“UNAFRAID OF CHANGE”: THE DEVELOPMENT OF EDITH WHARTON’S AUTHORSHIP AND MAGAZINES by Pavlina Pajot M.A., Simon Fraser University, 2012 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES (English) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver) December 2020 © Pavlina Pajot, 2020 ii The following individuals certify that they have read, and recommend to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for acceptance, the dissertation entitled: ‘Unafraid of Change’: The Development of Edith Wharton’s Authorship and Magazines submitted by Pavlina Pajot in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in English Examining Committee: Mary Chapman, Professor, English, UBC Supervisor Michael J. Everton, Associate Professor, English, SFU Supervisory Committee Member Judith Paltin, Assistant Professor, English, UBC Supervisory Committee Member Marlene Briggs, Assistant Professor, English, UBC University Examiner Leslie Paris, Associate Professor, History, UBC University Examiner Ellen G. Garvey, Professor, English, New Jersey City University External Examiner iii Abstract This dissertation, which studies Wharton’s authorship through the lens of her periodical publications and subsequent book revisions, contrary to earlier evaluations of her career, portrays her as a modern writer attuned to the changing literary marketplace and able to cater to diverse audiences. It argues that studying Wharton’s authorship—her “trajectory” (Bourdieu, Field 189)—through her engagement with various periodicals (from the higher-brow Scribner’s Magazine to the middlebrow Pictorial Review and Delineator) and within the context of the American literary field at the turn of the twentieth century offers a more nuanced view of her career as a “series of positions” in the literary arena characterized by the progressive adaptation of her authorship to the marketplace. Examining Wharton’s trajectory through her involvement with periodicals shows her as a writer who in her Scribner’s stage (1904-1913), was, to an extent, still affiliated with genteel values about art reflective of Scribner’s ideology. Then, in the 1920s and early 1930s, during her affiliation with Pictorial Review and Delineator, she became a more commercially successful and critically acclaimed professional who understood how to navigate the changing field. During the later years of the Depression when Wharton’s sales decreased and her work was often rejected by mass magazines, she became a writer out of sync with the demands of the field. In addition to examining Wharton’s changing positions, this dissertation also studies the development of her “disposition” (Bourdieu, “Habitus” 43) regarding artistic compromise—selling one’s art for money. I present a detailed discussion of the magazine versions of her artist stories published in Scribner’s, “The Descent of Man“ (1904), “The Potboiler” (1908), and “The Verdict” (1908); her Pictorial Review ghost/detective stories, “The Temperate Zone” (1924), “Miss Mary Pask” (1925), and “The Young Gentlemen” (1926); and the novels that she iv serialized in Delineator, namely, Hudson River Bracketed (1928-1930) and The Gods Arrive (1932). Wharton employed what I call the authorial strategy of plasticity in her postwar work, which allowed her to simultaneously cater to both the middlebrow readers of women’s magazines and her higher-brow book audience—using textual revisions, unreliable narration/perspectivism, paratext, and genre hybridity/duality/renovation. v Lay Summary This dissertation studies Edith Wharton’s authorship (1862-1937) through her magazine publications in Scribner’s Magazine, Pictorial Review, and Delineator and their subsequent book revisions. As an American woman author at the beginning of the twentieth century, Wharton was in a disadvantaged position within the male-dominated publishing world and consequently developed a series of literary strategies to cater to various audiences in order to become both a commercially successful and a serious author. This project adds another dimension to the previous feminist studies of Wharton’s authorship, which have predominantly examined her career through her biography and gender. Simultaneously, it intervenes into the critical conversation about Wharton and periodicals by focusing on Wharton’s engagement with various magazines throughout her career and within the context of the literary world, to show the increasing adaptability of her authorship to the marketplace. vi Preface This dissertation is original, independent work by the author, Pavlina Pajot. vii Table of Contents Abstract ......................................................................................................................................... iii Lay Summary .................................................................................................................................v Preface ........................................................................................................................................... vi Table of Contents ........................................................................................................................ vii List of Figures ............................................................................................................................... ix Acknowledgements ........................................................................................................................x Chapter 1: Introduction ................................................................................................................1 Chapter 2: The Cultural Guardian and Artistic Compromise: Edith Wharton in Scribner’s Magazine (1904-1913) ..................................................................................................................28 2.1 Wharton at Scribner’s ................................................................................................... 28 2.2 Artistic Compromise and Cultural (D)evolution .......................................................... 37 2.2.1 “The Descent of Man” .............................................................................................. 37 2.2.2 “The Pot-Boiler” ....................................................................................................... 51 2.2.3 “The Verdict” ............................................................................................................ 58 2.3 Wharton’s Changing Disposition and Her Adaptation to the Mass Literary Marketplace .......................................................................................................................................62 Chapter 3: The Middlebrow Wharton in Pictorial Review and the Authorial Strategy of Plasticity in her Ghost/Detective Stories (1924-1926) ...............................................................66 3.1 Wharton in Pictorial Review ......................................................................................... 66 3.2 Authorial Strategy of Plasticity in Wharton’s Ghost/Detective Stories........................ 79 3.2.1 “The Temperate Zone” ............................................................................................. 79 viii 3.2.2 “Miss Mary Pask” ..................................................................................................... 97 3.2.3 “The Young Gentlemen” ........................................................................................ 119 3.3 Wharton’s Disposition: Purist or/and Profiteer and the Idea of Usefulness ............... 141 Chapter 4: Wharton’s Strategic Plastic Authorship: Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive in Delineator, and Their Book Revisions (1928-1932) .................................................146 4.1 Art and Business: Literature and Modern Authorship ............................................... 146 4.2 Publishing History: Rutger B. Jewett, Delineator, and Appleton............................... 155 4.3 Magazine and Book Versions of Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive: Revisions, Paratext, and Genre Renovation ............................................................................ 162 4.3.1 Vance as a (Middlebrow) Reader ........................................................................... 162 4.3.2 Vance’s Bildung ...................................................................................................... 167 4.3.3 Female Characters and Romance ............................................................................ 173 4.3.4 Vance as a Successful (Middlebrow) Author ......................................................... 181 4.4 Wharton’s Business of Authorship and the “Willows” .............................................. 189 Chapter 5: Epilogue/Conclusion ...............................................................................................202 Bibliography ...............................................................................................................................208 ix List of Figures Figure 3.1 Allen, J.E. “The Temperate Zone” Illustration............................................................ 88 Figure 3.2 Brett, Harold. “Miss Mary Pask” Illustration ............................................................ 111 Figure 3.3 Little, Nat. “The Young Gentlemen” Illustration ...................................................... 124 Figure 4.1 Sutter, Henry R. Hudson River Bracketed Illustration .............................................. 169 Figure 4.2 Fay, Clark. The Gods Arrive Illustration ................................................................... 175 x Acknowledgements I am grateful to Dr. Mary Chapman for her support, detailed feedback, patience, and guidance over many years. I feel privileged to have her as my mentor and role model. I am very thankful to Dr. Michael Everton, who believed in this project from the very beginning, for his encouragement, thoughtful feedback, and honesty. Many thanks to Dr. Judith Paltin for her careful reading of my work, thorough comments, and support. I also wish to thank Dr. Suzy Anger for her pedagogic guidance and for helping me to become a better teacher. Special thanks to Christie MacLeod who in the last, hardest years, always provided encouragement along with her fearless professional ability to navigate the system. This project would not have been possible without the kind and helpful assistance of the staff at the Beinecke Library. Adrienne Sharpe’s help was indispensable in getting access to Wharton’s papers. Many thanks to the Interlibrary Loans staff at UBC, who were able to get hard copies of women’s magazines from the 1920s and 1930s for me, which were crucial for this dissertation. This dissertation was completed with financial support from the University of British Columbia, and I am very thankful for this funding. Finalement, je n’aurais pas pu terminer ce projet sans le soutien quotidien et l’amour de mon mari, David. Il a été présent durant toutes ces années quand j’en avais tant besoin et il m’a permis de continuer à voir les choses les plus importantes dans la vie. Tato disertace je věnovaná jemu a mojí rodině, která ve mě vždycky věřila. (Finally, I would not have finished this project without David’s support and love. He has been my rock and helped me to keep things in perspective. This work is dedicated to him and my family, for always believing in me.)1 Chapter 1: Introduction Critics disagree over how to classify Edith Wharton (1862-1937): Was she an upper-class novelist of manners (Nevius; Lindberg), a realist (Showalter; Kaplan), a naturalist (Ohler, Evolutionary Conception; Preston), or a modernist writer (Haytock; Whitehead, “Make It Short”)? In an interview at the end of her life, Wharton mocked efforts to pin down her authorship: “When a critic thinks up a good label for me it lasts about ten years” (qtd. in Rattray, “Contextual Revisions” 7), implying that no single category could capture the complexity of her changing authorship throughout her 60-year career. During her lifetime, Wharton published over 200 novels, novellas, short stories, essays, and poems, yet most scholars of Wharton’s authorship have based their studies on the book versions of her three most famous novels—The House of Mirth (1905), Ethan Frome (1911), and The Age of Innocence (1920)—all of which satisfied a realist literary value standard, while disregarding her later work, which they have criticized as descending into sentimentality (Ammons, Wharton’s Argument x; Hoeller x). Many contemporary literary critics perceive Wharton’s later work as “inferior, written by a woman… as outdated as the dust of old lavender” (Killoran, Critical Reception 2). However, as Heidi M. Kunz notes, the post-war period in which Wharton’s “critical reputation declined was also her period of greatest commercial success” (Context, “Contemporary Reviews” 78). Coinciding with the writing of this project, Melanie V. Dawson and Meredith L. Goldsmith have described Wharton’s authorship as being reflective of the turn toward modernity in the transitional period (1880-1930); they categorize Wharton among other modern writers involved in the era’s “experimentation, negotiation, hybridity, and historical double gestures” (2). They note that many “elite literary thinkers mediated the modern for a broad audience; both high and popular authors sampled literary genres and drew upon the nascent popular cultural 2 discourses of film and print advertising” (2). Most recently, John Nichols notes Wharton’s connection with the middlebrow literary culture and discusses her The Writing of Fiction as standing in between two types of advice books—the middlebrow, popular kind for the “middle-class striver” (79) connected with the marketplace, and the higher-brow version, which stressed “the exclusivity of writing” and “favored a kind of exclusivity in terms of interpretative difficulty (on the part of the reader) and writerly distinction” (81). The “Middlebrow Confluences” panel on which I presented at the Edith Wharton conference in Washington in 2016 engaged in an in-depth conversation about the middlebrow Wharton, a previously largely disregarded topic among literary critics. This dissertation, which studies Wharton’s authorship through the lens of her first periodical publications and their subsequent book revisions, contrary to the critics’ earlier evaluations of her career, portrays her as a modern professional writer attuned to the changing literary marketplace and able to cater to diverse audiences. Because many of Wharton’s novels and short stories first appeared in periodicals before being often significantly revised for book publication1 and because much of her fiction deals with the themes of publication and artistic compromise, this project argues that studying Wharton’s authorship—what sociologist Pierre Bourdieu would term her “trajectory”2 (The Field 189)—through her engagement with various periodicals (from the higher-brow Scribner’s Magazine to the middlebrow Pictorial Review and 1 For example, she toned down sentimental aspects (Lee 427) and rewrote portions of the plot. 2 Unlike a writer’s biography, Bourdieu’s notion of the trajectory deals with “the series of positions successively occupied by the same author in the successive states of literary field” (Bourdieu, The Field 189). The meaning of different stages, the positions an agent occupies, can be comprehended only within the framework of the field’s structure: it includes a writer’s belonging to a certain literary group, his or her choice of a publishing house, and the influence of “journal editorship” decisions on their career (189). 3 Delineator) and within the context of the American literary field at the turn of the twentieth century offers a more nuanced view of her career as a “series of [different] positions” (Bourdieu, The Field 189) in the literary arena characterized by the progressive adaptation of her authorship to the increasingly stratified literary marketplace. As Wharton matured as an author, she insisted that “[o]ne can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change” (A Backward Glance xix). Examining Wharton’s trajectory through her involvement with periodicals reveals her as a writer, who in her Scribner’s stage (1904-1913) was, to an extent, still affiliated with the genteel values about art reflective of her upper-class upbringing and Scribner’s Magazine’s ideology. Then, in the 1920s and early 1930s, she became a more commercially successful and critically acclaimed professional, during her affiliation with Pictorial Review and Delineator when she understood how to navigate the changing literary arena. In the last stage, during the later years of the Depression era when Wharton’s sales decreased and her work was often rejected by mass magazines, she became a writer out of sync with the demands of the field. In addition to examining Wharton’s changing positions in the field, this dissertation also studies the development of her “disposition” (Bourdieu, “Habitus” 43) regarding artistic compromise—selling one’s art for money. To this end, I present a detailed discussion of the magazine versions of her artist stories published in Scribner’s Magazine, that is “The Descent of Man“ (1904), “The Potboiler” (1908), and “The Verdict” (1908); her Pictorial Review ghost/detective stories, “The Temperate Zone” (1924), “Miss Mary Pask” (1925), and “The Young Gentlemen” (1926); and the novels that she serialized in Delineator, namely, Hudson River Bracketed (1928-1930) and The Gods Arrive (1932). While in her Scribner’s artist stories, Wharton portrays writing for profit mostly as an (negative) authorial compromise that 4 contributes to cultural deterioration, during the years following World War I, when she published mainly in mass magazines, such as Pictorial Review in the 1920s and in Delineator in the early 1930s, Wharton actively exploited her celebrity and depicted writing for money often in terms of a positive authorial compromise—a successful strategic adaptation to the changing literary arena. As Wharton matured as an author, her solution to the dilemma of her artist figures of determining ways to survive as highbrows in the changing literary field was the employment of what I call the authorial strategy of plasticity in her postwar work, which allowed her to simultaneously cater to both the middlebrow readers of women’s magazines and her higher-brow book audience—using textual revisions, unreliable narration/perspectivism, paratext, and genre hybridity/duality/“renovat[ion]” (Wharton, The Writing of Fiction 124) to reinforce particular, audience-specific readings of the same works. Wharton refers to the “plasticity” of her works in her essay “The Vice of Reading” (1903), where she states that “[t]he value of books is proportionate to what may be called their plasticity—their quality of being all things to all men” (99). This dissertation shows that the plasticity of many of Wharton’s works (and of her authorship) in the 1920s and 1930s was an intentional authorial strategy, which proves her attunement to the changing literary marketplace. While in her Scribner’s Magazine stories, she often critically depicts artists’ ability to cater to both highbrow and lowbrow audiences, by the time she publishes her Delineator novels, she shows the necessity of such ability for the writer’s survival in the literary field, which was reflective of her own experience as an author. My definition of Wharton’s authorial strategy of 5 plasticity draws on a rich critical conversation on genre hybridity/”renova[tion]”3 and perspectivism/unreliable narration (connected with modernism according to Wharton critics)4 in 3 My theorization of Wharton’s authorial strategy of plasticity (especially its hybridity/genre “renovat[ion]” facet) in her later works builds on Hildegard Hoeller’s argument in Edith Wharton’s Dialogue with Realism and Sentimental Fiction, which first notes Wharton’s employment of genre hybridity. Hoeller demonstrates that Wharton’s oeuvre always comprises both realism and sentimentality, and argues that, for example, The House of Mirth “remains her greatest triumph precisely because of its ability to please critics, publishers, and readers alike (96). […] While readers have loved it as a sentimental story, critics have appreciated it almost exclusively for its satirical realism” (97). According to Hoeller, the dialectic between the “excess” (xii) of feminine sentimental feeling and the masculine “economy” (xiii) of realism remains the underlying trait of Wharton’s fiction throughout her career. Although Hoeller implies that the particular genre hybridity helped Wharton to cater to different audiences, she does not discuss the issue further or think beyond Wharton’s book publications. Other critics note proliferation of genre hybridity in Wharton’s 1920s and 1930s novels and short stories—her employment of multiple genres within a single work. For example, Janet Beer and Avril Horner read Twilight Sleep as a “Gothic Satire,” which “combines the effects of realism with elements of the Gothic mode in order to make distinct her satiric vision” (177). In “This Isn’t Exactly a Ghost Story: Edith Wharton and Parodic Gothic,” they interpret “Miss Mary Pask” as an example of an elaborate intertextual parodic gothic genre instead of a simple ghost story. Beer and Horner understand Wharton’s hybrid and often parodic narratives as a form of hidden critique. They also note that Wharton often ‘renovates’ older types of sentimental narratives to make them more realistic and critical, such as in The Mother’s Recompense, which rewrites Grace Aguilar’s eponymous sentimental novel from 1850 (Sex, Satire, and the Older Woman 32). Along similar lines, Sarah Whitehead notes Wharton’s usage of “renovat[ive] narratives” in her short stories—her “innovative manipulation of traditional forms,” which was a result of “the enforced brevity of the genre and the confining nature of magazine publication” (“Make it Short” 2). Elsewhere she argues that “the material frame influenced Wharton’s narrative strategies in her shorter fiction” and examines how Wharton “successfully subverts the cultural frame in which her texts were placed, using apparent restrictions to add depth and complexity to her stories” (“Breaking the Frame” 43). She provides an example of reading of “Bewitched” in which it is not clear if there was a real ghost of Ora, unlike in the magazine illustration, and mentions a possible ironic reading of “Miss Mary Pask” as a story about women’s aging and loneliness, which, she argues, Pictorial Review packages as a ghost story. 4 In addition to genre hybridity and genre “renovat[ion],” perspectivism and unreliable narration allow Wharton’s work to be read at different levels by different audiences. Several critics imply Wharton’s usage of perspectivism in her later novels and short stories, which demands “an actively interpretative reader” to fill in the gaps in the narrative (Horner and Beer, Sex, Satire, and the Older Woman 3) or “an active reader” (Whitehead, “Make it Short” 2) and link this feature to modernism. More specifically, Jennifer Haytock in Edith Wharton and the Conversations of Literary Modernism, for example, already reads Wharton’s novel The Reef (1912) as Impressionism, which “helped lead to a belief in the truth as an individual perceived it rather than in truth as an external constant” (17). Similarly, in “Marriage and Modernism in Edith Wharton’s Twilight Sleep,” Haytock argues that in The Reef, “Wharton uses the modernist technique of changing and inconsistent points of view to show the conflicts and mysteries in human relationships” (218). Donna Campbell notes Wharton’s usage of perspectivism in her late short stories, “The Looking Glass” (1936) and “The Day of the Funeral” (1933), which are often dismissed by 6 Wharton’s post-war work, but also newly considers the paratextual dimensions of the works’ initial publication venues, her employment of specifically middlebrow features, and the subsequent book revisions for a higher-brow audience. In her post-war work, Wharton employs genre hybridity/duality/”renovat[ion]” in a pragmatic way as a part of her authorial strategy of plasticity—she uses a variety of middlebrow genres (e.g., romance, ghost/detective story, and bildung) to cater to the first magazine audiences of her work. These genres can be read at different levels and she often later revises them for her book publications to reinforce a more higher-brow reading of the same texts. While the Pictorial Review ghost/detective stories rely more on perspectivism/unreliable narration, genre hybridity/”renovat[ion]”, paratext, and, to a lesser extent, on textual revisions to target both the magazine and, later, the book readers, the Delineator novels rely most heavily on revisions along with the other elements of the authorial strategy of plasticity. This dissertation’s narrative arc, which follows the progressive adaptation of Wharton’s authorship to the literary marketplace, complicates accounts of Wharton’s lifelong ambivalent relationship with mass culture (Ohler, “Forms of Ambivalence”; Boswell) and portrays her as an author whose career was, in fact, dependent on the very literary mass marketplace she often literary critics for their “distasteful humor” because of their combination of “humor, horror, and pity,” and which she compares to Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio and its “grotesque realism” (1). Despite the different genres, in both cases “fidelity to a single transcendent truth, like adherence to a single standard of reality, is undermined through ironically rendered perceptions of the characters…The nature of truth is never certain, as the nature of the spectral world in the ghost stories is rarely definite” (2). Whitehead notes Wharton’s employment of “unreliable narration,” which includes “fragmentary and ambiguous” narrators who provide an “imperfect [,…] incomplete vision” already evident in her earlier work (“Make it Short” 2). She argues that Wharton’s “refusal to offer authorial judgment” puts more pressure on the reader to “recognize inconsistencies and ironies” and “fill in the gaps of her often fragmentary narratives” (3). 7 critiqued in her essays.5 My project builds on and extends two major critical conversations about Wharton’s authorship—those of feminist critics and of print-culture scholars studying periodicals. Feminist critics in the 1970s and in the 1980s canonized Wharton by articulating her authorship as a narrative of transformation from a lady-novelist of manners to a highbrow realist/naturalist author. The second-wave feminist critics formulated the progressive narrative for Wharton within a larger, specifically female literary canon, redefining her as something more than a mere imitator of Henry James. According to them, Wharton, in becoming a professional writer, triumphantly stepped out of the private domestic feminine sphere into a public realm governed by male publishers, markets, and popular readerships, overcoming her gender and class conditioning to conquer her “anxiety of authorship” (Gilbert and Gubar 51) and become, as it were, the author of her life. In addition to securing her financial independence, the writing and publication of her novels, travelogues, and short stories were the means by which Wharton created an identity different from that of a high-society hostess (Kaplan 67). Becoming an author, Wharton transformed first from a mid-nineteenth century True Woman into a turn-of-the-century New Woman, and then from a literary outsider into an establishment writer par excellence, winning the Pulitzer Prize for The Age of Innocence in 1921 and becoming a Nobel Prize nominee in 1927, 1928, and 1930. Elaine Showalter’s 1985 article “The Death of the Lady (Novelist)” provides a famous example of the progressive critique celebrating this metamorphosis. Showalter connects 5 See, for example, Wharton’s The Writing of Fiction (1925), “The Great American Novel” (1927), “Permanent Values in Fiction” (1934), A Backward Glance (1934). 