Reading at the Mount was beyond all dreams! I’m so honored to have been invited to speak and read from Gilded Age in Edith Wharton’s home.
The house is elegant and the grounds lush and groomed, but I think I was most overwhelmed by my private tour of her library.
Most interesting to me was her personal copy of the House of Mirth. She disliked the illustrations Scribner’s included and razored them out of her copy along with crossing out the name of the illustrator on the title page.
The staff was incredibly kind and gracious to me, answering all my many questions and showing me treasures including a letter Edith wrote to Teddy Wharton’s psychiatrist, around the time she was writing House of Mirth, inquiring about methods of suicide for a character. I was thrilled to read it, as it confirmed to me that Lily Bart committed suicide, not an accidental overdose. However, even after the letter was published in the New York Times, some still disagree with the suicide theory.
A truly spectacular day and a memory I will cherish always.