“These energizing, excellent essays address the international scope of Wharton’s writing and contribute to the growing fields of transatlantic, hemispheric, and global studies.”–Carol J. Singley, author of A Historical Guide to Edith Wharton
“Readers will emerge with a new respect for Wharton’s engagement with the world around her and for her ability to convey her particular vision in her literary works.”–Julie Olin-Ammentorp, author of Edith Wharton’s Writings from the Great War
Hailed for her remarkable social and psychological insights into the Gilded Age lives of privileged Americans, Edith Wharton, the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize, was a transnational author who attempted to understand and appreciate the culture, history, and artifacts of the regions she encountered in her extensive travels abroad. Edith Wharton and Cosmopolitanism edited by Meredith L. Goldsmith and Emily J. Orlando explores the international scope of Wharton’s life and writing, focusing on how her work connects with the idea of cosmopolitanism.
This volume illustrates the many ways Wharton engaged with global issues of her time. Contributors examine both her canonical and lesser-known works, including her art historical discoveries, political work, travel writing, World War I texts, and first novel. They consider themes of anarchism, race, imperialism, regionalism, and orientalism; Wharton’s treatment of contemporary marriage debates; her indebtedness to her literary predecessors; and her genre experimentation. Together, they demonstrate how Wharton’s struggle to balance her powerful local and national identifications with cosmopolitan values, resulted in a diverse, complex, and sometimes problematic relationship to a cosmopolitan vision.
Meredith L. Goldsmith, professor of English at Ursinus College, is coeditor of Middlebrow Moderns: Popular American Women Writers of the 1920s. Emily J. Orlando, associate professor of English at Fairfield University, is the author of Edith Wharton and the Visual Arts.