8 Wharton’s maturation as a professional writer to the death of Lily Bart in The House of Mirth (1905). Lily, the heroine, is unable to adjust to the changing environment, dying to give space to the New Women (independent and fearless), as exemplified by characters such as Gerty Farish and Nettie Struther. Showalter asserts that Lily’s death signifies Wharton’s overcoming of the lady-novelist in her—the part that questioned writing as a suitable profession for women, the part that denied self-expression. When the lady-novelist dies, the new professional author emerges. Although increasingly informed by complex historical analysis and paying more attention to the definitions and construction of traditionally male and female modes of authorship, much subsequent criticism is more or less a variation on this theme. In The Social Construction of American Realism (1988), for example, Amy Kaplan argued that through the profession of authorship, Wharton rebelled against the role of an upper-class woman who was supposed to be a passive consumer of goods rather than their producer (68).6 Further, a more recent example, Dianne L. Chambers’ Feminist Readings of Edith Wharton: From Silence to 6 However, Kaplan also mentions the different modes of authorship against which Wharton defined herself as a professional realist writer thus beginning the conversation about Wharton’s authorship within the context of the era’s literary field. She argues that considering Wharton a realist writer “provides a strategy for defining the nature of the producer and her work” (66). Wharton, like William D. Howells, considered writing not a leisure activity, but a profession. By choosing realism as her means of expression, she defined herself against the “idealism of genteel culture” (66) and “the sentimentalism of mass culture” (66). According to Kaplan, Wharton’s work challenges and blurs the distinction between the binary oppositions of male/female, private/public, and home/business, which “arise from and collapse into the medium of the market” (67). Considering authorship a profession, Wharton rebelled not only against the “genteel models of authorship” (68), which considered writing a leisure activity, but also, as a woman, against the role of a lady, whose function was that of an ornamental consumer. By her endeavor, she distinguished herself from the earlier generation of American women writers of sentimental and domestic fiction, many of whom considered writing an amateur activity, “an extension of woman’s work at home” (70). In The Decoration of Houses, for example, Wharton argues that interior designing requires the “externalizing [of] the self onto surrounding objects” (78), which, in Kaplan’s view, represented the shift of woman’s work from the “conspicuous consumption” to the “construction” (78). Becoming a professional writer, a “celebrity” (82), meant to present, sell one’s identity to the market where the distinction between the private and the public blurs. 9 Speech (2009), asserts that “the paradox between Wharton the author and the silenced protagonists of her novels points to the multiple challenges of authorship” (10) encountered by turn-of-the-century women authors. For Chambers, as for Kaplan and Showalter, Wharton “embodies and delineates the cultural conflicts over male and female roles” (Chambers 3). Although Chambers is, after Kaplan, one of the first feminist critics to connect Wharton’s authorship to her field of cultural production, and although she bridges the gap between second-wave and third-wave feminist literary critique through Julia Kristeva’s concept of the “speaking subject” (women telling their own stories), she still, to an extent, interprets Wharton along the classic lines of overcoming the inner woman/writer conflict (25). Although the gender perspective is indispensable to our understanding of Wharton’s authorship, the feminist progressive narrative reads her authorship one-dimensionally through biography (especially through the prisms of gender and class) and often fails to take into account her complex responses to the changing literary arena, influenced by the magazine revolution and introduction of the corporate style of publishing in the 1890s. This traditional feminist approach cannot fully explain Wharton’s ambivalent relationship toward the mass literary marketplace, as conveyed in her essays and letters, and her simultaneous active engagement with it, her efforts to distance herself from other women authors, and the ways in which her writing style varied for different print-cultural milieux. Susan Williams’s Reclaiming Authorship: Literary Women in America 1850−1900 (2006) opens space for a more dialectical study of individual authors’ positions and dispositions in the field (neither of which are as consistent as the progressive 10 narrative suggests) by arguing that theorists of women’s authorship7 must transcend the binary categories of “the high and the popular[,] the male and the female” (16). In her analyses of nineteenth-century American women writers Maria Cummins, Louisa May Alcott, and Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Williams engages at the biographical level in a less prescriptive and essentialist way and pays attention to models of subjectivity unique to particular writers. My project responds to the recent call from critics, such as Williams and Melissa Homestead, for more studies of women writers’ individual trajectories. Recently, scholars have begun to focus on Wharton from the perspective of periodical studies.8 Due to the ephemerality of magazines and the collective nature of their authorship, periodicals are more attuned to, and reflective of, the changing field of cultural production and the particular socio-economic conditions that informed their politics in different periods. In “Selling Edith Wharton: Illustration, Advertising, and Pictorial Review, 1924-1925” (2001), for example, Edith Thornton analyzes the serialized The Mother’s Recompense and contends that the “illustration, advertising, and promotion copy” encouraged readers to focus on the “tie between youth, fashion, and female heterosexuality” (29). According to Thornton, Wharton’s serial critiques the youth-centered magazine context in which it first appeared by rendering 7 On the American female literary tradition of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries, see, for example: Gilbert, Sandra M. and Susan Gubar. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination; Harris, Susan K. Nineteenth-Century American Women’s Novels: Interpretative Strategies; Kelley, Mary. Private Woman, Public Stage: Literary Domesticity in Nineteenth-Century America; and Showalter, Elaine. A Jury of Her Peers: American Women Writers from Anne Bradstreet to Annie Proulx. 8 Sean Latham and Robert Scholes’ “The Rise of Periodical Studies” (2006) article is a pioneering exploration of the field. Jean Marie Lutes also provides a useful overview of this new recovery methodology in “Beyond the Bound of the Book: Periodical Studies and Women Writers of the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries,” published in Legacy in 2010. 11 protagonist Kate as a mature heroine who is sexually attractive in her early forties (30). Conversely, the magazine’s illustrations depict Kate as much younger to fit the magazine’s female youth-and-beauty master narrative (31-32). In ‘“Innocence’ Consumed: Packaging Edith Wharton with Kathleen Norris in Pictorial Review Magazine, 1920–1921” (2005), Thornton argues that the magazine advertised Wharton’s highbrow realistic The Age of Innocence as a serial next to Norris’ The Beloved Woman, a lower-brow popular romance/melodrama, to achieve “an idealized ‘middle ground’ to appeal to the broadest possible readership” (29). Thornton notes that both serials were promoted by editor Arthur Vance as dealing with similar real-life concerns; in publishing The Age of Innocence, he encouraged the readers’ focus on “heroine, the plot, and mystery” and on the issues of “marriage, infidelity, and divorce” (30). On a more general level, Thornton’s article examines “the friction between magazine editors, illustrators, art directors, and authors as a case study of the conflicts of modernity” and discusses Wharton’s “frustrated” position within these wars for “interpretative authority” (29). For example, the illustrations, Thornton argues, betrayed the editor’s middling policy by using a more static old-fashioned picture style to accompany Wharton’s serial and a more lively “cinematic” style to accompany Norris’ text (30). Along similar lines, Sarah Whitehead, in “Breaking the Frame: How Edith Wharton’s Short Stories Subvert Their Magazine Context” (2008), focuses on Wharton’s attempts to retain her authorial freedom despite the pressure from magazine editors to alter her stories. She argues that Wharton, aware of the “material frame” of the magazines in which her stories first appeared, writes against the narrative frameworks of the magazines in which the short stories were first published often through irony, satire, and unreliable narration (43). Gianfranca Balestra in “’For the Use of Magazine Morons’: Edith Wharton Rewrites the Tale of the Fantastic” (1996) discusses the “commercial compromise” that 12 Wharton complained about in her correspondence with Rutger B. Jewett and her literary agent in the 1930s Eric S. Pinker—the rewriting of the endings of “Pomegranate Seed” (1931) at the request of the Ladies’ Home Journal editor and “All Souls” (1937) at the request of Pinker to make them more straightforward and less ambiguous to cater to the “magazine morons,” as Wharton called her magazine readers in the 1930s when she was struggling with the declining sales of her work (21). The publication of The Correspondence of Edith Wharton and Macmillan (2007), edited by Shafquat Towheed, has carved a path toward further analysis of Wharton’s authorship from the perspective of publishing history. Recently, the Book and Publishing History section in Edith Wharton in Context (2012) summarized and opened up the topic of Wharton’s authorship and print culture through helpful overview sections on Wharton’s relationships with her editors, her engagement with short story markets, her serializations, and, in general, her relationship with the literary marketplace. Finally, Paul Ohler’s “Digital Resources and the Magazine Context of Edith Wharton’s Short Stories” (2015) provides a useful overview of the digitization of magazines in which Wharton’s stories first appeared and, drawing on Whitehead, argues for the importance of considering the magazine’s “frame” (62), which often provides an additional satirical perspective on the original text. For example, in “The Blond Beast” (1910), published along with Theodore Roosevelt’s imperialistic travelogues in Scribner’s Magazine, Wharton “delicately questions its value as a personal and political doctrine” (64). While critics, such as Ohler, Thornton, and Whitehead, focus on Wharton’s satire and the subversive potential of the narrative within its magazine milieu, my argument mainly focuses on the ways in which she also catered to her magazine and book audiences, a topic mostly undiscussed by Wharton critics. For example, while “The Blond Beast”, when read paratextually, conveys an anti-imperialist and 13 anti-racist message and thus challenges Scribner’s Magazine’s master narrative (Ohler), simultaneously, for example, Wharton’s “The Bolted Door” published in 1909 in Scribner’s draws on the magazine’s anti-immigration sentiment and includes a Southern Italian character who is portrayed as a villain because of his ethnic background. Ohler summarizes scholarship on Wharton’s magazine publications; he pays particular attention to magazine illustrations and discusses the satire present in Wharton’s early artist stories, such as “The Descent of Man, “Expiation” (1904), and a later story, “Writing a War Story” (published in Women’s Home Companion in 1919), which mocks an amateur female writer’s attempt at writing a formulaic fiction piece for a woman’s magazine that eventually gains popularity only owing to the photographic portrait of the pretty author that accompanies the text (67). In conversation with Sharon Shaloo, who argues that Scribner’s Magazine embraced the idea of “honest commercialism” (qtd. in “Digital Resources” 69), Ohler notes that the paratextual reading of the artist stories “provides access to the tension between art and commerce, which Wharton negotiated with” but does not discuss the issue further (69). Building on Thornton’s article on the serialization of The Age of Innocence in Pictorial Review, Ohler interprets Wharton’s employment of satire in her early short stories as a way of writing against the magazine frame and her attempt at “educat[ing]” (Ohler 69-70) the “mechanical reader” (qtd. in Ohler 70; “The Vice of Reading” [Wharton 99]). Continuing the critical conversation on Wharton and periodicals, this dissertation comparatively examines Wharton’s authorship from the perspective of her changing positions and strategies within the literary field and within particular print-cultural environments. My argument, unlike those of many earlier studies on Wharton and periodicals, which have focused on Wharton’s lack of authorial agency (Thornton, Balestra) within the magazine context, 14 extends the conversation (Whitehead, Ohler) that considers Wharton’s authorial intention in periodicals and her book publications. I focus on the various ways in which Wharton catered to particular audiences—from the higher-brow audience of Scribner’s Magazine before the First World War to the middlebrow one of Pictorial Review and Delineator in the 1920s and the higher-brow reading public of the book versions of her novels and collected short stories. This dissertation—which happily coincides with the issuing of the Oxford scholarly edition of Wharton’s collected works—contributes to conversations about the relationships between authors and the literary field and discussions of Wharton’s authorship within the periodical context of her first publications. While most critics, after Wharton’s death, viewed her as an upper-class woman writer of manners who maintained her nineteenth-century thought, style, and characterization despite living for 37 years in the twentieth century (Joslin 204), this project provides a more complete picture of Wharton’s evolving modern authorship by showing her navigation of the changing literary field of her era. It portrays Wharton as an author who reacted to the changes in the socioeconomic field characterized by shifting gender roles, the decline of upper-class power after the War, the rise of the middle class, the Depression, and the changes within the literary field itself that reflected those socioeconomic changes. Owing to technological advances in publishing, cheap mass-circulating magazines (e.g., Pictorial Review and Delineator), which depended largely on revenues from advertising and which targeted middle-class female consumers, replaced the older-style quality magazines (e.g., Scribner’s Magazine), which had cultural capital and were affiliated with Wharton’s higher-brow social milieu. Chapter Two will discuss in greater detail the mass magazine revolution at the turn of the twentieth century and the difference between quality magazines and the new middlebrow magazines. While the more 15 traditional publishers affiliated themselves with quality book publications promoted through their own monthly magazines, such as Scribner’s Magazine, the new more corporate publishers treated books as any other commodity and operated their firms more openly as business ventures. Whereas the more conservative publishers were more author-oriented, the progressive publishers focused on the new readers and their tastes and produced more consumer-driven literature (Becnel 6). From the 1920s to the 1940s, the publishing business increasingly embraced corporate practices, treating their publications as items of consumption, which resulted in “strict categorization of audiences, writers, and works” into various groups (1). In the 1920s, publishing began to use marketing techniques for purposes that included creation of particular brands and targeted promotion (11). The corporate style of publishing divided the American literary marketplace into distinct brows, introducing the middlebrow category at the beginning of the twentieth century (2)9. Many authors were marketed within a particular “brow” category (2). 9 The term “middlebrow” appeared in the 1920s when the middle class acquired significant economic, social, and cultural influence. For print culture scholar Lise Jaillant, middlebrow originally referred to “someone with high intellectual or aesthetic aspirations, but who lacked the cultural capital [and education] necessary to understand high art” (5). The acquisition of highbrow culture was closely connected with the possibility of upward mobility, which became one of the central preoccupations of members of this class. A new group of experts presented themselves as mediators who could translate the subtleties of the refined tastes and manners that the middle class needed to climb the social ladder. In addition to experts, self-help and etiquette books were popular means of social and cultural self-education. Amy Blair explores the concept of the middle classes “reading up”; that is, reading high-brow (realist) literature (e.g., Howells, James, Wharton) as a means of social advancement. Blair examines the phenomenon through the figure of Hamilton Wright Mabie, a literary advisor for Ladies’ Home Journal (a popular middle-class magazine) for over a decade. Mabie’s columns performed a dual function: they offered practical advice on how to establish a “reading habit”, and provided guidance for the already converted readers on which books to buy. Mabie’s aim was to make serious, realist literature attractive and accessible to middle-class readers. For Blair, “reading up” is synonymous with misreading” (11); that is, interpreting the book in a simplified manner that caters to the tastes of readers with little formal literary or aesthetic education, who are naturally drawn to the sentimental novel and romance genre (10). For example, Mabie interprets Howells’ The Rise of Silas Lapham as a romance; defends Wharton’s The House of Mirth as a critique of a part of high society that opposes the pristine majority; and recommends James’ earlier, more reader-friendly novels. 16 Drawing on the stratification logic of the literary field, for example, The-Book-of-the-Month Club judges, while acknowledging the existence of a “special aesthetic category called Literature” (Radway, A Feeling for Books 273), divided publications into different planes (aristocratic, democratic, dilettante, and bourgeois) that they used for promotion purposes (Hutner 16). My theorization of Wharton’s authorship in the literary field of the turn of the twentieth century draws on the methodology of print culture studies, which examines material and immaterial facets of the book (broadly defined as any sort of text, printed or verbal) and its cultural context. The print-cultural framework deals with the whole circuit of production and dissemination of text—from its composition by an author, through marketing by the publisher, through further handling by the shipper and the bookseller, to its reception by the reader, who in turn influences the writer. More specifically, my view of Wharton’s authorship draws on Pierre Bourdieu’s literary sociology (theorized in The Field of Cultural Production), especially his notions of the literary field and an author’s trajectory, or her shifting habitus, throughout her career.10 The field methodology allows for the contemplation of all literary actors and Other critics argue that the term denotes writing that did not fit easily into the highbrow/lowbrow binary (Botshon and Goldsmith). For Catherine Keyser, the middlebrow refers more to “mass-market venues and middle-class audiences than to formal characteristics of literary style” (9). Nicola Humble argues that the middlebrow is defined through its middle-class subject matter—its preoccupation with the themes of “class, the home, gender, […] the family” (3), and marriage. Both Keyser and Humble note that the middlebrow is inherently a “hybrid form” (Keyser 9; Humble 4) composed of different genres, for instance, “the romance…[,] domestic and family narratives…[,] detective [stories], children’s literature[, and] the adolescent Bildungsroman” (Humble 4). 10 Peter D. McDonald’s application of Bourdieu’s literary sociology in his essays and books (e.g., British Literary Culture and Publishing Practice, 1880-1915 [Cambridge UP, 1997]) inspires my own work on turn-of-the-twentieth-century American literary culture and Wharton’s different positions within that culture. Habitus is a key element of what McDonald calls the vertical axis of the literary field (“Implicit Structures” 111). As he asserts, adding the vertical, “synchronic” perspective to the “diachronic” 17 institutions in relational terms—an agent’s position always is dependent on, and influences, others who struggle to gain power in the literary arena through the acquisition of economic and symbolic capital, measured through the level of acquired prestige in the literary world. Understanding hierarchies that distinguished certain authors, publishers, genres, and readers from others helps explain why Wharton, who strived for both economic success and critical appraisal, was, throughout her career, preoccupied with authorial compromise—whether an artist should affiliate his/her work with monetary gain or with cultural capital and the highbrow standing of a serious (male) artist in the literary field—both in her fiction and non-fiction. She resolved the dilemma of her artistic compromise by becoming strategically polybrow owing to her authorial strategy of plasticity in the 1920s and 1930s. Pierre Bourdieu’s theorization of the French literary field of the nineteenth century in terms of its constitutive opposing principles and Peter D. McDonald’s application of Bourdieu’s literary sociology and its competing binaries to map the British literary culture of the turn of the twentieth century provide a useful approach to the study of the American literary field in the transitional period, which consisted of similar competing binary oppositions, oppositions that go a long way toward explaining Wharton’s literary career. From Bourdieu’s perspective, even though the literary field is informed by history and is thus different in various periods and countries, it is always autonomous and governed by its own laws. This field is by no means horizontal perspective of Robert Darnton’s “communications circuit” allows for reading literary agents not only in terms of their “function in the process of material production and distribution” but also through their “status” in the field (111). Unlike Darnton’s model, which underestimates the impact of socio-economic forces on the processes of literary production and reception, the vertical dimension representing Bourdieu’s literary field takes into account agents’ social history. The external socio-economic events have only limited impact upon the arena, and their influence is always mediated through the workings of the field (Bourdieu, The Field 164). 18 stable or unified; it is built upon two competing forces: The “autonomous” (The Field, 40) and the “heteronomous principle[s]” (40). Whereas the former represents the production of “art for art’s sake” (40) (i.e., art produced for other artists and critics, who, having acquired special training, will understand its references and style), the latter stands for the artistic production dictated by the pre-existing demand of the market and its mass audience. McDonald aptly names the two camps of practitioners “the purists” and “the profiteers” (McDonald, Literary Culture 14), terms that I will often employ in my discussion of Wharton’s artist stories and novels. These two camps differ in their notions of value: For “the purists” (14), the value of a work of art lies in the realm of the “symbolic” (Bourdieu, The Field 75), cultural capital, while for the “profiteers” (McDonald, Literary Culture 14), the value is monetary. The “autonomous” pole employs a reverse economic logic: success in economic terms within this domain signifies failure in terms of artistic achievement. The second binary, “the consecrated writers” (Bourdieu, The Field 60) versus the “avant-garde” (60) or, in McDonald’s terminology the “newcomer[s]” (McDonald, Literary Culture 30), comprises the old and the new writers at a given time (15). According to this binary, established writers are the more powerful agents within the field. The avant-garde writers, in their turn, however, strive for recognition and acknowledgment; they often want to start new artistic trends in order to create and control new kinds of cultural capital. Indeed, the very existence of the cultural capital is possible because of what Bourdieu calls the “hierarchical structure of the field itself” (McDonald, Literary Culture 12): What “makes reputations” is not […] this or that “influential” person, this or that institution, review, magazine, academy, coterie, dealer or publisher […] it is the field of production, understood as the system of objective relations between these agents or institutions and as the site of struggles for the monopoly of the 19 power to consecrate, in which the value of works of art and belief in that value are continuously generated. (Bourdieu, The Field 78) The literary-field perspective accounts for these “objective relations,” revealing an agent’s status, or his or her standing among other players in the field (McDonald, Literary Culture 12). Wharton’s construction of authorship was informed by the field’s struggle between the women writers, who in Wharton’s period strived to acquire cultural capital and literary status in the literary arena; the relative “newcomers” (McDonald, Literary Culture 30) within the autonomous domain of production (but well-established within the heteronomous domain); and the white, male literary establishment, those Bourdieu would call the “consecrated writers,” who were the more powerful agents in the literary arena (Bourdieu, The Field 60). This gendered binary was in place already in the nineteenth century (and even before). Under coverture and before the introduction of the 1831 Copyright Act, women, who were “doubly distanced” from literary proprietorship (Homestead, Literary Property viii); although they thrived in the literary marketplace in terms of sales, they had little professional standing, protection, or cultural capital in the field. Despite the fact that in 1872 three quarters of all published books were written by women (Coultrap-McQuinn 2), and even though these women had significant readership, the literary reviews of the period more or less undervalued them, although to a lesser extent than they did before the Civil War. (In fact, reviews largely undervalued women writers until the 1970s.) As Chambers notes in her study of female authorship at the turn of the twentieth century, even if a woman writer became successful, she would still be “dismissed as a second-rate precisely because she wrote ‘like a woman’” (30). To be taken seriously, writers such as Wharton and Willa Cather adopted male literary personae (Deborah Williams 175). As Wharton acknowledges in a letter to her friend Robert Grant, “I conceive my subjects like a man—that is, rather more architectonically 20 and dramatically than most women—and then execute them like a woman” (Lewis, Letters 124). A position of an authorial agent within the literary field is defined in terms of her status within the arena. Each position is built upon another’s disposition—the field is the site of struggle over the “definition” of real authorship (Bourdieu, The Field 42).11 The US turn-of-the-century literary establishment—composed largely of male authors, grammarians, editors, and publishers—possessed the “capital of consecration” (75) and maintained its position discursively through a series of binary oppositions. While the feminine stood for “the weak, the submissive, the inferior” (Nettels, Language and Gender 5) and in writing for “sensitive, […] graceful” (6), and “lowbrow” (7), the masculine represented “the strong, the dominant, the superior” (5) and was connected with a “vigour[ous]” and “manly” literary style (6). Wharton represents a generation of American women writers at the turn of the twentieth century who strived to become serious, canonized authors instead of popular writers of sentimental fiction like their predecessors in the 1850s and the (feminine and sentimental) local colorists who came after them, as the male literary establishment defined them. As Elizabeth Ammons explains in Conflicting Stories (1992), her study of women writers of the turn of the twentieth century, women like Wharton, Willa Cather, and Constance Fenimore Woolson, strived to become not mere “writers” (10), but real “artists” (10).12 These women found themselves somewhere between 11 Bourdieu elaborates: “It is the struggle between the dominant and the aspirants, between those who hold titles (of writers, […]) and their challengers […] that constitutes the history of the field. The social ageing of authors, schools, and works result from the struggle between those who have made their mark (by producing a new position in the field) and who are fighting to persist (to become classics) and those who cannot make their own mark without pushing into the past those who have an interest in eternalizing the present state of affairs and in stopping the course of history” (The Field 187). 