Paper Title

"Edith Wharton, Hudson River Bracketed , and the Serialization Disaster"

Panel

Literary Interventions II

Location

Room 223, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

Start Date

2-4-2016 9:00 AM

End Date

2-4-2016 10:15 AM

Keywords

Hudson River Bracketed, the Delineator, Edith Wharton, Serials/Serialization

Abstract

In 1928, Edith Wharton was at work on her latest novel, which she was convinced was the pinnacle of her career, Hudson River Bracketed. Expecting feedback on her first chapters, she submitted them to Rutger Jewett at Appleton, who soon forwarded the chapters to Oscar Graeve at The Delineator. Graeve immediately began serialization—without Wharton’s knowledge or permission. Wharton was forced to write Hudson River Bracketed in a frenzy, which intensified a life-threatening illness and caused her to experience multiple heart failures, eventually leading to the stroke that took her life in 1937. Hudson River Bracketed was published in book form—before the serialization completed—one week after the 1929 stock market crash, leading to devastating sales and dismissive reviews. The toll this incident took on Wharton’s health and career cannot be overstated, nor can the role of gender. This abuse and exploitation reflect the misogyny of both Wharton’s era and ours: a nearly forgotten story, this incident is absent from accounts of women writers and women’s history, including Gilbert and Gubar. Considering recent abuse of authors such as Harper Lee, Edith Wharton’s serialization debacle must be acknowledged to represent truthfully and thoroughly women’s publishing experiences.

Comments

This paper will use original research from the Beinecke Library at Yale and the Lilly Library at Indiana University, including correspondence and diary entries.

The author will also use a 1928 copy of the Delineator from her private collection.

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Apr 2nd, 9:00 AM Apr 2nd, 10:15 AM

"Edith Wharton, Hudson River Bracketed , and the Serialization Disaster"

Room 223, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

In 1928, Edith Wharton was at work on her latest novel, which she was convinced was the pinnacle of her career, Hudson River Bracketed. Expecting feedback on her first chapters, she submitted them to Rutger Jewett at Appleton, who soon forwarded the chapters to Oscar Graeve at The Delineator. Graeve immediately began serialization—without Wharton’s knowledge or permission. Wharton was forced to write Hudson River Bracketed in a frenzy, which intensified a life-threatening illness and caused her to experience multiple heart failures, eventually leading to the stroke that took her life in 1937. Hudson River Bracketed was published in book form—before the serialization completed—one week after the 1929 stock market crash, leading to devastating sales and dismissive reviews. The toll this incident took on Wharton’s health and career cannot be overstated, nor can the role of gender. This abuse and exploitation reflect the misogyny of both Wharton’s era and ours: a nearly forgotten story, this incident is absent from accounts of women writers and women’s history, including Gilbert and Gubar. Considering recent abuse of authors such as Harper Lee, Edith Wharton’s serialization debacle must be acknowledged to represent truthfully and thoroughly women’s publishing experiences.