Today would be the 150th birthday of famed American author Edith Wharton, who is probably most widely known for her examination of New York society in the early twentieth century (The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth were both centered around this theme). Wharton was a very successful writer in her time, receiving both popular and critical acclaim in addition to good compensation for her works (any writer's dream!). She composed travel essays, short stories, novels, and, later in life, short autobiographical essays. Wharton was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1921 for The Age of Innocence. In 1902, Wharton designed and built The Mount based on the principles she outlined in her 1897 book, The Decoration of Houses. Today, The Mount is "an autobiographical house", "both a historic site and a center for culture inspired by the passions and achievements of Edith Wharton." To commemorate what would have been Wharton's 150th birthday, The Mount is kicking off a year of special events.
Please click here to view a list of special events at The Mount and other locations throughout the country. Wharton has recently had an impact on popular culture with the popularity of the PBS series Downton Abbey (a great show if you're unfamiliar!). The New York Times had a piece on the connection last week, with Downton's creator, Julian Fellowes, citing Wharton's novels as a major influence. It's a great article worth a read. If you're in New York and looking to get your Wharton fix, there will be an Edith Wharton Marathon Reading at the Center for Fiction on Thursday at 5pm. Tickets are $20 with all proceeds going to support The Mount. Happy Birthday, Edith!