12 Ammons distinguishes between “writers,” for whom writing remained a leisure time activity, compatible with their domestic duties, and “artists.” For the latter, as she shows in the cases of the chosen women writers, marriage and motherhood were not compatible with the role of artist (9). 21 their mothers’ world, which they struggled to leave behind, and the world they had not reached yet, the one of “the privileged white male artist” (10). Along similar lines, Anne E. Boyd in Writing for Immortality (2004) explores women’s attempts to negotiate the woman-and-artist binary and to deconstruct the definition of “genius” as always already male in the works of post-bellum women authors (Louisa May Alcott, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Elizabeth Stoddard, and Woolson) (11). Different literary genres had varying degrees of cultural capital in the literary field and were often gendered. In Wharton’s era, women writers were still associated with sentimental and local color literature (and with what became known as the middlebrow genre), while the white male literary establishment that possessed cultural capital was connected with the higher-brow genres of realism, naturalism (and, later, with modernism).13 It is not surprising, then, that Wharton, who strived to be considered a serious author—she wanted to acquire literary prestige—publicly embraced realism while also distancing herself from the non-canonized tradition of “local colorists” such as Sarah Orne Jewett, and the feminine sentimental style of the domestic fiction of her predecessors. Analyzing the two modes from the perspective of the field reveals their varying degree of cultural capital, which for Wharton, the newcomer, was a crucial consideration. After all, it is sentimentalism against which realism constructed itself as highbrow (Blair 12). As Nancy Glazener explains, even though both realism and sentimentalism are based 13 In Resisting Regionalism: Gender and Naturalism in American Fiction, 1885-1915, Donna M. Campbell argues that naturalism defined itself as masculine against the presumably more feminine regionalism. 22 on “deploying feminized capacities for observation and empathy”, realist writing would avoid the addictiveness associated with sentimentalism (96). In fact, turn-of-the-century realist author William Dean Howells defined his version of realism against the sentimental, lowbrow feminine literature. 1980s cultural theorist Andreas Huyssen argued that later post-war high modernism still operated in terms of this binary—it constructed itself against mass culture, which for (male) high modernists was connected with women writers. Understanding the complexity of Wharton’s authorship and her magazine work requires analyzing her “habitus” (Bourdieu, The Field 161)—that is, her “sense of [her] (and others’) place and role in the world of [her] lived environment” (Hillier and Rooksby 21) that is “an embodied, as well as a cognitive, sense of place” within the American literary field of the turn of the twentieth century and her attitude toward that place. Bourdieu defines habitus as “a system of dispositions, that is of permanent manners of being, seeing, acting and thinking, or a system of long-lasting (rather than permanent) schemes or schemata or structures of perception, conception and action” (Bourdieu, “Habitus” 43). Habitus is not something essential and innate. Rather, it is acquired through one’s social conditioning. Even though “dispositions are long-lasting,” they are not “eternal” and can be changed through “new experiences, education or training” (45). In other words, Bourdieu allows for the possibility of restructuring one’s habitus and thus identity. From a theoretical point of view, the concept of habitus bridges the gap between essentialist and poststructuralist notions of identity, between subjectivism and objectivism. It allows for a subject’s agency—her action and, to an extent, intuitive strategizing within the given social structure. Habitus consists of a writer’s positions within this structure; her dispositions, or her comprehension of these positions within it; and even her “trajectory” through it (Bourdieu, The Field 189). Bourdieu’s notion of strategy allows for an analysis of the 23 development of Wharton’s authorship in relation to the adaptation of her habitus to her print-cultural surroundings. As Bourdieu’s translator Randal Johnson explains, authorial “agents’ strategies are a function of the convergence of position and position-taking mediated by habitus” (17). Strategy is a result of the adjustment of a writer’s disposition to objective positions in the field s/he occupies. Strategy, unlike simply following rules, includes a temporal dimension (with an “uncertainty” about results) that will be brought to the authorial agent herself/himself “over time” (Swartz 99). I assert that to understand Wharton’s authorship, we need to analyze her changing habitus—her shifting positions within the literary field (as represented by different print-cultural milieux) and her attitude toward those positions. An authorial agent’s adaptation to the literary arena is, to an extent, an unconscious process that can bring anxiety caused by the temporary disconnection of one’s habitus from the abruptly changed field to which the literary agent has not yet adapted. Bourdieu scholar David Swartz explains that this temporary state results in what Bourdieu calls the “hysteresis effect” (qtd. in Swartz 112) or “a structural lag between aspiration and changing opportunities” (Swartz 112). The method of attending to habitus adds another dimension to orthodox feminist approaches to Wharton and their progressive narrative of her authorship, and it simultaneously contributes to the growing body of scholarship on Wharton’s involvement with her contemporary print culture. More generally, the habitus approach also expands the new field of periodical studies by providing an innovative perspective on the study of female authorship. More practically, my method consists of reading Wharton’s fictional works paratextually within the context of their first publication in the three magazines, Scribner’s Magazine, Pictorial Review and Delineator, magazines for which Wharton’s awareness of her target audiences is most explicit, especially when compared with the later revised book versions of the 24 same texts. I comprehend Wharton’s texts as a process and study the magazine and book versions of her (post-war) works as acts of what Robin Schulze calls “authorial selection” (12) that reflect her possible temporary authorial intention within the context of the particular period and the print-cultural medium in which the text appears (12).14 As Schulze explains, the concept of “authorial selection” allows for “the incorporation of nonauthorial agency into the notion of authorial intention,” such as editorial interventions; however, it still takes into account that the author selects a specific version of their text for a specific “readership” (12).15 Analyzing the magazine and book versions of Wharton’s texts, her correspondence with publishers and editors, her manuscripts (at the Beinecke Library), reviews of her work, the dialogue between individual literary texts (their themes and characters) and the periodicals’ master narratives that are connected with particular “interpretive communit[ies]” (Fish 457)—composed of individuals who “share [common] interpretative strategies” (457)16—I examine how Wharton navigated the 14 This study of Wharton’s habitus in relation to magazine authorship builds on D. F. McKenzie’s view of bibliography as “the study of the sociology of texts” (“The Book as an Expressive Form” 37). McKenzie criticizes the older school of bibliography (represented by Fredson Bowers and W.W. Greg), which was preoccupied solely with the physical aspects of the book and excluded social history from its domain. These New Critics searched for the final and definitive version of an author’s text that would most clearly express his/her authorial intention. By contrast, McKenzie understands texts as a collaborative process; with each new reading, a new text is created by the reader. McKenzie’s approach is crucial in understanding a text as an event that is alive and connected with the whole field of literary production; however, it is limited by its complete disregard of authorial intention. Schulze’s notion of “authorial selection” bridges these two contradictory perspectives and is useful in examination of Wharton’s texts written for different audiences, especially in the post-war period (12). 15 The notion of “authorial selection” works well with reader-response critic Steven Mailloux’s idea of “inferred intention,” which he explains as “author and reader meet[ing] the ground of shared literary and interpretative conventions[; t]he author performs a text with a socially driven sense of the effects his [or her] literary actions will achieve upon a projected reader” (11-12). Mailloux’s reader-response theory, unlike other reader-response theories, does not dismiss authorial intention. 16 The individuals “share interpretive strategies not for reading (in the conventional sense) but for writing texts, for constituting their properties and assigning their intentions […;] these strategies exist prior to the act of reading and therefore determine the shape of what is read rather than, as is usually assumed, the 25 literary field to gain both cultural and economic capital and how her attitude toward the literary marketplace developed. Individual dissertation chapters not only discuss Wharton’s authorship and her depiction of authorial compromise and print culture through themes and characters (many of whom are writers negotiating the marketplace, readers, and publishers) but also study the extra-literary dimension of Wharton’s works, analyzing the composition, production, and circulation of texts and the paratext, and audiences of individual magazines. Chapter Two, “The Cultural Guardian and Artistic Compromise: Wharton in Scribner’s Magazine (1904-1913),” analyzes Wharton’s artist stories published in the pre-war higher-brow magazine Scribner’s that deal with artistic (“profiteer”) compromise: “The Descent of Man” (1904), “The Pot-Boiler” (1904), and “The Verdict” (1908). Scribner’s was a magazine connected with upper-class guardians of “Culture” who felt threatened by immigration, democratization, and mass culture. This chapter argues that the early stories Wharton published in Scribner’s are reflective of her early “newcomer” and conservative (“purist”) position in the literary field characterized by her adoption of a male (realist) literary persona and her own struggle with authorial compromise and her changing “disposition.” Chapter Three, “The Middlebrow Wharton in Pictorial Review and her Authorial Strategy of Plasticity (1924-1926),” focuses on Wharton’s hybrid ghost/detective stories other way around” (Fish 457). These techniques are not “universal” (457) but rather are artificially created and “learned” (457). Through the notion of “interpretive communities,” Fish explains the possibility of the existence of different readings of the same text—readers perform different reading acts due to their employment of different sets of interpretive strategies. 26 published in the middlebrow Pictorial Review in 1924-1926: “The Temperate Zone” (1924), “Miss Mary Pask” (1925), and “The Young Gentlemen” (1926). It studies Wharton’s employment of the authorial strategy of plasticity in these stories’ magazine (and book) versions characterized by her employment of the dual ghost story/detective story genre, unreliable narration/perspectivism, revisions, and female characters that can be interpreted at different levels when read paratextually within particular print-cultural frameworks. By the 1920s, Wharton had learned how to navigate the stratified literary field and to address both middlebrow periodical readers and higher-brow book audiences. Chapter Four, “Wharton’s Modern Plastic Authorship: Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive in Delineator and Their Book Revisions (1928-1932),” analyzes Vance Weston’s künstlerroman. Doing comparative readings of the manuscripts, the magazine, and the revised book versions of Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive allows me to demonstrate Wharton’s ability to cater to both her middlebrow magazine and her higher-brow book readers. While the Delineator version of Hudson River Bracketed stresses Vance Weston’s middlebrow (“profiteer”) authorship connected with the mass literary marketplace and portrays his literary apprenticeship as a successful social-climbing middle-class bildung narrative, the Appleton book revision depicts him as a struggling figure of a literary genius, who, nevertheless, by the later stage of his life depicted in the sequel The Gods Arrive, has to learn how to navigate the modern literary field to survive. Drawing on Wharton’s correspondence with her literary agent Rutger B. Jewett, I argue that Vance’s literary apprenticeship closely resembles Wharton’s own adaptation (in Bourdieu’s terminology, her changed “position” and “disposition”) to the mass literary marketplace in which a “purist” author would not be able to survive. This chapter shows 27 Wharton as an author who had successfully navigated the literary field in the 1920s but whose authorship had become out of sync with the demands of the marketplace in the depressed 1930s. 28 Chapter 2: The Cultural Guardian and Artistic Compromise: Edith Wharton in Scribner’s Magazine (1904-1913) 2.1 Wharton at Scribner’s Edith Wharton’s position in the American literary field was, for more than the first thirty years of her career, connected with the traditional and prestigious publishing house of Charles Scribner’s Sons. Its flagship, Scribner’s Magazine, published her poems, short stories, and novels from 1889 until 1923, when they serialized and subsequently published in book form A Son at the Front, her last novel. For Wharton, as an early-career woman writer who came from the same upper-middle-class background as Charles Scribner, the publishing house was an obvious choice; Scribner’s name was associated with cultural capital in the literary field—a crucial consideration for Wharton, who strove to become a serious highbrow author (more difficult for a woman writer).17 This chapter studies Wharton’s initial “cultural guardian” 18 authorial position (newcomer and purist) in the literary field through the early magazine publications of her artist short stories in Scribner’s Magazine between 1904-1913: "The Descent of Man” (1904), “The Pot-Boiler” (1904), “The Verdict” (1908), and, in less detail, within the context of her Scribner’s Magazine serialized novels, The House of Mirth (1905) and The Custom of the Country (1913). These are 17 For further information on this binary, see, for example, studies by Coultrap-McQuinn, Nettels, Mary Sidney Watson, Kaplan, and Boyd. 18 In A Backward Glance (1934), Wharton reflects on the merits of the existence of the upper-middle-class for society and argues for its indispensable role in maintaining social and educational “standard[s]” (21). This attitude reflected her upbringing and Wharton’s lifelong self-fashioning as a highbrow serious author, which stood in contrast with her increasing engagement with the modern mass marketplace. 29 the publications that her higher-brow periodical readers (similar in kind to her first book-readers) would have encountered first paratextually within the context of the magazine’s milieu. These stories all deal with artists’ bargains and with the themes of artistic/authorial compromise (i.e., the dilemma over whether to be a money-oriented profiteer or an art-for-art’s sake “purist” author [McDonald]), the role of artists in the possible cultural progression or retrogression of the nation, and the threat of (female) mass culture. All of these topics reflected the magazine’s upper-middle-class (elitist, white-male, anti-immigration, anti-mass culture, mostly opposed to materialism) genteel ideology and showed Wharton’s awareness of her target audience. Although, at first sight, these works of fiction condemn artists for selling out for money—for becoming “profiteers”—upon a closer examination, Wharton seems to become, to an extent, less judgmental in her depiction of the profiteer compromise in between her publication of “The Descent of Man” and The Custom of the Country, showing, arguably, her own changing attitude or “disposition” (Bourdieu) toward writing for money to survive in the changing literary marketplace. Wharton’s solution to the purist-profiteer (artist’s compromise) concerns would become her authorial strategy of plasticity forged over time that runs through her work and career. Already in these Scribner’s Magazine artist stories, she introduces the theme of a work’s plasticity, its potential to be read at different levels by different audiences (“The Descent of Man”), and the topic of plasticity of authorship/painting/sculpting—the artist’s ability to cater to both highbrow and lower-brow audiences and its implications for the artist and the field of cultural production.19 19 In stories depicting writers/scientists, painters, and sculptors, Wharton portrays their artistic dilemmas as interchangeable and shows the interconnectedness of the field of cultural production in this period and 30 As Mary Sidney Watson describes in her study of Wharton’s relationship with Scribner’s, Charles Scribner operated the publishing house in a more traditional way as a “gentleman publisher” who understood “publishing as a gentlemen’s vocation” (4) and maintained personal, almost paternalistic relationships with his authors and expected their loyalty in return. Scribner promoted his firm “as only marginally commercial” (5); however, the ideal and reality of the trade were often different, and they had to increasingly function as a business (5). The business philosophy of Charles Scribner’s Sons contrasted with that of the new breed of business-oriented publishers who appeared at the beginning of the twentieth century and who ran their houses as stratified business ventures, placing more importance on advertising and promotion (Wilson 74-75). As print-culture scholar Christopher P. Wilson notes, the “new managers” at Appleton and Harpers followed a more straightforward business model (75), with which Wharton would become familiar later in her career during her tenure with Appleton. Wharton maintained a personal-professional relationship with Charles Scribner. She was also mentored by Edward L. Burlingame, editor of Scribner’s Magazine (until 1914), and by literary critic William Crary Brownell, who advised her about her book publications. Wharton knew how to navigate around the cultural gatekeepers; especially at the beginning of her career, she often played along with her mentors’ paternalistic attitudes that downplayed the professional/monetary side of the publishing trade. For example, Wharton’s first letters to Burlingame are self-deprecating and expressive of her gratitude for his literary guidance.20 its operation on shared principles. Perhaps, focusing on other related artistic fields allowed Wharton to be more indirectly critical of the literary arena, which she was a part of, as was Scribner’s Magazine. 20 In a letter to Burlingame in 1895, Wharton writes, “I have been scribbling a little & I have sent you a few pages which I hope you may like” (Lewis, Letters 35). Elsewhere, in 1898, she says that she “may not write any better” now than before, although she feels that her writing has improved (36). 31 However, following the immense success of The House of Mirth (1905), Wharton became increasingly self-confident and business-savvy, complaining even more about the publishing house’s inadequate advertising of her books and other publishing matters, such as illustrations and book covers (Bell 297-300). 21 As Shafquat Towheed notes in his study of her relationship with Macmillan in Great Britain, Wharton strived to possess “critical esteem” in the literary field, but she also measured her success through monetary gain (16). As was the case with other illustrated monthlies such as Harper’s, the Century, and the Atlantic during this period, Scribner’s Magazine was affiliated with a traditional publishing house and served to promote its books, authors, and to reflect its cultural values. As magazine scholar Richard Ohmann notes, “[t]he monthly genre connoted gentility, class prestige, Anglo-American roots, intellectual seriousness, and high culture” (106). Usually, “quality” periodicals such as Scribner’s were governed by a paternalistic genteel editor, who had a literary background himself and believed in supporting an author’s genius through his mentorship (Wilson 42-45). The editor treated the author’s work as a valuable and original contribution to the world of letters. In contrast to the new mass-magazine editors who were more business-oriented and focused on “magazining” for the mass reading public,22 Scribner’s Magazine editor Burlingame and others served as self-proclaimed cultural guardians of the nation. As Joan 21 Already in 1904, when Wharton began to produce more work than Burlingame was able to place in Scribner’s Magazine, he advised her to slow her production to avoid “overexposure” (Shaloo 122) and not to become a “magazine bore” (Lee 168). However, as Wharton scholar Sharon Shaloo notes, Wharton’s business solution in this case was to “expan[d] her market” to other magazines (122). 22 “Magazining”, as Christopher P. Wilson explains, denotes writing on specific topics given to the author by the editor to fit the magazine’s theme for the month (51). 