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.
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includes, as editor, Edith Wharton in Context (2012), The Unpublished Writings of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).
1. Introduction.2. Edith Wharton as Poet.3. Playwriting.4. Travel Writings.5. Architecture and Design.6. Critical Writings and Literary Theory.7. Life Writings.8. Afterword.