Whartoniana

As readers of The Mount’s blog know, we often use the term “Whartoniana” when posting some of the more eclectic references to Edith Wharton. To her chagrin, The Mount’s blogger has found that this term was in use long before she appropriated it, and, since The Mount and its blog are all about education, we would like to enlighten those who were not aware of the various types of “Whartoniana” that are out there.

There is a beautiful orchid which comes from Mexico. Barkeria Whartoniana would not, alas, do well at The Mount as it flourishes in hot, dry deciduous forests, although a greenhouse such as The Mount’s (below) might work, of course. (The orchid photographs come from the very comprehensive website Orchidspecies.com.

This brings to mind a very “Whartonian” passage in The House of Mirth, when Lily Bart is introduced to her friend Gerty Farish’s good works: “She had always accepted with philosophic calm the fact that such existences as hers were pedestalled on foundations of obscure humanity. The dreary limbo of dinginess lay all around and beneath that little illuminated circle in which life reached its finest efflorescence, as the mud and sleet of a winter night enclose a hot-house filled with tropical flowers. All this was in the natural order of things, and the orchid basking in its artificially created atmosphere could round the delicate curves of its petals undisturbed by the ice on the panes.”

Yet another example is Whartoniana: or, miscellanies, in verse and prose. By the Wharton family, and several other persons of distinction. Never before published, originally published in 1727. Volume one is available to buy, but volume two is online, courtesy of Google Books.

In our continuing series of links citing contemporary writers who mention Wharton as a favorite or an influence, we present the following: Jonathan Franzen in a discussion about his new book Freedom; David Wellington, a writer who delves, as Wharton did, into the supernatural; and Stephanie Barron (Francine Mathews), who has written a best-selling series of mystery novels starring Jane Austen!

And, as The Mount itself has been featured in the press recently, we would be negligent indeed if we were not to include these articles in our blog. There is this mention in the New York Daily News, and even the Financial Times in London gets in on the act with a peripheral mention of The Mount in a very nice article about Pittsfield. Closer to home are these pictures of their recent event at The Mount on the Berkshire Creative website.

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