32 Shelley Rubin, scholar of middlebrow culture, states, genteel notions of self-culture and character building, responsibility, and service were often projected onto the ideal of the “writer as [an] educator of public taste” and directed against materialism (11).23 At the beginning of her career, Wharton embraced “the religion of culture” promoted by nineteenth-century arbiters of taste and critics such as Matthew Arnold, John Ruskin, and Ralph Waldo Emerson (Singley 21), which reflected Scribner’s cultural ideology and that of the other “quality” magazines, such as the Atlantic Monthly, in which she also published before the First World War.24 The genteel 23 Wharton scholar Sharon Shaloo argues that Scribner’s Magazine was a “genial literary-commercial venue” (123) and notes that there were voices in the (early) magazine issues calling for the notion of “honest commercialism” (118) that would reconcile art and business, perhaps in reaction to the changing reality of the literary field. Along similar lines, scholar Madeleine A. Vala notes that 1918 advertisements for Wharton’s The Custom of the Country in periodicals other than Scribner’s promoted the novel as a “divorce potboiler” and, to an extent, catered to the middlebrow audience’s dreams of social mobility (10). However, Scribner’s Magazine’s advertisements for The Custom of the Country seem to be significantly more critical of the new money arrivistes and describe the novel as “a story of contemporary American social life” (January 1913; no page number) and a romance (33), similar in genre to The House of Mirth. In my reading, the magazine issues from 1904 to 1913 still promoted the genteel ideology and upheld the purist/profiteer binary. For example, in an August 1904 opinion in “The Point of View” column, the author states that “you can’t mercantilize genuine inspiration, and never could” when talking about the dying art of writing prefaces (251-252). Other articles discussed the importance of liberal arts education and its ethical impact on one’s character (“What is College For?” November 1909, 570). In the same rubric, “A Neglected Responsibility” opinion critiques the “very rich” who do not have a sense of responsibility and lack the notion of public service, which leads to the “financial demoralization” of the nation (July-December 1905, 507). On the other hand, the author praises the “moderately rich” (genteel men) “of acknowledged respectability and esteem, of education, refinement, and civilized ideals […] who have the important power of strongly influencing the standards of others” (507-508). In Wharton’s correspondence with Rutger B. Jewett, she considered Scribner’s Magazine as one of the leading quality literary magazines in this period, whose cultural capital, however, significantly deteriorated in the 1920s. 24 In Reading for Realism: The History of a U.S. Literary Institution, 1850−1910 (1997), Nancy Glazener describes the Atlantic group of periodicals (the Atlantic, the Galaxy, the Critic, the Forum, Harper’s Monthly, Lippincott’s, the Nation, the North American Review, Putnam’s, Scribner’s Monthly/Scribner’s Magazine), which, because of their connections with privileged and educated classes of both readers and writers, considered themselves to be the cultural guardians of the nation. These magazines were affiliated with the Republican Party, which had supported abolition and women’s suffrage but dismissed the ideas of labor unions, socialism, and populism. The group presented itself as dealing with the problems of the “Anglo-Saxons” (6); the content of the magazines reproduced the social hierarchy, which placed this artificially created racial category at the top of the social and cultural ladder. Even though these magazines published stories about the poor, Glazener argues that they promoted a “combination of 33 editor guided “the gentle reader” looking for “self-cultivation” (Schneirov 58); they shared the nineteenth-century ideal of “character,” “a quality that allowed the reading experience to steer between excessive emotionalism and immorality on the one hand and contextless information unrelated to larger moral and public ends on the other” (58). The mass-magazine reader, on the contrary, was reading for “information” and “entertainment” (58) and the whole reading experience was based on the “supermarket principle,” stressing the utility of the information (Wilson 49). The overall structure of Scribner’s Magazine and its content reflected its connection with the upper middle class and its preoccupation with big-C Culture. From 1904 to 1913, the magazine published a series of articles on history along with a whole section dedicated to the “Field of Art” that included pieces on both domestic and foreign classical music, painting, and architecture. The contents included a separate poetry section which, over the years, published several poems by Wharton. In both form and content, Scribner’s Magazine was affiliated with the book, unlike mass magazines, which were closer in format to newspapers (Wilson 52). For example, a “Scribner’s Magazine Notes” editorial argued that “[a] good library of best stories could be made by binding the fiction numbers of SCRIBNER’S MAGAZINE,” and followed philanthropic national citizenship and connoisseurship” (43)—asking their readers from privileged classes to help the poor without questioning their own elite class position or the social status quo. The Atlantic group embraced realism as its chief literary expression and thus made realism the leading literary genre of the period. These cultural gatekeepers defined realism as a high-brow literary form that stood in opposition (formally and thematically) to romantic, sentimental, and sensational literature, traditionally associated with femininity and emotional excess. Glazener argues that this artificially created public comprehension of realism influenced not only the way in which authors wrote but also the way in which readers read literature. During its existence, the dominant cultural position of the Atlantic group was continuously challenged by more radical, peripheral magazines, such as The Arena, and mass-circulation magazines such as McClure’s. 34 this claim with a detailed list of authors and works that had appeared in the magazine recently, stating that the magazine “has always been strong in its fiction” (July 1913, advertising section, 41-42). Scribner’s Magazine was sold primarily by subscription in contrast to more middlebrow magazines which were typically sold at newsstands. Scribner’s covers were simple and book-like in contrast with the covers of the women’s magazines that used their front pages to feature beautiful female models as a form of advertising and were not meant to be bound later for posterity, reflecting their transient nature and lack of literary prestige. Scribner’s Magazine did not use elaborate headlines for its serials; notices of future installments were usually separate from the texts, tucked away in the advertising section. The magazine often used the older and more expensive wood-engraving method of illustrations, unlike newer magazines, which used cheaper photograph-based illustrations (Greene 68-69). Although Scribner’s Magazine took advantage of photoengraving, “[i]ts custom ha[d] been not to have reproductions made directly from photographs, but from the drawings of artists, who represent the subject with entire fidelity and at the same time in an artistic manner, changing what would otherwise be a hard and uncompromising photograph into an individual picture” (Scribner’s Magazine Index, January 1887-December 1891, Volumes 1-10, 6). Individual pages of serials and short stories were not dated, as if pointing to the timelessness of the world of high literature. Many advertisements promoted Scribner’s book list and other higher-brow books by affiliated publishers and other quality magazines.25 Scribner’s Magazine cost 25 cents, more than twice the price of most mass 25 For example, in March 1913, Scribner’s Magazine promoted Harper’s as “a publication which commands the work of best authors, which buys illustrations from the highest-paid artists, which has a large and well-paid staff, etc., [so it] must necessarily attract to itself a higher class of readers than a publication which is cheaply thrown together” (8). 35 magazines, but it was less expensive than the other illustrated family magazines of the “Atlantic group,” such as the Atlantic Monthly and Harper’s, both of which predated Scribner’s Magazine and sold for 35 cents. Articles discussing and promoting expensive sports (e.g., “Yacht Racing”) and social events (e.g., “Parisian Wedding Parties”) were targeted at the more affluent (and aspirational) readers. The “Point of View” section conveyed opinions on political, social, and cultural matters, thereby expressing the magazine’s genteel ideology and further evidencing Schneirov’s observation that the traditional illustrated monthlies remained “fearful of immigration, working-class unrest, and the emergence of a mass society” (2). For example, Scribner’s “Immigration and the International Policy” column expressed fear that the immigration from the countries that sent Americans “illiterates” would lead to “deformation of American ideals” (December 1905, 763), and an article on the working class published in the May 1909 issue called socialism a “Philosophy of Failure” (613). Even the advertising in Scribner’s Magazine conveyed its affiliation with books and high culture and created a sense of what print cultural scholar Ellen Gruber Garvey has called the “’natural circle’ of readers” (Garvey, “Ambivalent Advertising” 172). Whereas advertisements in middlebrow magazines were placed next to the authors’ texts and thus interrupted the readers’ focus on literature, Scribner’s Magazine advertising was contained within two separate sections at the beginning and end of the magazine, which included a separate index—perhaps in an attempt to keep business interests, to an extent, separate from culture. The advertising section addressed its upper-middle-class community of readers by guaranteeing the “quality” of their advertisers and “the high character […] of their products” (January 1913, 2). Elsewhere, the magazine stressed the readers’ shared ethical and cultural values: “The name SCRIBNER is a voucher for its advertisers no less than for its writers, its artists”; it represents “the character of 36 the contents of a magazine, the character of its readers, the standing worth of its advertisers” (March 1913, 2). The magazine concluded that the advertising pages “are of real service to our readers” (2). The words “character” and “service” further pointed to the magazine’s master narrative of gentility. Finally, the magazine claimed that the advertised businesses would pay special attention to readers’ correspondence if they mentioned that they were Scribner’s Magazine subscribers, implying the uniqueness of Scribner’s community of readers, united as they were by the same outlook and standards. Actual advertisements were aimed at a well-to-do audience and promoted expensive items such as jewelry, automobiles, and international travel. Scribner’s Magazine was primarily a family magazine. However, Wharton scholar Ellen Dupree notes that between 1905 and 1913, the magazine featured about twice as many male as female contributors and their topics were divided along gender lines; while men wrote “adventure fiction, analyses of current events and politics, explanations of scientific and technological advances, and accounts of geographical exploration,” women contributed “romantic poetry, society or regionalist fiction, and journalistic articles on feminine subjects (nursing, education for girls, the wives of prominent men)” (4). The gender division of the magazine’s topics is also reflected, for example, in “The Point of View” section of the March 1909 issue, which ridicules the “Suggestions for House-keepers” publication, proposing that it should be put “into the same column with the jokes” (121)—“women’s topics” were not treated as seriously as “men’s issues.” Reflecting its higher-brow nature and readership, Scribner’s Magazine contained articles on war history and the military, such as its series of articles on “The War of 1812” across its 1904 issues, and published letters from great men, such as American author, social critic, and Harvard professor of art Charles Eliot Norton. Even advertisements were often meant for men, including soaps (e.g., “Ivory Soap for Athletes”), razors, and luxury 37 stationery items, such as pens. Many advertisements depicted male models using the promoted products possibly reflecting the gentleman publisher’s outlook. 2.2 Artistic Compromise and Cultural (D)evolution 2.2.1 “The Descent of Man” Wharton’s story “The Descent of Man” was published in Scribner’s Magazine in March 1904. Wharton also chose “The Descent of Man” as a title for her third collection of short stories (1904) because, as she admitted, she liked that early story “rather particularly” (qtd. in Lee 188). This short story comments on many issues of the literary trade that preoccupied Wharton throughout her life, but especially in her early authorial stage—it serves as a vehicle for her critique of business publishers, hack writers, artists who sell their genius for money, pseudo-reviewers, and readers of mass-produced literature. Most Wharton scholars, however, focus on the short story’s scientific theme while disregarding its print-cultural dimension. For example, Mary Sue Schriber, inspired by the full title of The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871), the Charles Darwin study to which Wharton’s title alludes, argues that within the context of the plot in which a character named Professor Linyard descends from high science to pseudo-science, the short story “explores the realm of sexual differences” (31). In the story, women, who were traditionally supposed to be the guardians of society’s highest moral values, have become mass consumers, a state that threatens the ethical and cultural integrity of the nation. Wharton scholar Carole J. Singley reads the story as Wharton’s critique of pseudo-science (59); she interprets it within the framework of a larger epochal conflict between science and religion (3). Barbara A. White notes that we can read the struggle of Professor Linyard to 38 resist writing well-paid pseudoscientific work for the female mass audience to that of an artist—”the creator who does less than his best gets punished” (37). Recently, Paul Ohler argues that the story provides a “detailed representation of mass culture and its effects on consumers” (“Forms of Ambivalence” 45) and suggests that Wharton’s career reflects the tension between the “demands of the market and her belief that the serious novelist is an agent of cultural change” (Evolutionary Conception 45). In a more recent book chapter, Ohler contends that “Wharton’s narratives of American culture [were] directed and constrained by evolutionary principle” (“Darwinism” 104). He also discusses the notion of cultural evolution and the possible devolution as depicted in the “atavistic” character of Undine Spragg in The Custom of the Country. In his brief discussion of “The Descent of Man,” Ohler mentions Wharton’s concept of “mechanical” readers of pseudo-science who “retard […the] true culture” (116). According to his thoughtful reading of Wharton’s fiction, the inevitably progressive course of human and cultural evolution was “disrupted by modern conditions” (117). My argument is that “The Descent of Man” also depicts Wharton’s early conservative position in the literary field and possibly her initial fears about authorial compromise. Being, at heart, a member of Old New York upper-class and a cultural elitist, Wharton early on felt that the production of mass literature and culture on which she was becoming dependent for a living contributed to culture’s devaluation, and thus its devolution. Simultaneously, Wharton catered to Scribner’s Magazine’s predominantly male genteel readers/editors through her depiction of the gendered purist-39 profiteer binary and authorial compromise, which associated (female) mass culture with cultural disintegration.26 The story title’s allusion to Charles Darwin’s The Descent of Man (1871) foreshadows its concern with cultural (d)evolution. Under the guidance of her friend Egerton Winthrop, Wharton carefully studied not only Darwin but also other evolutionists such as T. H. Huxley, Herbert Spencer, and Ernst Von Haeckel, a prominent zoologist and a professor at the University of Jena, to fill, in her words “some of the worst gaps in my education” (A Backward Glance 94). Evolutionary theory, concepts of natural and sexual selection, the effect of the environment on individuals, and the question of the possibility of transmission of acquired characteristics all form an integral part of many of Wharton’s novels and short stories (Ohler, Preston). Wharton was fascinated by both Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859) and his The Descent of Man, which posited that humankind developed through the process of evolution from lower animals. Her diary contains extensive notes on Von Haeckel’s “theory of animal descent of human race,” which she calls “Transmutation,” defined as “a gradual development of all (even the most perfect) organisms out of a single, or out of a few, quite simple, and quite imperfect original beings, which come into existence not by supernatural creation, but by spontaneous generation” (Lee 70). Unlike Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, Darwin and other scientists (and writers) did not believe in the inevitably progressive course of evolution—they stressed its equal potential for retrogression. During the 1870s, Darwin’s followers, such as British zoologist Edwin Ray 26 I am grateful for Professor John Beatty’s guidance on the first versions of my discussion of Wharton’s “The Descent of Man” within the context of cultural d(evolution) and her authorial compromise. 40 Lankester, began to theorize the possibility of evolution’s reverse course—that of devolution or degeneration—in which society would descend back to the level of apes.27 As Lankester fears in Degeneration: A Chapter on Darwinism (1880), “[p]ossibly we are all drifting, tending to the condition of intellectual Barnacles or Ascidians. It is possible for us […] to reject the good gift of reason with which every child is born, and to degenerate into a contented life of material enjoyment accompanied by ignorance and superstition” (60). On a similar note, T. H. Huxley contends in Evolution and Ethics (1893) that human character is of a dual nature, owing to human beings’ co-descent with other animals from a common ancestor—it consists of the natural, animalistic core and its civilized layer acquired through socialization (30). According to Huxley, the latter part is inherently liable to reversion to its preceding stages. Therefore, it is important for human beings to “understand […] that the ethical progress of society depends, not on imitating the cosmic process, still less in running away from it, but in combatting it” (83). Influenced by science, many fin-de-siècle writers and intellectuals felt pessimistic about the future development of Western civilization. In “Zoological Retrogression” (1891), for example, H. G. Wells stresses that there is no guarantee of the upward progressive course of the development of the human species. He later fictionalizes the dystopian theme of society’s potential devolution to its preceding stages in his novels The Time Machine (1895) and The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896). Author Robert Louis Stevenson, similarly, dramatizes the notion of dual personality and the latent capacity of individual and collective regression in his novella Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886). Scribner’s Magazine regularly published work 27 In Literature after Darwin: Human Beasts in Western Fiction, 1859−1939, Virginia Richter describes the general cultural anxiety caused by Darwin’s theory of human descent from apes. 41 by Stevenson, so its readers would have been familiar with his ideas. Wharton was well-acquainted with the works of both Wells and Stevenson, and Scribner’s Sons published books by both authors. Wharton knew Wells personally (Benstock 428), and she had read Stevenson’s work as a teenager (Haining 8). Her treatment of devolution in “The Descent of Man” draws on the general scientific and social anxieties at the end of the nineteenth century, which the readers of Scribner’s Magazine would have shared. “The Descent of Man” reflects Wharton’s concern about the course of the nation’s cultural development and the role of writers and artists in its possible progression or retrogression, a concern that would have resonated with the genteel editors and readers of Scribner’s Magazine. The title of the story encompasses its scientific and print-cultural dimensions—it refers to Professor Linyard’s “fall” from being a highbrow author of “real science” to a low-brow writer of simplified pseudo-science to be consumed by the newly emerged and less educated middle class. The story opens with Linyard’s return from a six-week retreat in the Maine woods. Having healed his nerves after a mental breakdown, he conceives an idea to write a book of popular science as a satire. Linyard imagines holding a mirror up to a mass audience—his critique would contribute to dismantling “the walls of ignorance” and thus prevent the endangered “real science” from further disintegration (315). Linyard employs religious language to describe high/real science as a “goddess” that needs to be protected from further “desecration” by “false priests” (314-315), reminding one of the genteel rhetoric that perceived high culture as religion. Reflecting upon the present state of the field, Linyard notes that, during his lifetime, science has attracted a wider audience than the selected few who were “versed in the jargon of the profession and familiar with the point of departure” (315). Nowadays, he observes, everyone reads science, including “the ladies,” “the clergy,” and even 42 children (314). Daily newspapers have their “Scientific Jottings,” and science affects and regulates most spheres of human life (314). He is well aware that “the mob had broken down the walls of tradition to batten in the orchard of forbidden knowledge” (314). Alas, Linyard’s The Vital Thing becomes a popular-science bestseller; the public completely fails to grasp its ironic dimension and, owing to its tremendous success, the professor never returns to his genuine scientific work. Wharton may have based the character of Professor Linyard upon the figure of evolutionary scientist Ernst Von Haeckel, who, like Linyard, became a popularizer of “profiteer” pseudo-science for the “mechanical [female mass] reader” (Wharton, “Vice” 99) as opposed to the more educated [mostly male] readers of quality magazines, such as Scribner’s Magazine. Haeckel’s attempt to synthesize religious, scientific, and philosophical views into a unified monistic view of the universe made him a literary celebrity. His popular publication The Natural History of Creation (1868) became a bestseller partly because of its narrative account of Darwinism, which was heavily influenced by German Romanticism and optimistic Lamarckism. The Natural History of Creation appealed to the tastes of the common reader as did Linyard’s The Vital Thing. 28 28 Having examined the narrative structure of various scientific writings in the twentieth century, Greg Mayers distinguishes between “the narrative of science” and “the narrative of nature” (qtd. in Lightman 35). Whereas the former is based on the authority of the scientist and is written for the scientific community to advance the knowledge in the field, the latter, favored by popular accounts of science, focuses on “the unmediated encounter with nature” (36). Within the second-mentioned framework, the natural world rather than the scientist and his or her disinterested observation takes central stage. The Natural History of Creation represents “the narrative of nature” par excellence. According to Richards, Haeckel conveys his ideas in a straightforward way, arguing for a progressive nature of evolution that posits the creation of humans as its inevitable endpoint and synthesizing and interlinking knowledge from different fields into a complete “scientific” worldview, presented to his readers in an intimate, narrative fashion (Richards 264−269). Science scholar Mario A. Di Gregorio portrays Haeckel in a less idealized way than does Richards, depicting him as a failed scientist who, in an attempt to make science accessible 43 Linyard’s book, like Haeckel’s books, is representative of a larger trend of popularization of science in the nineteenth century which, in Wharton’s view (and that of Scribner’s Magazine), reflected a general tendency toward democratization and simplification, and thus devaluation, of complex knowledge (that had once been sacred and only accessible to the few through extensive and time-consuming study). Wharton’s attack on pseudo-science in “The Descent of Man” is also a critique of devolved mass culture connected with women and sentimentality. The first science popularizers appeared in the 1820s and 1830s within the domain of affordable educational publishing. Many of these pseudo-science pioneers were female authors who wrote for other women and children in a “familiar format” of “letters, dialogues, and conversations”; they set their stories within the private sphere of the home (Lightman 21). Their works often contained moral lessons to be learned within a larger context of natural theology. With the introduction of cheap, mass-scale publishing in the mid-nineteenth century, new firms, such as Scottish publisher W. and R. Chambers, emerged with the intention of becoming publishers of books for the common reader. The title of Haeckel’s The Natural History of Creation may have been influenced by Carl Vogt’s translation of Robert Chambers’ Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (1844) (Richards 223). Unlike Haeckel, Chambers to the public, produced “an ideology that covered all aspects of human activity, including philosophy and religion” (18). Needless to say, Haeckel’s monistic system was incompatible with the views of his fellow scientists. Many of Haeckel’s colleagues condemned him for making imaginative leaps in his accounts of missing links on the developmental trajectory from apes to humans. Haeckel’s contemporaries critiqued him for misleading illustrations of comparative embryological development of animals and humans and compilations of inaccurate genealogical trees of species, including those explaining the descent of various human races (Fichman 56−57). Even though T. H. Huxley—a chief proponent of the professionalization of science—argued against “the tendency to cast aspersions on the abilities of those practitioners who were also excellent communicators,” he admitted that “popularization of science, whether by lecture or an essay, has its drawbacks” (Lightman 12). As Haeckel’s case demonstrates, it further strengthens the connection of science with natural theology and disconnects it from expertise. 44 was not a scientist but rather a Scottish journalist and publisher. Needless to say, the distinction mattered little to the general audience.29 In contrast to women’s mass magazines that often published popular articles on simplified science, Scribner’s Magazine associated itself with the realm of “real” science and progress. For example, the magazine included commentary on “The Scientific Work of the Government” in January 1904 and promoted books on science. The gendering of pseudo-science and mass culture as female in “The Descent of Man,” therefore, shows Wharton’s awareness of the magazine’s master narrative, which depicted high science and literature as male. Understanding the interconnectedness of the literary field and the interdependence of its players/agents, Wharton’s critique in “The Descent of Man” also takes aim at the publishers of popular science. Both publishers and readers equally contribute to the lowering of the general cultural standard. As Bernard Lightman explains, “the chief source of power and authority for popularizers lay in the institution of publishing rather than those of science. […] Publishers, not authors, were often the driving force behind the production of scientific books for a popular audience” (16). In “The Descent of Man,” Wharton creates the character of publisher Ned Harviss to satirize business publishers. Harviss is the opposite of the literary-gentleman-publisher ideal embraced and promoted by Scribner’s Magazine: he compensates for his mediocre university performance with a keen capitalist sensitivity to the needs of the market. Harviss’ expertise lies in his ability to understand common readers and their desires; not incidentally, he looks “as if he had been fattened on popular fiction; and his fat was full of 29 In fact, some editors openly admitted that it was more productive to let a non-expert write about science in an accessible way and have it read by an expert later than to ask a real scientist to write in a popular mode (Lightman 29). 