Wharton, Edith

24 January 1862 - 11 August 1937

American writer (birthname Edith Jones, which I mention because it may have implications for one of her ghost stories, "Mr. Jones"; she married Teddy Wharton in 1884, and the marriage deteriorated rapidly, ending in divorce in 1913). Wharton is best known for her realist works The House of Mirth, The Age of Innocence, and Ethan Frome, but produced a small number of excellent supernaturalist stories, primarily in the psychological (Henry Jamesian) mode. (Wharton was in fact a close friend of James' and was significantly influenced by him.)

Edith Wharton Society this link opens a new browser window
[Donna Campbell]
Edith Wharton
[Domestic Goddesses (Scribbling Women)]
Edith Wharton
Biographical essay and more. [Claire Preston, U Cambridge; Literary Encyclopedia]
Edith Wharton
Biographical note, timeline, bibliographies and more. [Dee Shidler]
Biographical note
[The Authors Calendar]
Brief biographical note
Supernaturalist bibliography with book cover images. [Guide to Supernatural Fiction, Tartarus Press]
The Mount
Web site for the Edith Wharton house in Lenox, MA.
Edith Wharton's World: People and Places
Website for the exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C.; includes a biographical note and portraits

click for info from amazon.com
click the cover image for more info from Amazon.com

From Tales of Men and Ghosts, 1910. [Etext Center, UVa]
This story was made into a TV movie as part of the "Shades of Darkness" series that aired on Grenada TV in the UK; for a brief note (which misidentifies the author), go here and scroll down the page. This is one of Wharton's better ghost stories, in my opinion....

"Bewitched" [1925]
An interesting ghostly counterpart to Wharton's classic short novel Ethan Frome.
- Discussion of this story at VioletBooks [rbadac]

"The Eyes"
Another of the works from Tales of Men and Ghosts (1910), and in some ways a wonderful blend of Poe and Hawthorne, with a dash or two of Henry James.
- at Etext Center, UVa (50K)
- at Horrormasters (PDF).

"The Fulness of Life" this link opens a new window
A woman dies and meets her soul-mate, who turns out to be....
from the December 1893 issue of Scribner's magazine, at the "Making of America"
note: stories at the "Making of America" project are available in multiple formats (image, pdf, plain text). This link is to the images — e-facsimiles, basically — but other viewing options are readily available (click on a page number, then select another "View As" option).

"Kerfol" [1916]
One of Wharton's best ghost stories, an absolute delight: quasi-Gothic architecture, an antiquarian immersion in the Renaissance past, complex gender issues, some ghostly dogs — less terror but more haunting than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic Sherlock Holmes ghostly canine tale The Hound of the Baskervilles, much richer than Elia Peattie's "A Spectral Collie," though Steven King's Cujo may give it a (dog)run for the money.... And be sure to compare it to Maurice Level's "The Kennel," with its similar use of gender dynamics and love triangles, though a very different use of dogs. (55K) [Etext Center, UVa]

"The Lady's Maid's Bell"  [1902]
Another example of the moral use to which Wharton could put the ghostly tale, although it's not an easy or conventional moral tale.... This story was, like "Afterward," made into a TV movie as part of the "Shades of Darkness" series that aired on Grenada TV in the UK; for a brief note, go here and scroll down the page.
- at Etext Center, UVa (52K)
- at Gaslight

The above-listed tales and several other ghostly masterpieces by Wharton are available in the Scribner's edition of The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton: click for more info from amazon.com

"Edith Wharton."