Conference News

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    Edith Wharton Panels at ALA 2013

    Friday May 24, 2013 8:10 – 9:30 am

    Session 7-A Edith Wharton and Cosmopolitanism (Essex North East 3rd Floor)

    Organized by the Edith Wharton Society

    Chair: Emily Orlando, Fairfield University

    1. “Edith Wharton’s Old New York: The Autobiography of an Expatriate,” Hildegard Hoeller, CUNY-CSI and the Graduate Center

    2. “‘she was learning how to make hats’: Negotiating New York City in The House of Mirth and Free Food for Millionaires,” Johanna X. K. Garvey, Fairfield University

    3. “‘I want a girl who doesn’t know what a Duke is’: The Buccaneers and Models of Cosmopolitan Thought,” Melanie Dawson, College of William and Mary

    4. “Contexts Engendering Texts: Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence and Francesca Segal’s The Innocents,” Ferdâ Asya, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

    Friday May 24, 2013 9:40 – 11:00 am

    Session 8-F Undine at 100: A Centennial Reappraisal of The Custom of the Country (Defender 7thFloor)

    Organized by the Edith Wharton Society

    Chair: Cecilia Macheski, LaGuardia Community College, CUNY

    1. “A Novel for All Seasons,” Susan Goodman, University of Delaware

    2. “Gate-Crasher par excellence: Undine and the 'Aborigines' in The Custom of the Country,” Maureen E. Montgomery, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

    3. “Finding Undine: Narrative Sources and Strategies for The Custom of the Country,” Laura Rattray, University of Glasgow

    4. “Technologies of Information: Gossip, Self-Revelation, and Social Media in Wharton'sThe Custom of the Country,” Gary Totten, North Dakota State University

    Session 10-P Business Meeting: Edith Wharton Society (Baltic 7th Floor)

    Proposed Panel for the 2012 SAMLA Conference

    Affiliated Society Session: Edith Wharton Society
    Panel Title:  The Transatlantic Writer: Edith Wharton, Text, and Travel

    Equipment Needs:             computer, overhead projector/screen, Internet access, PowerPoint software

    Submitted by:            Mary Carney
    Associate Professor of English, Honors Program Director, and Director of the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Leadership
    Gainesville State College
    3820 Mundy Mill Road, Oakwood, GA 30566
    Cell: (706) 224-3218; Work: (678) 717-3629

    Chair and Secretary:  Mary Carney, Gainesville State College

    The Decoration of Houses to The Book of Homelessness: Edith Wharton and Expatriation”
    Heath Sledge, Teaching Fellow, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

     “(Con)textualizing Total War: Conflict, Exile, and Material Culture in Wharton’s Essays”
    Mary Carney, Associate Professor of English, Gainesville State College

    “Traveling from Despair: Edith Wharton’s Heroines, No Accidental Tourists”
    Justin Askins, Professor of English, Radford University

    “Ethan Frome’s Travel Choices” 
    Richard Law, Associate Professor of English and Communication, Alvernia University
    no email; 610-769-8205


    Panel Title: “The Transatlantic Writer: Edith Wharton, Text, and Travel”

    Panel Description:
    The Edith Wharton Society panel addresses this year’s SAMLA conference theme: "Text as Memoir: Tales of Travel, Immigration, and Exile," examining a wide sections of fiction and non-fiction works.  Edith Wharton is a transatlantic figure whose writings focus on the sometimes fraught interplay between home and exile. In “The Decoration of Houses to The Book of Homelessness: Edith Wharton and Expatriation,” Heath Sledge argues that two pairs of books by Wharton, which bookend the beginning and the end of her career, treat the question of home. The House of Mirth (1905) and the much later Age of Innocence (1920) show Wharton’s progressively broadening notion of what “home” is. The second pair -- The Decoration of Houses (1897) and The Book of the Homeless (1916) -- reveals that Wharton’s sense of home was a deeply material one, linked to her identity as a writer and a woman.  As a result, Wharton attempts to materialize her missing home textually in the rich descriptive detail of The Age of Innocence in a way that she had seemed not to need to do in The House of Mirth. The second panelist Mary Carney will present “(Con)textualizing Total War: Conflict, Exile, and Material Culture in Wharton’s Essays.” She will examine how the essays in Fighting France, from Dunkerque to Belfort parallel travel texts, creating vivid portraits of the emergence of “total war” in France during World War I. As a transatlantic writer, she illuminates for her primarily American audience the material culture of war and the peculiar world of expatriates in France during the conflict. In the third presentation, Justin Askins will explore the leitmotiv of travel as escape in “Traveling from Despair: Edith Wharton’s Heroines, No Accidental Tourists.” While rarely compared with Herman Melville’s Moby Dick and Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, Wharton’s major works share with these novels the important leitmotiv of travel as escape. Examining major novels and novellas, Askins will illuminate Wharton’s narrative trajectories of the American pursuit of transformative exile. Finally, in “Ethan Frome’s Travel Choices,” Richard Law examines the character development that reveals the courage and misapprehensions of Ethan’s travel dreams. Law shows how the trail of (mis)judgments leads to the catastrophic escape attempt, reflecting Wharton’s portrait of a grotesque reality emerging from the search for exile.