45 optimistic creases” (315), denoting his connection with an intellectual diet that might taste good but is not healthy and nourishing. During his first meeting with Professor Linyard, Harviss makes clear that his publishing house has a “big sale for scientific breakfast foods, but not for the concentrated essences” (315). At first, he thinks that Linyard’s work might be too scientific for his audience, but the book’s style—“full of hope and enthusiasm” (like Haeckel’s The Natural History of Creation) and “written in the religious key” (317)—persuades him of the worthiness of the investment. What makes The Vital Thing a bestseller, aside from Linyard’s uncomplicated and catchy style, is Harviss’ practical knowledge of the workings of the marketplace and his skillfully tailored marketing campaign. Wharton compares Harviss’ techniques to war tactics—winning the public’s sympathy and the minds and wallets of his readers requires careful strategizing. Despite his own awareness that Linyard’s book is a satire, Harviss publishes it as an expression of Linyard’s genuine beliefs. The advertising campaign seizes the public sphere, with pamphlets asking, “Have you read The Vital Thing?”—that which “fell from the pages of popular novels […] whitened the floors of crowded street-cars” (319). Several million people glimpse the book’s title somewhere in the streets. Linyard becomes a commodified celebrity whose “head” appears in mass magazines: “[a]dmiring readers learned the name of the only breakfast-food in use at his table, of the ink with which ‘The Vital Thing’ had been written, the soap with which the author’s hands were washed, and the tissue-builder which fortified him for further effort” (321). In short, Harviss’ campaign makes the book a bestseller in the autumn market. Although Harviss serves as Wharton’s satirical target here (and anticipates her later critique of Bunty Hayes in the book version of Hudson River Bracketed), she also gradually becomes aware of the possibility of plasticity for an author and of the fact that a “keen capitalist sensitivity” is not necessarily connected with incompetence. Moreover, later, 46 in The Gods Arrive (discussed in Chapter Four), Wharton portrays advertising as a necessary part of authorship in the modern literary field. As well as satirizing the emerging popular publishing industry, “The Descent of Man” also satirizes the cycle of modern literary reviewing. Wharton mocks the new class of experts, such as pseudo-reviewers, who help an emergent middle class bridge the divide between low and high culture. Pseudo-reviewers represent an indispensable component of Harviss’ campaign. He hires “the Investigator’s ‘best man’” to write a review of The Vital Thing that “set[s] the pace” for others to follow since no one in the publishing business would pay another expert to “‘do’ the book afresh” (319). After the Investigator, the Inglenook invites Linyard to write for their “What-Cheer Column,” and finally his wife asks him to write “Scientific Sermons” for The Woman’s World (320). The lower the rung on the cultural ladder that Linyard reaches, the larger the magazine’s circulation and the more he is paid for his articles, thanks to the advertising revenues that formed an indispensable part of the business plans of middlebrow magazines. In her essay “A Cycle of Reviewing” (1928), Wharton condemns the generally low and unprofessional standard of the “ready-made reviewing” (161) in the United States, which, unlike in France, does not require “a trained intelligence” (160). Pseudo-reviewers judge a literary work not on its own merits but according to whether it fits into a certain “line of goods” (162). Although Wharton was critical of the new publishing world, she also started to become more open to it. Despite Wharton’s highbrow critique of reviewing standard in 1928, her commercial success after the First World War during her cooperation with Appleton was dependent on similar promotional campaigns orchestrated by her literary agent Rutger B. Jewett, which shows the later carefully constructed plasticity of her authorship. Even before 1904, Wharton was privately complaining to Charles Scribner about the inadequate promotion of her 47 work—yet her public critique of the new mass publicity techniques used by the business publishers as depicted fit within the firm’s still predominantly genteel outlook and her lifelong self-fashioning as a serious highbrow author. In reality, Wharton became an increasingly more business-savvy author attuned to the reality of the modern literary marketplace in which cultural capital was inseparable from economic capital. In addition to the technological developments that rendered books and magazines cheaper and thus more accessible to the general public, the rise in literacy among the middle and working classes made the mass-print pseudo-scientific development possible. Scientific knowledge allowed the common reader to obtain a bigger picture of the world, to comprehend both its meaning and their position in it (Lightman 3). This cultural shift made more knowledge accessible to more people than even before, adding to the anxiety about the nation’s cultural deterioration expressed by social critics and members of the upper classes, such as Wharton and Scribner’s editors and readers. Through her essay “The Vice of Reading” (1903), Wharton contributes to the discussion of “the reading habit” (about how to read literature) that followed the significant expansion of the general reading public (Hochman 217). As book historian Barbara Hochman notes, Wharton critiques the “indiscriminate reading practices” of the mass audience and contributes to the conversation by distinguishing “between ‘wrong’ and ‘right’ ways to read Literature, and by stressing both education and natural inheritance” (218) as important factors influencing the reader’s ability to grasp complex ideas in highbrow literature. Wharton accuses “mechanical” middle-class readers of lowering the standard of literature by creating “mechanical critics” (“Vice” 104) and “authors” (103). She imagines the act of reading as a dialogue between the “born” (105) reader and the author, which, unlike mere consumption of literature by the “mechanical” reader, creates a “new body of thought” and thus contributes to 48 the further cultural development of the nation (99). In “The Descent of Man,” in alignment with the view of Scribner’s Magazine’s editors/readers and the literary establishment in general (and perhaps her own conviction), the early-career Wharton portrays the mass audience as female and mocks its preoccupation with sentimentality, which is what sells Linyard’s book—it was “full of tenderness” with “such lovely things in it about flowers and children” (319). Through Harviss’ note about not remembering when he “had a bigger sensation,” Wharton subtly refers to the affective dimension of the mass reading experience, which was thought to be potentially subversive on a large scale (316). Professor Linyard’s commercial compromise possibly expresses Wharton’s own anxiety about writing for the mass marketplace during her early association with Scribner’s Magazine. The fictional Linyard’s original intention to publish an education satire to expose and mock pseudo-science proves fruitless, thanks to the mass audience’s inability to grasp the work’s satiric dimension, which implies the rigidity of the boundaries between the highbrow and middlebrow readers. At first, the publication of The Vital Thing allows Linyard to buy materials for his scientific research; before the book is published, he contemplates his authorial/scientific compromise in terms of “plasticity,” being the ability of the book to attract different audiences: […] the book would have addressed itself to a very limited circle [as a satire]: now it would include the world. The elect would understand; the crowd would not, and his work would thus serve a double purpose. And, after all, nothing was changed in the situation; not a word of the book was to be altered. The change was merely in the publisher’s point of view and the “tip” he was to give reviewers. (317) 49 However, when Linyard agrees to write a series of sequels to his pseudo-scientific bestseller, it becomes clear that he will probably never return to his “real” scientific work again. He is financially dependent on Harviss’ cheques, through which he supports himself and his family, implying the destructive potential of the profiteer compromise for the writer. Read from a literary-field perspective, the compromise of becoming a writer of popular literature—something that afflicts Linyard and potentially Wharton, too—might contribute to the devolution of mankind and big C-culture toward its lower developmental forms, represented by the mass of middlebrow readers (i.e., immigrants, uneducated women, and the working classes). Dupree notes that Wharton’s letters to Burlingame in 1904 show that she was aware that writing for the mass marketplace would potentially contribute to her “degradation” (7). Wharton’s authorial anxiety reflected a more general fear of the self-proclaimed cultural guardians about the possible retrogressive course of civilization and the artist’s role in the process. The pre-genetics notion of “organic memory,” still a popular concept in Wharton’s time (co-existing with the Mendelian inheritance theory) (Otis), helps to further explain the anxiety of the cultural establishment concerning heredity and degeneration of culture that her story maps out. This concept was based on Lamarck’s theory about the inheritability of acquired traits and Haeckel’s notion of the “memory of matter,” which understands an individual as a palimpsest—a store of the knowledge and experiences of his ancestors (Di Gregorio 224). In some ways, Haeckel’s notion of memory of matter provided people with a sense of continuity in the uncertain transitional period characterized by the shift from a religious to a more secular worldview; this notion suggested that “[i]ndividuals died but the universal memory of living matter was handed down from one generation to another” (Di Gregorio 225). As Wharton scholar Jennie A. Kassanoff explains, “blood” carried a complex significance in the United 50 States during the Progressive Era, encompassing “the interconnected logic of race, class, and national identity” (3). Ohler makes a similar point, noting Wharton’s preoccupation with a contemporary view of “culture as a legacy of blood (123) [;] the result of the world’s accumulated experience” (107), which also includes a moral or ethical heritage of the nation (111). Kassanoff further notes that Wharton’s early fiction expresses many of the (blood-connected) anxieties of the former ruling classes, i.e. that “the ill-bred, the foreign and the poor would overwhelm the native elite, that American culture would fall victim to the ‘vulgar’ tastes of the masses; and that the country’s oligarchy would fail to reproduce itself and thereby commit ‘race suicide’ ” (3), fears that were reflected in Scribner’s Magazine’s xenophobic, imperialist, and classist ideology. Both (gendered) binaries—the purists versus the profiteers and the consecrated writers versus the newcomers—help to explain Wharton’s strategic employment of science as a theme in “The Descent of Man.” Wharton depicts the spheres of cultural production (and science) in gendered terms: she portrays the autonomous (purist) in terms of highbrow male art and science and the heteronomous (profiteer) as a threatening female mass culture and pseudo-science. From the perspective of these binaries, Wharton’s use of evolutionary theory here is a way of securing cultural capital and confirming her seriousness as an author—as Singley notes, “female writers who utilized scientific concepts and metaphors had a greater chance of escaping traditional categories of femininity” (54). For example, Burlingame considered British woman writer George Eliot’s excellent knowledge and employment of science in her literary works as unfeminine (Watson 26). Wharton was critical of Brownell’s evaluation of Eliot’s affiliation with high science in Victorian Prose Masters and noted the prejudice of the literary establishment against women’s treatment of the traditionally male subject (“George Eliot” 71). 51 Mentioning Tennyson’s, Goethe’s, and Milton’s usage of science in their works, which no one opposed, Wharton wondered if it was “because these were men, while George Eliot was a woman, that she [was] reproved for venturing on ground they did not fear to tread?” (“George Eliot” 72). For Wharton, the employment of science in many of her Scribner’s Magazine stories, as that of realism, served as a means through which she strived to acquire literary prestige in the literary field and earned the respect of her [male] literary peers. 2.2.2 “The Pot-Boiler” “The Pot-Boiler,” published in Scribner’s Magazine in December 1904, expresses Wharton’s conflicting positions in the literary field. The story is about three New York artists: painter Ned Stanwell; Caspar Arran, a sculptor in poor health; and Mungold, a fashionable portraitist. Caspar Arran’s sister, Kate, dedicates her life to taking care of her brother and becomes the object of both Ned’s and Mungold’s affections. She finally marries the latter. Caspar Arran represents the purist stream of the field of cultural production—he refuses to create commercial work and, throughout the story, sells only his “vast allegorical group” (697) of statues in marble. In contrast, Mungold, who has a profiteering mentality, freely produces mediocre paintings at the demand of his “lady” clients. Ned Stanwell is able to paint in both styles, and his struggle over whether to compromise his artistic and moral conscience and paint just for money drives the plot. “The Pot-Boiler” has received little critical attention. In Edith Wharton and the Visual Arts (2007), Emily J. Orlando, who perceives Wharton as a “social critic engaging with how the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American culture was produced and consumed” (7), argues that the tale presents an “alternative to the woman who might otherwise be enshrined in 52 art” (81). Even though that option means selling herself into a mercenary marriage with Mungold, at least Kate escapes the fate of being killed off and cast into a dead picture. As Orlando points out, by making the “business decision” to marry for money, Kate⎯unlike Lily Bart in The House of Mirth (1905), who dies for her ideals⎯lives on in a world determined by the marriage market (80). Ned Stanwell, who “prostitutes” his talent to the mass audience is more condemnable than Kate who, as an ornamental object, has no option of survival other than to skillfully manipulate the marriage field. In my reading, however, Stanwell’s moral dilemma of whether or not to paint the portrait of Mrs. Archer Millington and thereby debase his artistic standards to satisfy the cheap tastes of his middle-class, female clients represents Wharton’s own early anxiety about the beginning commercial production of her work for the mass literary marketplace, which she believed contributed to the deterioration of culture and thus society as a whole. Simultaneously, the story’s topics of an artist’s compromise and the fragile domain of high art threatened by mass culture reveal Wharton’s awareness of her target audience at Scribner’s Magazine, which was preoccupied with the state of “The Field of Art” (as reflected in the magazine’s popular rubric). “The Pot-Boiler” is a commentary on both the tensions of the literary arena and the social tensions of the period. This is what habitus makes clear. From the perspective of the literary field, the story portrays the struggle between the purists (Caspar Arran) and the profiteers (Mr. Mungold): between “real” art and commerce, between realistic and sentimental modes of writing (i.e., traditionally male and female models of authorship). But the story’s mirroring of the era’s heated debates about the role of culture in the increasingly business-oriented world also suggests the larger, socio-economic sphere that contained and dictated the literary field. 53 Ned Stanwell’s earlier painting of Kate Arran represents his art-for-art’s-sake aspiration before he enters the profiteer marketplace (characterized by standardization, imitation, and the creation of goods on demand) through his painting of society matron Mrs. Millington. By contrast, Kate’s portrait, Wharton suggests, is the “real thing”; it possesses “a kind of virgin majesty—lent itself to this illusion of vitality” (698). The portrait is so “furnished” with “ideals” (701) that when art dealer Mr. Shepson30 sees it, he immediately recognizes Stanwell as a purist whose original work is not meant for the general public’s consumption but “for [himself] and the other fellows” (699) who can appreciate its sophistication and subtlety. It is no coincidence that the painting, which stands for Stanwell’s highest artistic ambition, for a projection of his real self, features Caspar Arran’s sister. Caspar is a true purist who creates art with almost religious devotion following his “inspiration” and “soul” (708) and disregarding the fact that “there’s no market for modern sgulpture except dombstones [Shepson’s foreign accent in the text]” (698).31 His artwork is not meant for popularity but for “posterity” (701). Caspar’s friends could never recall if his collection of statues in clay represents “Jove hurling a Titan from Olympus or Science Subjugating Religion” (701)⎯if his “magnum opus” (697) signifies the field’s conflict of the newcomers taking over the Olympus of the male literary establishment or the era’s tensions of business taking over culture. Perhaps his friends do not 30 It is symptomatic of Wharton’s work for Scribner’s Magazine that she depicts Mr. Shepson as a Jew with a foreign accent and, as such, as someone who would be expected to be connected with usury in the popular imagination. The Jewish immigrant art dealer stands for the new economic power (he sells pictures and does not “theorize about them” ) and the encroachment of the middle classes because of the influx of immigration and the rise of literacy, which threatened the genteel, purist upper-class culture. 31 This statement indicates the lack of place for real art in the modern literary marketplace; it kills the purist culture. 54 remember because they are all intertwined and dependent on each other for self-definition. As Yale Professor (and critic) Henry Seidel Canby explains, the forty years from 1870 to 1910 in the United States brought “the triumph of applied science, the breakdown of stereotyped religion, [and] the defeat of the classics in American education” (x). The debate concerning the nature of higher education reflected the anxiety of the upper classes about the status of American culture, which was translated into the language of “brows,” including the creation of the category of the middlebrow at the beginning of the twentieth century (Radway, “Learned and Literary Print Cultures” 199). The supporters of “liberal culture” saw education as linked to the amelioration of “‘character’ and devotion to higher ideals” (210). For apostles of culture—men like Arnold and Ruskin—, aesthetics was inseparable from ethics; the state of the culture was linked to the moral climate of the era (211). Believers in classic liberal arts education proclaimed themselves guardians of culture and were affiliated with the genteel literary establishment. According to William Dean Howells, he and his fellow authors were “defenders […of] the conscience of a nation”; they presented literature “as the secular equivalent of religion,” which needed to be protected against the newly arrived mass culture (212). Throughout the story, Caspar refers to his purist beliefs in religious terms: selling oneself to the market is “an apostasy,” and great artists are “prophets” (Wharton, “Pot-Boiler” 701). Finally, his group of statues is bought by “an enlightened compatriot for the adornment of a civic building” (706), suggesting that it will perform a role in the building of the national culture.32 Caspar’s bronchial 32 As Rubin notes, “Arnoldian intellectuals established museums, parks, symphony orchestras, and libraries” (15). The “Field of Art” column in Scribner’s Magazine was edited by Russell Sturgis (1897-1909), an architect, and it often celebrated civic buildings’ “capacity to order society [;…architecture] became a cultural resource for [the magazine’s] baffled sense of civic responsibility” (Benert, “Reading the Wall” 52). 55 asthma and his continuous weakness, however, point to the fragile state of America’s highest cultural values and the threat posed by the influx of immigration and, connected with it, the emergence of the mass marketplace. The prospect of Stanwell’s painting of Mrs. Millington represents art production for the mass marketplace. Knowing his customers’ tastes, the art dealer encourages the artist to paint a portrait of Mrs. Millington in the “Mungold” style fashionable at the moment. Mungold renders his predominantly female clients “in syrup […] with marshmallow children leaning against their knees” (703)⎯i.e., falsely, and more beautiful than they are. The story implies that whereas the aim of true art is to speak the truth about the present state of the world, to educate, and to preserve culture, the purpose of the profiteer’s art’s is to sell, “to please” (705)—its value is purely economic, not aesthetic or ethical. As Caspar complains, “[t]he present generation wants to be carved in sugar-candy […]. It doesn’t want to be told the truth about itself or about anything in the universe” (701). While a purist piece of art is unique and an original expression of the artist’s genius, profiteer art, such as “a Mungold,” is associated with many similar copies produced to satisfy mass-market demand (699). It is no coincidence that Mungold’s portraits resemble photographs: his clients’ eyes seem as if they “were fixed on an invisible camera” (Wharton, “Pot-Boiler” 703), and there are rumors of him using photographs of his subjects as templates for actual portraits, which he then fills with colors (703). While this form of a simple copying requires developed skills of observation, the “transmutation” involved in real art 56 requires an author’s refinement, training, and talent, all of which are either inborn or slowly acquired through education (Wharton, “Tendencies in Modern Fiction” 171).33 Wharton associates Mungold’s art with women’s mass magazines. His photographic painting method is reminiscent of the photo-engraving used by the mass magazines, such as McClure’s, instead of the more expensive and time-consuming wood-engraving method that required “highly trained staff artists” (Greene 69). Through the employment of photographs, the new magazines also “encouraged emphasis on the timely and the transient,” as opposed to the preoccupation with the “past,” typical for the illustrated monthlies (69). Many of the new middlebrow magazines that threatened the position of the traditional monthlies, like Pictorial Review and Delineator, were targeted at women readers and preoccupied with the latest fashion trends. Wharton’s association of Mungold with the fashion industry further links his kind of art to women’s magazines—“[h]e is as quick as a dressmaker at catching new ideas, and the style of his pictures changed as rapidly as that of the fashion-plates” (703).34 The importance of timeliness is common to mass-fashion and mass-fiction (e.g., “The Descent of Man’s” Linyard is forced to write a sequel to his bestseller in a timely manner to stay relevant in the market with quickly changing trends/fashions). After “Pot-Boiler’s” Stanwell dissents and paints Mrs. Millington, which makes him fashionable with her friends, Caspar warns him that “[if] the women get at you you’re lost […] they’ll sentimentalize you, they’ll make a Mungold of you 33 Susan Williams argues that women authors often described “their work as a kind of picture making” (Reclaiming Authorship 31); however, those who strived to become professionals acknowledged that unmediated observation is not sufficient and that real art requires imaginative transformation. 34 Symptomatically, Caspar refuses to sculpt Cupids for Mrs. Millington’s new ballroom because he says he did not get “his training at a confectioner’s” and he does not use “lard” (705), linking profiteer production with women, sentimentality, fashion, and greasy unhealthy food (reminding of Ned Harviss’ description). 57 (707) [,…] they’ll work you like a galley slave” (708). Stanwell will have to do his “round of ‘copy’ every morning” (708). In short, Caspar cautions Stanwell against becoming a hack-painter who squanders his talent. Wharton believed that a short story should end “ab ovo,” that is, “in accordance with its own deepest sense” (The Writing of Fiction 51) and that a “good subject […] must contain in itself something that sheds a light on our moral experience” (28). Thus, at the end of “The Pot-Boiler,” Kate Arran finally agrees to marry Mungold because she claims he “does not prostitute his art” (712). According to her, whereas Mungold “paints as well as he can” (711), Stanwell, who is able to distinguish between good and bad art, ultimately “sacrific[es] his convictions” (712) to the market. In the final scene, Stanwell refuses to produce more portraits for Mrs. Millington’s friends and, with a smile on his face, returns to his painting of Kate Arran. Thus, the central question Wharton contemplates in “The Pot-Boiler” is whether a true artist can simultaneously be a purist and a profiteer. As Stanwell wonders: “If a man could do several things instead of one, why should he not profit by his multiplicity of gifts? If one had two talents why not serve two masters?” (704). In other words, “Why can’t a man do two kinds of work—one to please himself and the other to boil the pot?” (702). At first glance, the moral of the story is clear: the “heteronomous” and the “autonomous” principles—respectively, the profiteer and purist tendencies in the field (Bourdieu 40)—are inherently incompatible because of their different relationship to truth, culture, and, ultimately, their effects on civilization. A true artist should never sell himself (or herself) for money. However, although Stanwell “had never been proud of his own adaptability” (Wharton, “Pot-Boiler” 704), he also contemplates how his ability to paint in both styles implies “that he is clever enough to see the other side” (702). His first potential profiteer painting interests the art dealer through its “clever blending of dash and 58 sentimentality”; as with Linyard’s book, his painting is meant to be a satire on the popular style for “Fake Show” (699), but the uneducated audience fails to grasp this. At one point, Stanwell thinks of the possibility of elevating the taste of his female portrait sitters with art that would mirror their true natures. Moreover, Stanwell would continue painting his profiteer art to be able to help Kate and her brother financially, whereas the purist Caspar is vain and thinks selfishly only about his reputation. The above-mentioned examples seem to complicate what, at first sight, appears to be an obvious binary of the good purist versus the bad profiteer art and perhaps shows Wharton’s thinking through these oppositions in terms of authorial plasticity and her changing disposition. “The Pot-Boiler” is an expression of the struggles of the field, including class struggles connected to upper-class anxiety over the loss of big-C culture. But it also provides a space for consideration of Wharton’s disposition—her personal relationship to both of these dimensions. If Stanwell’s dilemma reflects Wharton’s predicament in the field, then Kate’s position as a woman in the turn-of-the-century United States speaks to the necessity of making a compromise to survive in a world dominated by the marketplace and patriarchy. 