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American Literature Readings in the 21st Century

Edith Wharton and Genre

Beyond Fiction

Authors: Rattray, Laura

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  • Offers the first study of Wharton’s full engagement with original writing in genres outside those for which she is best remembered
  • Provides the first extensive critical analysis of Wharton as a poet
  • Looks beyond Edith Wharton as a novelist and short story writer to assess Wharton’s work in the fields of poetry, playwriting, travel writing, architecture and design, life writing and literary criticism
  • Reveals a new vision of Edith Wharton as a more diverse, subversive and experimental writer than her reputation concedes
  • Presents extensive new archival research
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eBook £67.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-349-59557-0
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover £85.00
price for United Kingdom (gross)
About this book

Based on extensive new archival research, Edith Wharton and Genre: Beyond

Fiction offers the first study of Wharton’s full engagement with original writing in

genres outside those with which she has been most closely identified. So much

more than an acclaimed novelist and short story writer, Wharton is reconsidered

in this book as a controversial playwright, a gifted poet, a trailblazing travel

writer, an innovative and subversive critic, a hugely influential design writer, and

an author who overturned the conventions of autobiographical form. Her

versatility across genres did not represent brief sidesteps, temporary diversions

from what has long been read as her primary role as novelist. Each was pursued

fully and whole-heartedly, speaking to Wharton’s very sense of herself as an

artist and her connected vision of artistry and art. The stories of these other Edith

Whartons, born through her extraordinary dexterity across a wide range of

genres, and their impact on our understanding of her career, are the focus of this

new study, revealing a bolder, more diverse, subversive and radical writer than

has long been supposed.

About the authors

Laura Rattray is Reader in American Literature at the University of Glasgow,

Scotland, and Director of its Centre for American Studies. Her work on Wharton

includes, as editor, Edith Wharton in Context (2012), The Unpublished Writings of

Edith Wharton (2009), Edith Wharton’s The Custom of the Country (2010), Summer

(2015) and, with Jennifer Haytock, The New Edith Wharton Studies (2019).

Reviews

“Laura Rattray’s meticulously researched and beautifully written study fully establishes not only Wharton’s amazing versatility as an author, but her virtuosity in genres as diverse as poetry, travel-writing, play-writing, design, life-writing, and literary theory. In lively prose, Edith Wharton and Genre also offers a more socially conscious and feminist Wharton, a woman who was often, as Rattray argues, a “trailblazer.” So, too, is Rattray, who has changed the way we will think of Edith Wharton.” (Julie Olin-Ammentorp, Professor of English, Le Moyne College, is the author of Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, and the Place of Culture and of Edith Wharton’s Writings from the Great War. She is a past president of the Edith Wharton Society)

“Edith Wharton and Genre offers a radical and radicalizing perspective on Wharton and American literary history. By making the author’s poetry, drama, autobiography, and—most impressively—literary theory the center of her inquiry, Laura Rattray reveals the creative and intellectual deliberateness of Wharton’s generic choices and their significance to the long nineteenth century.” (Susan Tomlinson, Associate Professor of English, University of Massachusetts Boston and Editor, Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers)

“In Rattray’s hands, Edith Wharton is re-presented as a writer mastering a wide range of genres beyond the celebrated fiction.  Wharton’s achievements in poetry, drama, architecture and design, criticism, memoir, and travel writing emerge as sites for her most confident, radical experiments.  This game-changing book will lay to rest the image of the grand dame, showing Wharton to defy categorization and to be as “large” and full of “multitudes” as the Whitman she so admired.” (Emily J. Orlando, Professor of English at Fairfield University (USA) and author of Edith Wharton and the Visual Arts)

“Rattray’s volume shows that Wharton consistently rejected shortcuts across the multiple genres in which she wrote. The same might be said of Rattray’s scholarship. In an authoritative, critical voice based on careful research, Rattray transforms the successful lady novelist created, in part, out of gender and social biases into the experimental woman artist who embraces risks in both subject matter and presentation.” (Rita Bode, Professor of English Literature, Trent University, Canada)

“Laura Rattray places between the covers of a single book an original study of all Wharton’s work apart from her fiction. Her constantly interesting arguments make intriguing new connections between disparate material and she brilliantly demonstrates how the different genres in which Wharton wrote nourish and sustain each other. Wharton emerges as a far greater literary figure than most of her (often dismissive) critics have been willing to recognize.” (Virginia Ricard, Bordeaux Montaigne University)

“In this lively and superbly written survey of Edith Wharton’s writings in genres other than prose fiction, Rattray demonstrates the broad repertoire of a writer who was more than a novelist of manners. A welcome addition to Wharton scholarship, Rattray’s study gives us yet more reason to be in awe of Wharton’s breadth of knowledge and her indefatigable energy.” (Maureen E. Montgomery, Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Canterbury, New Zealand and author of Displaying Women: Spectacles of Leisure in Edith Wharton's New York)

Table of contents (8 chapters)

Table of contents (8 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook £67.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-349-59557-0
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover £85.00
price for United Kingdom (gross)

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Edith Wharton and Genre
Book Subtitle
Beyond Fiction
Authors
Series Title
American Literature Readings in the 21st Century
Copyright
2020
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-1-349-59557-0
DOI
10.1057/978-1-349-59557-0
Hardcover ISBN
978-0-230-36166-9
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
IX, 242
Number of Illustrations
1 b/w illustrations
Topics

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