    Edith Wharton in Florence 2012
    Edith Wharton at MLA 2012
    Edith Wharton Panel at SAMLA 2011

    Edith Wharton in Florence 2012: A Sesquicentennial Conference Sponsored by the Edith Wharton Society
    6-8 June 2012

    Conference Information: The most recent conference information can be found at the conference site: Proposal deadline: 15 July 2011.

    Please join us for the international conference of the Edith Wharton Society in Florence, Italy, celebrating the sesquicentennial of Wharton’s birth. “Edith Wharton in Florence” will be the third Wharton Society conference held in Europe and the first in Italy. The conference directors seek papers focusing on all aspects of Wharton’s work, and we especially welcome submissions dealing with the international contexts of her writing.

    Papers might offer readings of any of Wharton’s texts, including the following:

  • Short fiction, poetry, plays, essays, and travel writing, in addition to the novels;
  • Wharton’s work in relation to any of its nineteenth- and twentieth-century contexts;
  • Wharton in a transatlantic literary context;
  • Wharton and her contemporaries, both male and female, canonical and non-canonical, European and American;
  • Wharton in Italy, Morocco, and elsewhere in Europe;
  • Wharton and the other arts, including painting, photography, theatre, and film (adaptations of her work during her lifetime and those that have appeared more recently);
  • Wharton and cosmopolitanism, globalization, and the various forces of modernity;
  • Wharton and art history.
  • All theoretical approaches welcome, including feminist, psychoanalytic, historicist, marxist, queer, and ecocritical, among others.

    Through the generosity of Marist College, the conference will be held at Marist’s Lorenzo di Medici campus, in the heart of Florence. In addition to panels, there will be a keynote speaker and opportunities for tours of the area. Conference venue:

    Please submit 250-500-word abstracts and brief CV to by 15 July 2011.
    All conference participants must be members of the Edith Wharton Society
    at the time of registration.
    For more information about the conference, contact Conference Directors
    Meredith Goldsmith (Ursinus College; and
    Emily Orlando (Fairfield University;

    Edith Wharton Panel at MLA 2012 in Seattle, WA

    Friday, 06 January

    241. Wharton at 150

    12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., 618, Washington State Convention Center

    Program arranged by the Edith Wharton Society

    Presiding: Gary Totten, North Dakota State Univ.

    1. "What the Archives Suggest," Irene C. Goldman-Price, Great Barrington, MA

    2. "Conrad's 'Très cher maître,'" Rita Bode, Trent Univ.

    3. "'Actuality and Changefulness': Narrative Ending as Performative Frame in Edith Wharton's 'Confession' and Kate Spain," Stephanie Miller, Univ. of York

    For copies of abstracts, write to

    SAMLA Conference, Nov. 4-6, 2011, Atlanta, GA
    Affiliated Society Session: Edith Wharton Society
    Panel Title:  “Treasure after Treasure”: Edith Wharton and the Writer’s Imagination
    Chair and Secretary:  Mary Carney, Gainesville State College
    1.       “‘La Folle du Logis’: Edith Wharton’s Homage to Her Imagination,” Irene Goldman-Price, Ph.D., Independent Scholar

    2.       “Book Clubs and the Art of Reading: Edith Wharton’s ‘Xingu,’” Mary Ann Wilson, Ph.D., Professor of English, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

    3.       “A Lady ‘looking modest’: Edith Wharton and the Imperialist Gaze,” Ivana Cikes, Ph.D., Independent Scholar