2.2.3 “The Verdict” “The Verdict” was published in Scribner’s Magazine in June 1908. Like “The Descent of Man” and “The Pot-Boiler” published four years earlier, this story depicts authorial/artist compromise in terms of the purist and profiteer opposition and shows Wharton’s continuing preoccupation with the topic. It tells the story of Jack Gisburn, a fashionable painter and “a cheap genius” (689), who suddenly stops painting, marries a rich widow (Mrs. Gisburn), and settles down in a villa on the Riviera. Gisburn’s friend Mr. Rickham—the narrator with a higher-brow perspective—comes to visit Gisburn, curious to find out the reason for his withdrawal from 59 the art world at the moment of his highest popularity. Gisburn explains how Mrs. Stroud’s request that he paint a portrait of her dead husband, a great purist painter, led to Gisburn’s realization about the mediocrity of his own art. Reflecting upon his career, Gisburn who “only had gone with the [profiteer] stream” first considered Stroud a “failure” because of his lack of popularity (692) and thought him “insignificant and dingy” (692). However, following his attempt to paint the dead master, he recognizes Stroud as a genius who “was one of the kind that are left behind” because “he had come to stay [for posterity]!” Gisburn ponders: “[t]he rest of us had to let ourselves be swept along or go under, but [Stroud] was high above the current—on everlasting foundations” (692). As a highbrow painter, Stroud was “an inflexible hermit” (692) who remained poor throughout his life (like Caspar Arran in “The Pot-Boiler”). When Gisburn attempts to paint Stroud, he feels as if the master is observing him and seeing through his pretty but superficial technique—“he wasn’t watching the showy bits [;…] he just kept his eyes on the hard passages between” that he usually quickly covered in paint and that his fashionable female sitters could not see (693). After being given a sketch of a donkey by Stroud, which although being “just a note taken with a shaking hand” is better than anything Gisburn would ever be able to paint, he decides to give up his painting altogether (693). He destroys most of his work, except for the last and most artistic portrait of his wife—the only one painted in a realistic and not “sweet” manner—and is thus “cured” of his profiteer “disease” (693). Gisburn recommends that another profiteer painter, Victor Grindle, who is “said to have formed himself at [his] feet” (690) paint Stroud’s portrait and he thus helps Grindle to become the new fashionable portraitist of the hour. Although Gisburn ceases to paint, he feels that he is “still painting—since Grindle is doing it for [him]” (693); he realizes that while “[t]he Strouds stand alone, and happen once—60 there’s no exterminating our kind of art” (693), implying the interchangeability of the timely and fashionable art, as opposed to the original masterpiece created by a real genius artist. Like the “The Descent of Man,” “The Verdict” suggests that the proliferation of mediocre unoriginal art and its contribution to cultural degradation are the result of the interconnectedness of the literary players in the field of cultural production. The title implies that Gisburn is guilty of having become a mediocre popular painter. The profiteer artist is directly dependent on the mass audience for sales. However, it is worth noting that Gisburn is unlike Professor Linyard in that he can afford to stop painting for money because he has a rich wife and no longer has to earn a living. The story seems to reflect Wharton’s own thinking about authorial compromise (i.e., her changing “disposition”) and her coming to terms with the profiteering side of writing, which she gradually learned was indispensable for a self-supporting author’s survival in the changing literary marketplace. On the surface, “The Verdict” seems to uphold the good/purist versus bad/profiteer binary; however, the story also suggests that only artists who do not have to earn a living can afford to think about art in terms of the older purist genteel ideal instead of as a profession embedded in the field of cultural production and thus, to an extent, dependent on its forces (and audiences). “The Verdict” (like “The Descent of Man” and in “The Potboiler”) caters to the male readers/editors of Scribner’s Magazine by depicting as female the mass audience affiliated with the profiteer stream of painting/writing. Mr. Rickham describes Gisburn’s profiteer compromise as being directly related to the female sitters who “had made him” (689). Mrs. Gideon Thwing is representative of Gisburn’s middlebrow female audience who mourn his leaving the art world as “the loss to Arrt” (689). The reader perceives Mrs. Gideon satirically through Mr. Rickham who critiques her pronunciation of art—“the word on [her] lips, multiplied its rs as though they were 61 reflected in an endless vista of mirrors” (689)—denoting her preoccupation with fashion and appearance and suggesting her inability to comprehend true art. Another female sitter thinks of Gisburn “with tears in her eyes” (689), further linking women with sentimentality. Wharton describes his painting style as uncomplicatedly sweet and his portraits as always presented in a garlanded frame. Mrs. Gideon’s statement that “of course [his decision to stop painting is] going to send the price of [her Gisburn] picture up” (689) reinforces the connection of profiteer art with money and the mediocre tastes of the female mass audience. Conversely, as Mr. Rickham notes about Gisburn’s withdrawal, “[a]mong his own sex fewer regrets were heard, and in his own trade hardly a murmur” (689), further gendering his profiteer compromise and implying its mediocrity. Moreover, Wharton portrays even Mrs. Stroud as “an awful simpleton” who conflates popularity with a painter’s greatness when she wishes her dead husband to be painted by “a fashionable painter” (692). Like Mrs. Linyard in “The Descent of Man,” Mrs. Stroud is unable to comprehend her husband’s genius and is solely preoccupied with domestic matters. Mary Sue Schriber argues that Wharton’s portrayal of Mrs. Linyard shows the dangers of the “divisions of labor based on sexual differences [that] push men into a wider world and women into a narrower domesticity [, which presents] a threat to the quality of American life” (38). Commenting on other short stories (not discussed in this chapter) later republished in The Tales of Men collection published by Scribner’s Sons, Sheila Liming interprets Wharton’s repetitive portrayal of women characters as a satiric that “means of deflating both popular assumptions and scientific arguments regarding women’s evolutionary and intellectual inferiority” (139). I argue that Wharton’s portrayal of women as connected with 62 the profiteer stream of culture and the newly popular and successful mass magazines shows her awareness of Scribner’s Magazine’s audience, which still gendered high art as male.35 2.3 Wharton’s Changing Disposition and Her Adaptation to the Mass Literary Marketplace This chapter examined Wharton’s original cultural guardian position and her changing disposition in the literary field before the First World War through the artist figures in her short stories featured in Scribner’s Magazine, which demonstrated her nascent contemplation of authorship from a business perspective. Wharton’s Scribner’s Magazine artist stories’ themes of cultural disintegration, survival, and negotiation of the purist-profiteer binary are also present in her serialized novels in the magazine—The House of Mirth (January 1905-November 1905) and The Custom of the Country (January 1913-November 1913; written in 1911). These novels fit within Scribner’s critique of materialism36 but also reveal Wharton’s changing disposition in working through the profiteer facet of (professional) authorship (her changing disposition), as reflected in her employment of the Darwinian metaphor of adaptation and “survival of the fittest”. Wharton critics have read Lily Bart’s death in The House of Mirth as inevitable because of her inability to adapt successfully to her environment (e.g., Wolff 248; Ohler, Darwinism 35 As Barbara White notes, Wharton’s female artist stories and those featuring the lower classes were rejected by Burlingame earlier in her career (35); this might further explain her portrayal of the male artist as cultural guardian in many of her Scribner’s Magazine short stories. White also implies that Wharton’s misogyny at this stage was possibly connected with her awareness that the editors of her work were male. 36 For example, an advertisement for The Custom of the Country in the January 1913 issue states that the novel portrays “the false standards that money establishes, the moral standards of a certain element of the very rich” (7). 63 117-118) in contrast with the more businesslike Undine Spragg’s adaptation in The Custom of the Country. Even an advertisement in Scribner’s Magazine in February 1913 describes Undine as “radically different from Lily Bart” because of her “cleverness and adaptability” (29-30). Although the binary between money and Lawrence Selden’s “The Republic of Spirit” seems, at first glance, immutable, already in The House of Mirth, for example, the character of Simon Rosedale, to an extent, complicates the negative view of business and money-making. Rosedale is social-climbing and materialistic, but he is also the only character who understands Lily’s dilemma and tries to help her when she loses her millinery job. Jennifer Shepherd also interprets Rosedale positively as expressive of Wharton’s authorship, arguing that “by including the possibility within her novel for at least one social arriviste […] to make good through the exploitation of commodity aesthetics, Wharton was scripting the possibility of success for herself in the increasingly commercialized and competitive sphere of the turn-of-the-century American letters” (157). Wharton’s critics have often interpreted Custom of the Country’s Undine negatively—as a metaphor for cultural deterioration (Patterson 80) as mirrored in her lack of manners, class status, and education, and her association with mass culture (e.g., for Ohler, Undine stands for the new mass-print reader [“Ambivalence” 33, 54]; Towheed notes Undine’s connection with newspapers [“When the Reading” 34-35]). Moreover, Undine is responsible for the death of her aspiring purist poet husband, Ralph, further reflecting Scribner’s Magazine’s theme of materialism endangering high culture. However, the novel’s lack of center of consciousness allows for a more sympathetic reading of Undine as a character who learns to navigate the marriage market to survive in the patriarchal world that does not offer women many viable choices beyond marriage. Undine’s survival in the (marriage) marketplace relies on her ability to be strategic, to learn from her mistakes, and to adapt. Reading the novel through the 64 newspaper genre, Madeleine A. Vala argues that “while Wharton successfully adapts to market forces” (19-20), Ralph, unlike Undine, dies because of his inability to adapt (qtd. Furst 264 in Vala 20), suggesting the inability of the purist culture to survive in the modern marketplace. In my reading, Undine’s malleability represents Wharton’s ability to navigate the newly stratified literary field through her increasing adaptability to write for different print-cultural milieux. Despite her long affiliation with Scribner’s Sons, Wharton was already looking for another publisher that would better represent her interests in the changing literary marketplace when the magazine began to financially struggle around 1910 (Dupree 9) because of their failure to adapt to changing readership expectations. With the publication of The Reef in 1912, she commenced her long-term partnership with Appleton, which was a more of a business-oriented and savvy publisher than the genteel Scribner’s Sons, and with Rutger B. Jewett, who helped her to navigate the changing literary field at the turn of the twentieth century. Jewett acted as Wharton’s literary advisor for Appleton book publications and as a literary agent who helped her to negotiate the best prices for her (mainly mass) magazine publications from 1919 until 1935. Scribner’s Magazine could not afford to pay the same high prices for Wharton’s work as women’s middlebrow magazines such as McClure’s and, later, Pictorial Review and Delineator, which were cheaper and received most of their revenue from advertising rather than subscriptions. Despite her lifelong self-fashioning as a highbrow author disinterested in her audience (Wharton, The Writing of Fiction 19), Wharton, from the very beginning of her career, was conscious of her readers. Especially after the First World War, she adjusted her work according to the newly stratified literary marketplace through her authorial strategy of plasticity—her employment of book revisions, a multiplicity of narrative perspectives that allowed for different levels of reading of the text within the context of specific print-cultural 65 milieux, and her employment of hybrid/renovated genres. Unlike Scribner’s Sons—which was struggling to survive in the new literary field—Wharton was able to adjust and adapt (Watson 28; Bell) to survive. When Wharton moved to Appleton, Charles Scribner was shocked by her lack of loyalty and regretted the loss of her name on his list of authors, calling it “the greatest blow ever given to [his] pride as a publisher” (Bell 315). Like the fictional Linyard, Wharton, to survive in the changing marketplace, had to increasingly lead a “double life”—that of the highbrow and the popular writer, the purist and the profiteer, with the help of the authorial strategy of plasticity in the postwar period. However, unlike Linyard, Wharton was able to maintain both cultural and monetary capital through her book and mass magazine publications and to navigate the early twentieth-century field of cultural production, which was irreversibly transformed by the magazine revolution. 66 Chapter 3: The Middlebrow Wharton in Pictorial Review and the Authorial Strategy of Plasticity in her Ghost/Detective Stories (1924-1926) 3.1 Wharton in Pictorial Review And we produced a superproduction based on sex life in the period of Dolly Madison. But when they wrote the scenario we had quite a little trouble, because the scenario writer wanted it to be full of nothing but “Psychology.” And the art director wanted it to be full of mob scenes and ornamental sets. And Henry wanted it to be full of a great moral lesson. […] So then Mr. Goldmark, the great film magnet [sic], said: “Why not be on the safe side and have it full of everything? So the scenario turned out to be delightful, because it was not only a cute love story, but it was quite “Psychological”, and it also taught a great moral lesson, and had very ornamental sets, in addition to a vialent [sic] mutiny in the Army. (Anita Loos, But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes 127) After two decades of publishing with Scribner’s Sons, Edith Wharton’s position in the American literary field in the 1920s became increasingly connected with her publications for women’s middlebrow magazines, such as Pictorial Review, and her book publications for the more mainstream Appleton publisher. Rutger B. Jewett, who worked as Wharton’s magazine agent, helped her to navigate particular print-cultural milieux of different periodicals and advised her on the Appleton book revisions. Through his careful negotiations with magazine editors and 67 orchestration of a series of bidding wars among middlebrow periodicals, Jewett managed to secure the highest prices for Wharton’s short stories and serials in the 1920s. Moreover, in this commercially successful period, Wharton was also earning money from her film and theatre adaptations and foreign translations of her work, also managed by Jewett. This chapter studies Wharton’s position in the literary field in the 1920s through her affiliation with Pictorial Review, which published many of her short stories and serialized novels in this period, including her hybrid ghost/detective stories in 1924-1926. By the time Wharton wrote these stories, she had already published serializations of novels The Age of Innocence (1920) and The Glimpses of the Moon (1922) in Pictorial Review, and by the end of the decade, she would also serialize The Mother’s Recompense (1924), Twilight Sleep (1927–1928), and The Children (1928) in the magazine. Pictorial Review editor Arthur Vance paid well for fiction by well-known writers such as Wharton. This greatly benefitted Wharton in the post-war period because she desperately needed to support her two households in France, her team of household staff and other dependents, and was perhaps more willing and—by that time—able to adapt her authorship to the changing literary field. In Chapter Three, I argue that in the Pictorial Review short stories—“The Temperate Zone” (1924), “Miss Mary Pask” (1925), and “The Young Gentlemen” (1926)—Wharton uses the authorial strategy of plasticity, which allowed her to simultaneously cater to the female middlebrow audience of the magazine and later, after revisions, to higher-brow book readers. This strategy consisted of the employment of the hybrid ghost/detective story genre, which bridges highbrow and middlebrow; the use of perspectivism and unreliable narration, which in combination with the magazine’s paratext provided space for readerly identification with various characters and viewpoints that targeted the female magazine audience; and, lastly, her use of 68 textual revisions of the volume version, which often reinforced a higher-brow interpretation of the text. In “The Vice of Reading” published in 1903, Wharton argues that high-quality books allow for their reading at different levels by different audiences (i.e., the “born” and the “mechanical” readers), and she claims the best literature is not written with a specific audience in mind. However, by the 1920s, Wharton employs her multilayered authorial strategy of plasticity that reinforces audience-specific reading of the same texts with the help of paratext and revisions. Wharton’s description of the artistic compromise in terms of art’s usefulness in both “The Temperate Zone” and “The Young Gentlemen” points to her continuous preoccupation with the purist-profiteer binary, which was already present in her Scribner’s Magazine artist stories and, arguably, her changing disposition and continuing adaptation to the postwar changing literary field. Wharton’s authorial strategy of plasticity, which mixes the high and the low, is reminiscent of Lorelei’s reflection about the conventions of film production in the 1920s at the beginning of Anita Loos’ But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes (1928) (which Wharton admired and had in her library), in which “the great film magnet [sic]” decides to fulfill the varied expectations of the film’s producers and all audiences by “hav[ing] it full of everything” (128) so that there is something for everyone. Wharton called Loos’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1925) “the great American novel”; she would read it aloud with her friends in the evening along with “The Odyssey” (Lewis, Letters 491). Wharton’s papers at the Beinecke even include a Vanity Fair cover featuring Anita Loos. Wharton’s affiliation with the popular Loos shows another more-business driven facet of her authorship connected with the middlebrow and the mass field of cultural production. This chapter will first describe in more detail Pictorial Review, including its paratextual framework such as advertisements and the magazine’s master narrative that promotes the 69 domesticity ideal for women. I will also define and discuss Wharton’s employment of the hybrid ghost/detective story genre, which was popular at the turn of the twentieth century and appreciated by Pictorial Review readers. The following sections on individual Pictorial Review stories will analyze her use of the authorial strategy of plasticity in the texts and her changing disposition. Pictorial Review was one of the “Big Six” women’s magazines at the turn of the twentieth century. Unlike the older-style subscription-based highbrow magazines connected with well-known publishing houses, such as Scribner’s Magazine and The Atlantic Monthly, Pictorial Review was a fifteen-cent, mass-circulation magazine dependent on the sale of advertisements for brand-name products targeted at the female middle-class consumers. Pictorial Review began in the 1890s as a fashion magazine, designed to sell dress patterns from the American Fashion Co. owned by William Paul Anhelt; early issues contained very little copy (Endres and Lueck 274). It taught its readers the importance of having a fashion sense. For instance, in February 1924, the issue in which “The Temperate Zone” appears, Pictorial Review’s “Fashions of the Month” section, which constituted one-fifth of the magazine’s content, included dress patterns for formal and informal clothing for women and children in all age categories (e.g., under the captions ”Young Girl’s Beauty,” “Models Designed for Southern Ware,” “Tunics and Draped Effects,” “Practical Can Be Lovely,” “Scientific Cuts for Slender Lines,” “New Sports Costumes,” and “Designs to Intrigue Fancy of the Clever Needlewoman”). The magazine also included advertisements for a range of fashion companies, such as National Cloak and Suit Co. and Garment Co., and Philip Born’s clothing catalogue promotes “New York and Paris Latest Fashion” (87). By February 1924, the contents, in addition to the large “Fashions of the Month” section, also included “Embroidery,” “Fiction,” “Special [expert] Articles,” “Homemaking,” and 70 “For the Children,” all of which reflected the magazine’s domestic focus. It is noteworthy that, unlike the highbrow Scribner’s Magazine, the contents page was located on the last page. This placement suggests that the reader was encouraged to read the whole magazine (including advertisements), instead of immediately skipping to the articles of their interest. Under the editorship of Arthur Vance (1907-1930), the magazine supported suffrage, birth control, and other progressive ideas and often published articles by women reformers, like Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Rheta Childe Dorr (Endres and Lueck 275). Their readership was also progressive. For example, an editorial by Ida Clyde Clarke in the February 1924 issue comments on the results of the magazine’s “straw vote,” in which almost twenty thousand readers expressed their opinion in favor of “uniform marriage and divorce law”, “a Federal amendment to abolish child labor,” and “some form of birth control” (2). Several advertisements in the issue celebrate women’s employment and their growing financial independence; for example, “The Story that Brought $1000 Cash and Royalties to an Obscure Housewife” celebrates housewife Mrs. Ethel Middleton writing of a contest-winning motion picture script named “Judgement of the Storm” (88); another advertisement features a woman saying to her husband, “Yes, Dick, We Can Afford the Things We Need!: At Last I’ve Found a Way to Turn My Spare Time into Extra Money!,” and promotes the Auto Knitter machine, which comes with a business deal: “the company offered to buy back all the standard grade socks made on [the] machine, at a guaranteed weekly wage” (89). Although these advertisements praised women’s ability to bring money to the family, they also promoted the housewife role to readers. Pictorial Review contained articles promoting women’s rights, divorce, and social events; biographies of famous men and women; and, often, popularized explanations of contemporary science, such as Albert Edward Wiggam’s pseudoscientific articles on heredity 71 and positive eugenics and, for example, articles promoting modern treatment of neurasthenia. Simultaneously, along with science, the magazine embraced Christianity and spirituality through its publication of the illustrated Ten Commandments by M. Leone Bracker (the first installation of which was published in the November 1924 issue) and a series of romance and adventure stories about Early Christianity, such as “The Sword and the Sunburst” by Agnes Laut, published in February 1924. The most popular fiction genres were mystery/detective stories, romances, local color stories, and adventures. For example, in June 1924, Pictorial Review published “The Sealed Packet” by Arthur Somers Roche, a “thrillingly dramatic […] stirring story of mystery, love, and adventure that will hold […the readers’] interest to the very last line” (Pictorial Review, June 1924, 5). Bildung narratives, another popular genre, often included strong female protagonists who, however, were still defined primarily through traditional (patriarchal) gender norms—through their ability to keep themselves beautiful and healthy to secure a husband and have children in a happy, well-organized, and clean middle-class household. Pictorial Review advertisements targeted female middle-class consumers by promoting beauty and health products. These conveyed the idea of the self as a series of purchases associated with individual and family happiness. For example, the February 1924 issue featuring “The Temperate Zone” contained several advertisements for skin creams. These advertisements insists that if a woman wants to prevent the deterioration of her skin due to “modern life […] taking from [her] skin,” “[she] must put back” in the form of Resinol Soap and Ointment (25); to look like an actress who “taxes her skin the most and looks the loveliest,” the reader might want to try Pond’s Cold and Vanishing Creams (27), Pompian Night cream to help her “to look as young as [her] skin looks” (92), or “Mineralava” cream, which “keeps faces young” (129). In 72 another advertisement in the April 1925 Pictorial Review, famous theatre actress Edna Wallace Hopper divulges her “youth and beauty regimen” to help readers to select the best products to feel “the thrilling happiness of conquering beauty” (e.g., “Youth Cream” and “White Youth Clay”) (122). If in need of more elaborate beauty advice, she could order a “Beauty Culture Course at Home” (126). In the same issue, Pictorial Review promoted various brands of hair color (e.g., Kolor-Bak, Brownatone, Inecto, and Mary J. Goldman’s) to help women to color their gray hair and thus to never look old; moreover, the “Mulsified Cocoanut Oil Shampoo” would “make [her] Hair Twice as Beautiful—delightfully soft and silky” (38) or “Henna Foam Shampoo” would “Work a Miracle of Radiance in [her] Hair” (92). Other advertisements promoted various housekeeping products such as cleaning products that protected women’s hands, household appliances, and furniture. Kathleen Eddy’s article, “The Source of Beauty: In Which Its Corner-Stone is Discovered—and Its Relation to an old Adage is Discussed” (40), published in the February 1924 Pictorial Review, further promotes the magazine’s “beauty, health, youth, happiness” master narrative to its female middle-class readers. In her article, Eddy urges women to take care of their looks by “devoting time to exercising and resting […] and then try[ing] to find out what [their] particular skin needs” are because, as the beauty specialist affiliated with the magazine