire by Jennie Fields

Gossip Girl series by Cecily von Ziegesar

The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nikola Kraus