• “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 FellowesCreator 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.

Marketing firm Y&R’s The Whole Story Project, an app that creates and places statues of famous women in locations where there aren’t any, has placed a virtual Edith Wharton statue in Central Park!

Author Naomi Wolf revealed how Edith Wharton, influenced by authors such as Oscar Wilde, imagined “a way forward even for female sexual liberation in the context of an awakening artistic consciousness.”

In this article, Wharton speaks to her audience intimately as she shares her creative process. It’s a piece that still feels relevant today, even though it was published in The Atlantic over eighty years ago.

Declared Wharton Fans:

Books inspired by Edith Wharton:

The Smash-Up by Ali Benjamin

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 McMillan

The Age of Desire by Jennie Fields

Gossip Girl series by Cecily von Ziegesar

The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nikola Kraus