suggests, ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of care“ (40). Eddy advises readers to avoid factors that cause wrinkles, such as worrying, using improper soap, and squinting in the sun and the wind. The article further discusses “constructive” and “decorative” beauty products as necessary parts of every woman’s beauty regimen, and thus dovetails with the many advertisements for beauty products of both kinds in the magazine (40). In addition to regular use of cosmetics, Eddy’s beauty article stresses the importance of maintaining one’s health through 73 adequate amounts of exercise and rest, and frequent vacations in the countryside to help the overloaded nervous system resulting from the pressures of modern life to relax, all of which will help women to look younger and live longer. Eddy’s article, which explained the importance of self-care, assisted in selling the cosmetics and health products promoted in the magazine. The first readers of Wharton’s ghost/detective stories encountered them in Pictorial Review and therefore within its paratextual contexts of illustration and other serials (e.g., by Joseph Conrad and Kathleen Norris), advertisements for cosmetic and cleaning products, and expert articles on beauty, health, fashion, housekeeping and childrearing. Wharton’s depiction of female characters encourages the readerly connection with female characters who fit the magazine’s female middle-class ideal of the wife who maintains her appearance and health (e.g., Bessy in “The Temperate Zone”), is an efficient housekeeper (e.g., Grace Bridgeworth in “Miss Mary Pask”), and takes care of her family and/or children (e.g., Grace and Mrs. Durant in “The Young Gentlemen”). Symptomatically, fashion plays a crucial role in Wharton’s portrayal of female characters in “The Temperate Zone” and, to a lesser extent, in “Miss Mary Pask.” Moreover, Wharton’s employment of the hybrid ghost/detective story genre shows her awareness of the formulas that her middlebrow audience were familiar with and that sold well. In the preface to her later collection, Ghosts (1937), Wharton, upholding her higher-brow brand, presents the ghost story as an inherently higher-brow genre, which requires a greater interpretative effort from readers. Wharton thinks that ghosts cannot be perceived through the mind—“it is in the warm darkness of the pre-natal fluid far below our conscious reason that the faculty dwells with which we apprehend the ghosts we may not be endowed with the gift of seeing” (Critical Writings, “Preface to Ghosts” 271). Whereas a “ghost-seer” is “always a rare bird”, the “ghost-feeler, the person sensible of invisible currents of being in certain places and 74 certain hours” has a chance to encounter a ghost through other senses than vision (270). Wharton complains that the modern fast-paced life of “the wireless and the cinema” (271) “atrophied” readers’ “imagination” and prevented them from encountering ghosts who need “continuity and silence” (272) to manifest. Writing for the higher-brow book audience and conscious of promoting her brand as a serious author, Wharton complains in the preface that when she began to write ghost stories she “was conscious of a common medium between [herself] and [her] readers, of their meeting [her] half-way among the primeval shadows, and filling in the gaps in [her] narrative with sensations and divinations akin to [her] own” (271); for the book audience, she brings back the idea of “born” and “mechanical” readers and complains about the demands of the magazine readers of her ghost story “Pomegranate Seed” for a straightforward, unambiguous ending because they lack the “creative faculty” (271). Needless to say, the very readers Wharton critiques in her book preface in the late 1930s are catered to in the magazine versions of her ghost/detective stories (and her serialized novels) in the 1920s. In her Pictorial Review short stories, Wharton revises or renovates the traditional ghost story genre and adds popular detective elements and undertones to the narrative. Wharton’s strategic employment of the ghost/detective story hybrid genre in her Pictorial Review stories demonstrates her awareness of the different audiences that might read her texts. Wharton’s usage of the detective-story narrative and tropes in her ghost/detective stories and her Pictorial Review serialized novels, Twilight Sleep and The Glimpses of the Moon,37 reveals her knowledge of the 37 A few critics have noted Wharton’s employment of detective tropes in Twilight Sleep and in The Glimpses of the Moon. In her reading of Twilight Sleep, Hellen Killoran argues that readers, who become like detectives, are invited to follow the given clues and to solve the “The Mystery of the Sacrificial Daughter” (108). In addition to their entertainment value, these novels convey a deeper message about “the search for the meaning of life” in the pleasure-seeking, post-war world (109). In her proposed 75 popularity of this genre in the American literary market in the 1920s, often called the “Golden Age of detective fiction” (Landrum 9). This period “saw considerable experimentation and innovation with characters, situations, plots, and styles” in the genre (9). The detective story genre was in demand, especially in middlebrow magazines, such as Pictorial Review or Delineator, but it was also becoming popular with higher-brow audiences. Mysteries were, for example, a staple on Appleton’s book list in the 1920s (as were books on spirituality), and Wharton wrote these ghost/detective stories already with a book collection in mind. Appleton recognized that these stories were not typical ghost stories and did not market them as such, despite the inference that readers might draw from the title. The Appleton dust jacket of the first American edition of Here and Beyond informs the reader that many of the stories in the collection are of a “psychic nature […] dealing with the ‘beyond,’ which cannot be ranked as [traditional] ghost stories,” perhaps attempting to prevent readers’ disappointment on not encountering the genre’s traditional form. While the three atypical ghost stories deal with the realm of spirituality—of the world “beyond” (including a wide range of phenomena outside of the physical realm such as intuition, luck, and compassion)—they do not contain real ghosts; rather, a mystery and/or detective investigation drives their plot. They also all deal with failures of perception and perspectivism. Wharton’s renovation of the ghost story genre reflects her awareness of the period’s preoccupation with spirituality within the context of a more rational/scientific age, in which analysis of the plot for teaching purposes, Meredith Goldsmith suggests a reading of the novel through the detective lens, focusing on the issue of who is responsible for shooting Nona (7-11). 76 ghost stories with real ghosts could no longer exist and were being replaced by detective stories with occult elements. Contemporaneous critics who read these ghost/detective stories in the Here and Beyond collection published by Appleton in 1926 generally read them as ghost stories written by a higher-brow author. They praised them for their “ageless themes” that “do not date” (Tuttleton 418), but that nonetheless might seem “old-fashioned, if not archaic, to the postwar generation” (418). George D. Meadows wrote that the collection “will be welcomed relief from the jazz tempo of so much of our contemporary fiction” (423). Other critics, such as L. P. Hartley in the Saturday Review, praised Wharton’s choice of New England as a “happy hunting-ground for the ghost-monger” (420). These book readers seemed to focus mostly on Wharton’s employment of the well-established, traditional ghost story genre, as implied by the title of the collection. A few critics, who read the stories more carefully, however, recognized that they in fact contained “very little of the ‘beyond’” (424), describing them as being more of “a ‘psychic’ kind” (423). Wharton uses a hybrid ghost/detective story genre in her Pictorial Review short stories, which was popular at the turn of the twentieth century and was connected with contemporary visual theories. As Srdjan Smajic explains in Ghost-Seers, Detectives and Spiritualists: Theories of Vision in Victorian Literature and Science, his study of the relationship between ghost and detective fiction in this period, they were both structured by, and in conversation with, “contemporary philosophical and scientific work on visual perception” (3). Both these genres and their hybrid combinations in this period often deal with the theme of the failure of perception. While the logic of the ghost story relies on the presumption that “seeing is believing” (26), the more rational detective story assumes that senses are not trustworthy (6). Whereas the ghost story often depicts the failure of perception as a result of a disease of the observer and, in 77 some cases, promotes a different kind of “inward eyesight” (5) as an alternative way of seeing the ghostly, the detective story portrays the failure of sight as a result of “inference…the interpretation of the sensation” (67). The detective story draws on visual theories that understand vision “as perception rather than sensation […which] happens not to the eye but to an observer” (70). It depicts the “visible world […as] a text, [and] the detective its astute observer and expert reader” (71); in other words, the detective fiction of the fin-de-siècle embraces “the-seeing-is-reading model” or paradigm of interpretation, which stresses the importance of individual “inference” (6). However, if “making inferences is the only way to understand [the] text, […] it is also the path to misreading and misinterpretations” (6). Drawing on the views of nineteenth-century psychologists interested in theories of perception, such as Alexander Bain and Henry Maudsley, Smajic, summarizing the ideas of the fin-de-siècle, explains that “the mind behind the eye […] is not one but many: there are as many points of view on reality, and as many realities, as there are individual observers [;…t]here is no going back […] to the naïve Enlightenment fantasy of clear-sightedness and epistemological objectivity” (92). All of Wharton’s Pictorial Review hybrid ghost/detective stories deal with the issue of subjective, unreliable vision, which is connected with her employment of perspectivism in the narrative, a part of her authorial strategy of plasticity. At the turn of the century, the two modes were often hybridized and gave rise to the “occult detective” who relies on supernatural, beyond elements, like intuition and “sixth sense” (Smajic 8). As Smajic explains in his study of turn of the twentieth-century ghost and detective stories, “[w]hile the rationalist protocols of nineteenth-century detective fiction ostensibly preclude non-rational forms of knowledge, and even more so, supernatural occurrences, the genre consistently displays signs of affinity with clairvoyance and telepathy, intuitionism and 78 spiritualism” (6). Smajic deconstructs the rigid division between science, on the one hand, and religion and/or spiritualism, on the other, that many literary critics employ in their discussion of ghost and detective stories of the period and notes that “occult detection” came into existence in the 1870s with Joseph Sheridan LeFanu’s stories about “the metaphysical physician Martin Hesselius” (8). Wharton admired and was inspired by LeFanu’s ghost stories, as she admits in her 1937 preface to Ghosts (Uncollected Works 272). In her Pictorial Review short stories, Wharton blends the ghost story and the detective story genres. In “The Temperate Zone,” for example, Wharton figures protagonist Willis French’s literary research as a detective’s quest to ascertain the truth about the life of the recently deceased Horace Fingall, a famous purist, highbrow painter. At the same time, his search for the ungraspable ‘ghost’ of the artist (linked with the unreliability of subjective perspective) is guided by some higher power from beyond instead of a rational gathering of facts. Similarly, “Miss Mary Pask,” while building on the central premise of the more modern ghost story that portrays a ghost as a failure of individual perception due to a disease, simultaneously depicts the narrator’s tale about the ghost of Mary Pask as a suspenseful mystery to be solved. “The Young Gentlemen” tells a story of the unreliable narrator’s quest to solve the mystery of the existence of Cranch’s hidden dwarf children, who are portrayed as ghosts, and of Cranch’s friend Mrs. Durant’s more compassionate (female) view of the twins, as perceived through her “inward eyesight” (Smajic 5). 79 3.2 Authorial Strategy of Plasticity in Wharton’s Ghost/Detective Stories 3.2.1 “The Temperate Zone” Edith Wharton’s “The Temperate Zone” was published in Pictorial Review in February 1924. The protagonist, Willis French is a biographical researcher who conducts research financed by his publisher on a famous and recently deceased highbrow painter Horace Fingall (i.e. a search for his ghost), and later, also on his favorite poet, Emily Morland, who died within a few months of Fingall. French finds it curious that “chance had after all linked their names before posterity through the fact that” Fingall’s wife Bessy had remarried Donald Paul, the man who had been Emily Morland’s partner (Pictorial Review, February 1924, 6). The story follows French’s trip through Kensigton (where the Donald Pauls’ house is) to Paris to interview Mrs. Bessy Paul, formerly Mrs. Fingall, for his book about the now-famous “purist” painter (McDonald 14). When visiting Fingall’s Paris studio, French accidentally finds therein a sketch of Bessy’s current husband’s former lover Emily Morland, which, to his mind, proves that the two artists knew each other (64). In exchange for the sketch, French agrees to write a biography of Emily Morland to help Bessy’s husband Donald Paul, her former partner with whom she had entrusted this responsibility after her death. However, as further payment for the sketch, Bessy Paul—who since the death of Fingall has transformed from a muse into a businesswoman (Orlando 105-117) selling off Fingall’s paintings to live in luxury—negotiates a business deal with French to obtain a discount on a full-length portrait of her by a fashionable French painter, André Jolyesse, whose art both Fingall and French despised for its “profiteer,” popular appeal (McDonald 14). 80 First, this section argues that in “The Temperate Zone,” Wharton catered to the general middlebrow audience of women’s magazines such as Pictorial Review, through her employment of the authorial strategy of plasticity—conveyed through her usage of the ghost/detective story genre, her emphasis on perspectivism, and her awareness of the paratext. Rather than depicting Willis French as a literary researcher, Wharton depicts him as an “occult detective” and an expert who, nonetheless, in addition to his employment of a scientific method based on careful observation and gathering of facts about his research subjects, also relies on chance, luck, and intuition. The story draws on contemporary visual theories that are commonly used in fin-de-siècle detective fiction (Smajic). It points to the subjective nature of individual perspective, which always necessarily consists of an act of interpretation or inference (i.e., “seeing” is always “reading” [Smajic 6]). Second, it shows that both Wharton’s perspectivism and the magazine paratext (e.g., advertisements, illustrations, and beauty articles) reinforce and allow for readerly identification with female characters who fit the gender ideal for women promoted by the magazine; through this lens, the fashion-conscious Bessy could be interpreted as a positive, strong female character who outsmarts French and wins over both her dead husband, who forced her to live in austerity, and Emily Morland, who was not the ideal partner for Donald Paul. By contrast, textual revisions of the volume version of the story seem to encourage a higher-brow reading that would focus on French’s more sophisticated literary perspective and his negative view of the profiteering Bessy. Moreover, without the magazine paratext, Bessy might be read rather negatively as Wharton’s critique of the commodification of women’s beauty, as Emily Orlando views her (105). Lastly, in “The Temperate Zone,” Wharton revisits the art-versus-business preoccupation, the main theme of many of her pre-war Scribner’s Magazine artist stories. She 81 further challenges the (positive) “purist” and the (negative) “profiteer” binary by exposing the inevitable selfishness of highbrow artists, as perceived via Paul’s (and Bessy’s) perspective, and French’s embrace of the idea of usefulness in both life and art. Through the characters of French, Fingall, and Bessy, “The Temperate Zone” explores the opposition between the “heteronomous” (profiteer, associated with Jolyesse and Bessy) and “autonomous” modes (purist, associated with Fingall; French oscillates between the two modes) of cultural production by depicting them as two extremes, which, perhaps, no longer accurately reflect the reality of the postwar literary field (Bourdieu 40). Fittingly, the title of the short story, “The Temperate Zone,” dovetails with the idea of usefulness; it suggests that a place between two artistic extremes—in the middlebrow, between the high and the low production in the literary field. Indeed, most of the world’s population lives comfortably between the two extremes of the tropics and the polar regions. On one level (especially when read only in the book form), “The Temperate Zone” tells a story about Willis French’s literary research trip to discover more about Horace Fingall’s life and art. French is a failed artist who, on the advice of Fingall and Emily Morland that there is “field enough for the artistic sensibilities outside the region of production” (Pictorial Review, February 1924, 6), becomes an art critic and plans to write a book for a general audience about the highbrow painter under the title “The Art of Horace Fingall” (5). He begins his research trip in London’s Kensington neighbourhood and then travels to Paris to interview Fingall’s widow, Bessy Paul, in his search for unknown biographical details (i.e., pieces of evidence) about Fingall, as he believes that “the particular way of dealing with a man’s art depended so much on its relation to his private life and on the chance of a real insight into that […;] any serious attempt to analyze so complex an art must be preceded by a reverent scrutiny of the artist’s personality” (61). French is a self-proclaimed art expert who wishes to expound high-art for the 82 masses who are less educated on matters of art and culture. He realizes that the success of his book depends on the timeliness of his project, which will ensure his critical acclaim in the art/literary world: “[i]t was because the ignorant herd wanted to know what to say, when it heard Fingall mentioned that Willis French was to be allowed to tell it, such was the base rubble the Temple of Fame was built of!” (61). He hopes to build the purist painter’s critical reputation for posterity; he knows that “future generations would enrich its face with lasting marbles; and it was to be French’s privilege to put the first slab in place” (61). His research project is timely because, after Fingall’s death, many articles about him and reviews of his works appeared in journals all over the world; “to correct their mistakes and fill up their omissions was the particular purpose of [French’s] book” (62). On another level, perhaps to make literary research more palatable for the middlebrow reader, Wharton portrays French’s process as a detective investigation. Bessy thinks of herself as something of a detective too. For example, he interrogates the Pauls’ maid and pretends that he is interested in buying the Pauls’ Kensington house so that he can carefully examine the former house of Emily Morland; he finds out from the maid that they are currently vacationing in a luxurious Parisian hotel. Following the couple to France, French hunts for more pieces to complete the puzzle about the life of Horace Fingall through his former wife, Bessy, only to realize that her “information had already been robbed of its spontaneity”—she simply repeats learned phrases about the purist nature of the painter’s art, which she has already shared with other critics who have questioned her before and which, ironically, after Fingall’s death, help dealers to sell his paintings at higher prices under his high-brow brand (62). French searches Fingall’s studio where he “single[s] out a shabby sketch-book” with the painter’s only sketch of Mrs. Morland (64): proof that Fingall and Emily knew each other. Finally, through his 83 investigation/research, French hopes “to put his finger on the clue to his problem” (61). In the final scene, when Bessy asks French for the favor of being painted by Jolyesse at a discount (he is French’s friend), Bessy is surprised that the dealers had left the sketch in the studio because they “went through everything like detectives after finger-prints” and she suspects that French has the sketch in his pocket (he has tried to steal it), “as if she herself was a detective” (66). Wharton’s multiple references to the detective genre in “The Temperate Zone” are reflective of its immense popularity in the 1920s and the 1930s and of her being in tune with the market demand. Representative of the hybrid ghost/detective story genre itself, French’s literary research is guided by chance, intuition, and accident (the “beyond” dimension of a ghost story) rather than solely by reason and scientific investigation, qualities more typical for a traditional detective story. In “The Temperate Zone,” Wharton conveys a sense of a higher power behind French’s quest for [his] truth. Even at the beginning of his literary investigation, “[French] has a sharp professional instinct for missing no chance” and makes use of all random unexpected opportunities to become closer to the subject(s) of his literary case (Pictorial Review, February 1924, 6); he “was to have an unforeseen good luck of following Mrs. Donald Paul to Paris” (5). It is “chance” that linked the names of the painter and the poet through the marriage of their former partners (6); and when French sees Bessy Paul for the first time “he could almost have prayed for guidance, for some supernatural light on what to say to her!” (61). “[L]uck continues to favor [French]” when he runs into Donald Paul on the stairs in the hotel where he is staying (62); he praises the “reappearance of his ‘luck’” when Donald Paul is willing to show him Fingall’s studio because Bessy is busy with dressmakers (62). French’s reliance on chance and intuition resembles that of Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902) who also, 84 as Smajic explains, relies on supranatural powers as well as reason: “Occult detectives blend ratiocination with intuition, corporeal-sense observation with clairvoyance and telepathy, and effect a reconciliation of metaphysical and materialist paradigms, and also foreground the affinities between two ostensibly divergent and antagonistic literary genres: ghost story and detective fiction” (8). Wharton’s employment of intuition, chance, and luck in “The Temperate Zone” as valid means of searching for (individual) truth reflects the period’s and the magazine’s argument about the importance of religion and spirituality in society (in addition to science), but also Wharton’s preoccupation with religion/spirituality in the 1920s when she was losing her faith in science and becoming more interested in the topic.38 In “The Temperate Zone,” Wharton’s portrayal of French’s (detective) search for truth, which is always subjective, demonstrates her preoccupation with the theme of perspectivism (which formed part of her authorial strategy of plasticity) and the failure of perception. The difficulty of French’s quest for the truth about the artists’ lives and art is that there is no single true version of reality to be discovered, only multiple perspectives of the world as conveyed by different characters. For instance, when French is conducting literary research for his book, he realizes that Bessy’s account of the painter’s life “hardly added a grain to his previous 38 The “beyond” elements of Wharton’s later ghost/detective stories reflect her change of opinion regarding science and religion in the 1920s. In 1906, in a letter to her close friend, Sara Norton, Wharton complains that “’Humanity will never be satisfied with scientific knowledge to explain its inward relation to reality’—What other kind of knowledge is it capable of receiving?” (Lewis, Letters 10). Moreover, before the First World War, she admired Nietzsche’s concept of the “blond beast […] a mythic embodiment…of naked instinct” and “shared for the time [his] driving hostility to Christianity as an emasculating…and a repressive” force (Lewis, Biography 230). However, after the war, Wharton became interested in Catholicism and spirituality, as reflected in her extensive collection of books on the histories of saints and religious orders (Lewis, Biography 510). Lewis notes that “maturity and the religious sensibility were becoming related in her mind” (510), which explains Wharton’s preoccupation with the failure of a purely scientific perspective in her ghost/detective ghost stories to provide instruction for a fulfilled human life. 85 knowledge”, which suggests the limited nature of her narrative about her first husband (or perhaps the most marketable one from a business point of view) (Pictorial Review, February 1924, 61). Another example is one character’s inaccurate vision and description of Fingall’s studio, which, in reality, is not the “picturesque […,] upholstered setting for afternoon teas” but a scornfully bare shabby room, as French eventually discovers, showing the unglamorous reality of highbrow art, which is often misperceived by others (62). The various ways in which Fingall, Jolyesse, and French perceive Fingall’s famous abstract portrait of Bessy in the Luxembourg and later perceive Bessy herself also reflect differing perceptions of reality and truth. Whereas French praises the portrait as “an inexhaustible reservoir of beauty, a still pool into which imagination could perpetually dip and draw a new treasure” (61), Jolyesse criticizes the very same painting for depicting Bessy as a “consumptive witch” and “a vegetarian vampire” (7). When Jolyesse first sees Bessy, he does not even recognize her as the woman from Fingall’s famous painting. He is taken with her stunning beauty and wishes to paint her but in a more realistic, but flattering “old-fashioned way” (7).39 However, when French first meets Bessy, he perceives her critically: she “ha[s] the air of wearing her features, like her clothes, simply because they were the latest fashion, not because they were a part of her being” (7). From French’s higher-brow perspective, “[Bessy’s] inner state was probably a much less complicated affair: a state, French fancied, of easy, apathetic good humor galvanized by the frequent need of a cigarette and a gentle enjoyment of her companion’s conversation” (7). In his view, she is “artless,” and has “sphinx eyes” and “a soul as cloudless as a child’s” (61). The character of 39 Needless to note, as Orlando also suggests, Jolyesse “conflate[s] painting a woman with bedding her” (112). 86 Bessy and the various perspectives through which she is perceived allow for interpreting her character at different levels and imply Wharton’s awareness of her different target audiences. Despite French’s commitment to finding the truth about Horace Fingall using both a literary research method based on a “reverent scrutiny of the artist’s personality” (61) and a scientific detective method of collecting proofs from various sources via field interviews and room examinations, Wharton implies that even French’s literary-detective perspective will always necessarily remain subjective and a part of a particular narrative about his research subject depending on which ‘facts’ he manages to collect and how he assembles them together. The literary and detective research parts collapse when we see French’s method as more intuitive than originally claimed. Although French is aware that “[h]is first duty, plainly, if he were ever to thread a way through the tangle, was to readjust himself and try to see things from a different point of view” (61), according to the contemporary visual theorists, his view would always necessarily remain inferential and could never be fully objective and all-encompassing. French’s inability to ‘read’ one of Fingall’s unfinished paintings—which contains “only a few charcoal strokes” and perhaps “hinted at a head—unless indeed it were a landscape” (62)—and his recognition of Emily Morland in the unfinished sketch, while even her former partner Donald fails to recognize her and calls the sketch a “caricature,”—imply the inevitable subjectivity of both French’s own vision and the literary narratives about the two artists that he will write (64). Moreover, when he agrees to also write a biography of Emily Morland, it becomes clear that deciding which material he will and will not use (e.g., her love letters to Donald) is already, to an extent, an act of interpretation. French’s perspective is as subjective as those of the unreliable narrators in Wharton’s other late ghost stories (“Miss Mary Pask” and “The Young 87 Gentlemen”), who are mentally unstable and whose perspectives are thus even more obviously untrustworthy and allow for their reading at different levels. By using perspectivism to interpret the female characters in “The Temperate Zone” and within the context of the Pictorial Review’s paratextual frame (e.g., the magazine’s latest fashion advertisements, illustrations, and articles), readers would positively identify with Bessy Paul. Wharton caters to the female middlebrow readers of Pictorial Review by portraying Bessy as a stunningly beautiful amateur model who follows the latest fashion trends, a reading that was further supported by the magazine’s paratext. For example, when Jolyesse first sees Bessy on the deck of the ship sailing to America, he noted that she wears a “honeymoon outfit”—“the sable cloak and the brand new travelling bags” (7), similar to the clothes and products advertised by Delineator. He wishes to paint her because of her beauty and fashionable style. She is the opposite of Emily Morland, a “sallow woman with dull hair and a dowdy dress,” and about whose beauty even French notes that “to make [it] visible [one] had to clothe it in [her] poetry” (6). After Emily’s premature death, Donald Paul has placed on her desk a “portrait of the other woman, [Bessy,] her successor: the woman to whom had been given the one great thing that [Emily] had lacked [beauty linked with a happy family life with Donald Paul]” (6). The commodification of fashion, in which Bessy consciously participates, plays an important role in “The Temperate Zone.” The three illustrations by J.E. Allen that accompany the story in Pictorial Review depict Bessy in splendid dress; the last, which portrays her during a fitting with one of her many dressmakers in Paris, shows her watching herself in the mirror while a friend or an assistant nearby also observes Bessy’s image and judges how well the dress suits her. The caption under the illustration stresses that “[s]he really tries out the coming fashions for them [the dressmakers]—lots of things succeed or fail as they happen to look on her” (Figure 3.1) 88 (Pictorial Review, February 1924, 7). Bessy becomes an amateur model who influences fashion trends. Figure 3.1 Allen, J.E. “The Temperate Zone” Illustration (Pictorial Review, February 1924, 7) 89 The Pictorial Review reader would have first encountered “The Temperate Zone” paratextually within the framework of the magazine—its advertisements and Eddy’s beauty article, “The Source of Beauty: In Which Its Corner-Stone is Discovered—and Its Relation to an old Adage is Discussed” (Pictorial Review, February 1924, 40). When juxtaposed with the surrounding text, Eddy’s article further supports a positive reading of Bessy as the heroine who maintains a flawless external appearance. Eddy explains that owing to enhanced beauty self-care, which implies usage of the advertised products,40 “[w]omen do not grow old so quickly any more. They feel young, they act young, and announce to all the world that the easy chair and knitting basket are still far in the future so far as they are concerned” (40). In “The Temperate Zone,” symptomatically, Wharton describes Bessy as “handsome and young” although she is “on the warm side of forty” (7). Her obligation as a newly married woman is to maintain her youthful appearance. When French first hears Bessy speaking, she hopes that “Marshall’s [a famous department store in the 1920s] brought enough of that new stuff for [her] face” (7). Finally, an advertisement for Rigaud’s Parfum Mary Garden, which is directly facing the text of “The Temperate Zone,” contains a photograph of the head of the famous opera singer, which implies the link between beauty, success, and the advertised products in the magazine. The text says: “The secret is out!: Noted Parisian perfumer finally discloses the reason why his most popular odeur has for years been the favorite of so many women”; it “[has] had a persistent 40 For example, the February issue contains several advertisements for toilet soaps and dish soaps that are gentle for women’s skin and will help them to preserve their beauty; while Palmolive soap is advertised as helping the clever reader “to stay young for her husband” which would make him “proud of his wife” (57), the “fine” Ivory soap is advertised as helping women “achieve and maintain beautiful skin”(4), and Borax soap chips are advertised as allowing the reader to “keep [her] hands as young as [her] face” (97). Other advertisements promote coconut oil shampoo for more beautiful hair, Cutex professional tools for the perfect manicure (44), Pepsodent and Colgate toothpastes to achieve a beautiful smile and, in the “decorative” category, a natural cheek color [blush] and a special compact mirror. 90 vogue” like “the never-waning popularity of the famous opera artiste whose name it bears, has lived on and on like an ever-fragrant flower” (61). The perfume maker explains that “[his company] deliberately set for [itself] the task of achieving an odeur that would do just one thing—an odeur so seductive, so fascinating, so bewitching that it would be utterly irresistible to men” (61). To create such a scent, the perfume makers relied on the opinions of women all over the world to create a “fragrance that never dies”—“a perfume with so distinctive, so individual and so seductive a personality that men simply could not resist it!” (61). The advertisement assumes that attracting men remains a woman’s vocation, despite the New Woman’s greater emancipation, and that if the reader wants to be as attractive as Bessy Paul, she needs to purchase the new fragrance—an idea that Wharton implies through her portrayal of female characters in “The Temperate Zone.” Advertisements for more luxury items, such as the French perfume, cater to the social-climbing aspirations of the magazine’s target female readers who would admire female celebrities, such as the opera singer or even Wharton. From a paratextual perspective, readers encountering the story in Pictorial Review would view Emily Morland as an outsider (contrasting French’s view of her); she does not live long enough to marry her partner, Donald Paul, perhaps because she fails to take care of her beauty and health, which are promoted by the magazine as interrelated. For example, an advertisement for Dagget & Ramsdell’s Perfect Cold Cream might help readers avoid the fate of Emily Morland whose life would have been different if she had listened to the advertisement that advises the reader to “Realize [her] Beauty Before it is Too Late” and “start taking care of [her] skin now” (64). The advertisement depicts a beautiful young woman who looks seductively and lovingly at her (potential future?) husband and includes text that criticizes women for putting off the care of their skin for later, only to wake up “some day […] to find that the best part of life 91 has passed while [they] have been waiting to develop [their] beauty. [They] have lived less fully and less happily than [they] might. And then it is too late!” (64). Moreover, as a poet, Emily probably (in the readers’ perspective) led an inactive and sedentary lifestyle that contributed to her premature aging and ill-health, as discussed in Eddy’s article. It is telling that Bessy, by contrast, is not a serious reader (perhaps like most Pictorial Review readers) because she cannot even remember where she left a book recommended to her by a friend (7). The magazine’s advertisements often link beauty with health—Nujol laxative would help a woman to stay “as beautiful as on the day [she] married” (99), Pyorrhocide Powder would provide relief when she suffers from “receding gums” (126), Jung’s Arch Braces could prevent foot and leg pain (74) and, if she envied the health of others, the reader could try Fleischmann’s Yeast for the maintenance of general health. All of these products, the paratextual reading of the story implies, could have helped Emily to stay alive and pretty. Needless to say, most of the advertisements stress the role of women as beautiful objects (Orlando 116) whose chief objective in life is to attract and be able to keep a man, which is reflective of the traditional gender roles in marriage that the magazine continued to promote along with its increasing focus on women’s equal rights. Although the New Woman had greater freedoms than ever before in pursuing a life outside of the domestic sphere, Pictorial Review still endorsed romance as a part of the complete happiness package, as reflected in Bessy Paul’s narrative trajectory. Bessy not only is victorious while the less pretty (and dead) Emily loses out on marrying Donald but also proves to be more practical and businesslike than both French and Fingall, which reflects Pictorial Review’s focus on women gaining greater independence and equality in society. Moreover, the promotion blurb for “Jenny the Joyous,” a new serial by Cornelia Stratton Parker, which would begin in the subsequent issue of Pictorial Review, celebrates an independent woman, like Bessy, who 92 manages to balance her professional and personal life; it offers “the first candid portrayal of the emotional life of the modern well-bred businesswoman—the woman who enters her career with a background of culture and education and a happy marriage—the woman who has a capacity for love and romance—the woman with unconquerable soul who can face her sorrows and failures with a transcending joy in the persistent beauty of life” (Pictorial Review, February 1924, 19). When read within the context of the magazine, Bessy’s story is that of strength, success, and agency. She manages to negotiate obtaining her portrait by Jolyesse in exchange for the sketch of Emily. Throughout the last scene, Wharton portrays her as more powerful than French: “Tho she held him playfully her long fine fingers seemed as strong as steel” (66). Finally, Bessy asserts her authority and closes her business deal: “After all, business is business, isn’t it? We ordinary mortals who don’t live in the clouds among the gods can’t afford to give nothing for nothing. You don’t—so why should I?” (66). French is unable to respond and only notes that Bessy’s face is “warm, persuasive, and confident” and, to his satisfaction, he finds “the first faint lines of age” (66). Finally, Bessy’s equal marriage to Donald, who admires her and supports her ambition, is a significant improvement over her first marriage to Horace Fingall, in which she functioned as his muse and had no agency. Her marriage to Donald is the type of a union the magazine promotes as ideal for women. Contrary to French’s critical view that Bessy is motivated to have a portrait done to satisfy her vanity, Bessy actually wants to obtain the full-length portrait by Jolyesse to please her husband, Donald, who wishes to have a more realistic portrait of her. It is symptomatic that they have photographs of one another on their desks as proof of their continuing romance. Although Bessy is depicted as an independent female character with agency, her positive portrayal in the magazine was also connected to her love for fashion, beauty, health, self-care, and her romantic marriage with Donald Paul. 93 While encountering Bessy within the context of Pictorial Review invites a positive interpretation of her character, Wharton scholars who have not read the story from a paratextual perspective, portray Bessy negatively. In her chapter, “Exhausting Beauty: The Avenging Muse in ‘The Temperate Zone’,” Orlando (focusing mainly on the volume version of the story) provides mostly a critical interpretation of Bessy Paul. In her reading of the story, Orlando focuses on the former-muse-turned-“Jazz-Age supermodel” (105) and contends that Wharton “shows a woman securing agency by using art to her advantage, and […who] revises the pre-Raphaelite script of male creativity, invoking real-life women and rewriting their stories” (105). Orlando argues that it is telling that it is Bessy who, by “secur[ing] power in a superficial culture of display, manipulating the rules of representation and masterminding her objectification” (105), outlives Emily Morland, the female artist who “did not choose to sell out and, perhaps consequently, does not survive” (117). Apart from her physical appearance, Bessy owes her survival to her business instinct; she transforms from being a muse and the lifeless object of Fingall’s paintings (reminiscent of Dante Rossetti’s relationship with his female sitters/muses/lovers Elizabeth Siddall and Jane Morris) into a soulless, “shrewd businesswoman” who manages to negotiate and obtain what she wants—her full-length portrait by Jolyesse—in exchange for the Fingall sketch (114). Although Bessy—like Undine Spragg in The Custom of the Country and unlike Lily Bart in The House of Mirth—gains agency within the patriarchal capitalist system, she does so through her own objectification (i.e., through the conscious usage of her appearance and her body to her advantage), which seems to be the only means for women to advance and survive even in the Progressive Era (117). Although Orlando mentions the 94 magazine illustrations that portray Bessy as a flapper,41 which further imply her commodification when juxtaposed with the text, Orlando reads the story mainly within the context of its book publication and the interpretive frame of the correspondingly more educated audience who might catch Wharton’s critique and the revision of the Rossetti’s muse script and, perhaps, be familiar with the fates of Lily Bart and Undine Spragg. Moreover, Orlando interprets Bessy negatively from French’s perspective of her as ruthless and money-oriented, which is influenced by his veneration of highbrow art. However, I would argue that reading the story paratextually within the context of Pictorial Review, where it first appears, and, for example, from the positive perspective of Donald Paul (similar to the view evoked by the magazine paratext), who admires Bessy and understands her role as a fashion icon, allows for an alternative, positive reading of Bessy’s character as the ideal (upper) middle-class woman—a beautiful, strong, and practical heroine with agency. She wins over not only Fingall, but also French and Emily Morland, and, finally, marries a partner who treats her as his equal. As a part of her authorial strategy of plasticity, Wharton revises the magazine text of “The Temperate Zone” (and her other Pictorial Review ghost/detective stories), before the subsequent volume publication, adding, for example, ellipsis to cater to the higher-brow book audience. Jean F. Blackall considers ellipses as Wharton’s means “to entice the reader to enter into imaginative collaboration with the writer” (145). Ellipses are present in Wharton’s manuscript and book versions of the story and fit into Wharton’s idea about the “born reader”, who would probably 41 Orlando notes that the three illustrations by J.E. Allen that accompany the story in Pictorial Review all focus on Bessy as a “flapper” figure (115)—they “depict women slouching, suggesting a kind of exhaustion from the life of excess associated with the Jazz Age—from partying, dancing, sexual promiscuity and the rituals involved with maintaining one’s beauty” (115-116). However, Wharton’s text suggests that Bessy, despite her “up-to-date attire,” seems to belong to “a period before the triumph of the slack and the slouching” (Pictorial Review, February 1924, 7). 95 encounter the story in its more prestigious volume format and who could creatively participate in “an interchange of thought between writer and reader” (Wharton, “The Vice of Reading” 99). Similarly, Horner and Beer consider ellipses to be a modernist feature that expresses “uncertainty, ambiguity and vacuum in the late fiction” and that requires a more creative reading of a presumably more educated and imaginative reader (Sex, Satire, and the Older Woman 7). While the magazine version rarely uses ellipsis, the book version contains ellipses even several times within the same paragraph. Wharton replaces the dashes she sometimes used in Pictorial Review with ellipses in the book. However, the Beinecke manuscript of the story and the volume version employ ellipses significantly more often than the magazine uses dashes and thus the book version requires more interpretative effort from the reader. For example, to suggest French’s possible doubts about the quality of Emily Morland’s relationship with Donald Paul, in the scene in which French recognizes Emily as the subject of Fingall’s sketch, French thinks: “beside him stood her lover, and [he] did not recognize her…” (467). The ellipsis can be also be read as Wharton’s subtle expression of doubt about the objectivity of French’s perspective. As Blackall explains, Wharton uses ellipses, among other things, to “emulate the rhythms of thought and to mark a point of mental realignment. They may represent the inexpressible, or that which a character is unwilling to express” (145). When French meditates upon his “chance” that “linked [the artists’] names before posterity, through the fact that the widow of the one had married the man who had been betrothed to the other!...” (Wharton, “The Temperate Zone” 451), the ellipsis added to the book version further conveys a sense of some higher intervention. In addition to ellipsis, the volume version includes other paragraph and textual alterations that would better suit the book format and the more high-brow book readership. Whereas the magazine version of the text is written in short paragraphs—easier for the reader who is 96 simultaneously paying attention to advertisements and other paratextual features of the magazine to follow— both the manuscript and the book version have longer paragraphs and divide the text into five sections with Roman numerals. Moreover, the text of “The Temperate Zone” in Pictorial Review contains less sophisticated language choices than the later book versions: the magazine version uses “know” instead of “recognize”, “tho” instead of “though”, “envelop” instead of the more sophisticated “envelope”, “good” instead of “generous”, “word” instead of “panegyric”, “soul” instead of “consciousness”, and “problem” in place of “labyrinth”. The magazine version, when speaking about the middlebrow audience for French’s book on Fingall, uses the adjective “ignorant”, which sounds less harsh than “vulgar,” used in the book version; and its description of Emily Morland’s house as a “tomb” has more negative connotations than the term “shrine” used in the book version, which would suggest a (higher-brow) veneration of the place. Finally, the magazine version’s use of Fingall’s “fictitious reputation”, as opposed to the book version’s reference to his “factitious reputation” after his death, created by dealers and thanks to Bessy’s business instinct, implies that the magazine version stresses its fabrication and complete dependence on the literary market (Pictorial Review, February 1924, 7) while the book version emphasizes that Fingall’s reputation has some intrinsic value that will be there for posterity. In addition to the changes of individual words in different versions of the short story, the following higher-brow critical observation about Bessy’s glossy beauty appears only in the Appleton book version: “She seemed, in truth, framed by nature to bloom from one of Monsieur Jolyesse’s canvases, so completely did she embody the kind of beauty it was his mission to immortalize” (Wharton, “The Temperate Zone” 458). Comparative reading of the magazine and book versions of “The Temperate Zone” reveals Wharton’s temporary authorial intention for 97 each version of the text and its print-cultural milieu and her ability to cater to the different types of reading public in the changing postwar literary field. To conclude, Wharton’s authorial strategy of plasticity that combined her employment of the revised ghost story with detective undertones, perspectivism, paratext, and revisions between magazine and book versions enable “The Temperate Zone” to be read at different reading planes. While the magazine version of the story (that includes paratext) encourages the reader to discount French’s negative of view of Bessy as unreliable and praises Bessy as a female beauty ideal (as opposed to Emily), the volume version seems to encourage the reader’s identification with French’s higher-brow researcher perspective, which perceives Bessy negatively, owing to her profiteer mindset, her connection with business, and, in French’s eyes, conventional beauty. 3.2.2 “Miss Mary Pask” “Miss Mary Pask” was first published in Pictorial Review in the Easter issue in April 1925. Like “The Temperate Zone,” it is a ghost/detective story that employs the authorial strategy of plasticity and also deals with the themes of perception, female beauty, and women’s roles in the 1920s. “Miss Mary Pask” is the story of an unnamed mentally fragile male narrator who, while visiting Brittany in autumn in order to paint, decides to visit Mary Pask, a spinster who resides in the Baie des Trépassés (the Bay of the Dead), a popular nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century resort for painters. Mary is the sister of the narrator’s good friend Horace Bridgeworth’s wife Grace, who after travelling with Mary in Europe following their mother’s death, has settled down with her husband and daughter in New York. Wharton describes the narrator’s journey to Mary Pask’s house in gothic terms as dark and confusing; the narrator is frightened by the omnipresent wild wind, fog, and sound of the sea. It is not until his 98 conversation with Mary’s Breton maid that he remembers that he had heard that Mary Pask has actually died a year earlier, a fact that had slipped his mind. Consequently, he assumes when Mary Pask appears, complaining of her loneliness and making advances on him (depicted mockingly in the “reversed” seduction scene), that he is seeing a ghost. Terrified, he abruptly leaves the house. He subsequently suffers another mental breakdown. It takes him a year in a Swiss sanatorium before he is mentally ready to share the incident with Grace, who informs him that Mary did not die but had only suffered from a cataleptic trance. Contemporary reviews read the volume version of “Miss Mary Pask” within the context of the other five short stories reprinted in Wharton’s Here and Beyond collection and noted its non-traditional ghost/detective story features characterized by the absence of real ghosts. The Saturday Review of Literature interpreted the story as it appeared in Wharton’s collection as a “near-ghost story in which the main interest and intention seem a little out of perspective” (Tuttleton 418). Nation and Athenaeum picked up on the ghost/detective genre hybridity—in reviews of the book version, they both praised the story’s “satisfying plot” (despite the collection’s general imitation of Henry James), which “deals tenderly with a ghost visitation” and ends “with as sound an explanation as any invented by Wilkie Collins” (419). Literary Digest International Review reviewed “Miss Mary Pask” as “a ghost story of the explained type, where the apparently supernatural is eventually proved to be entirely natural,” and praised “the descriptions of the uncanny effect of the fog […] and the waters” (422). A New York Times reviewer analyzes Wharton’s imitation of Edgar Allan Poe’s “school” and claims her usage of “the Poe [gothic] mood” (415) was the only aspect of the story that outdid Poe. While the critics of the volume version of the story seemed to be disappointed by the rational explanation of the ghostly, Pictorial Review readers would have appreciated its mystery dimension. 99 More recent critics of the volume version of the story have focused on Wharton’s negative portrayal of the male narrator and the positive feminist reading of Miss Mary Pask. For example, Margaret B. McDowell thinks the story “expos[es the] moral weakness” of the narrator, who is a “hedonistic bachelor […] who resists an individual needing sympathy” (“Ghost Stories” 138). Kathy A. Fedorko, in Gender and the Gothic in the Fiction of Edith Wharton, asserts that “Miss Mary Pask” “humorously and incisively portrays masculinity incapacitated by a confrontation with the feminine/maternal within” (104). Janice G. Thomas in “Spook or Spinster?: Edith Wharton’s ‘Miss Mary Pask’” analyzes the story through the lens of Mary Daly’s “Third Passage” of Gyn/Ecology, which follows the journey of “Spinsters through the realm of Spooking into the energy arousal of Sparking,” and interprets the spinster as a woman with “powers of self-definition” who chooses to define herself “neither in relation to children nor to men” (108-109). According to Thomas’ reading, Mary, having acquired her powers of self-definition, is ready to begin Spooking—“responding to ‘the call of the wild’” and reclaiming from the patriarchy “what rightfully belongs to women, their selfhood and their history […;] Spinsters who have learned to spook link with their sisters to rekindle the fires of an innate energy” that was previously taken away from them (109). Although Miss Mary Pask reaches the second stage of spooking the narrator and reestablishes her own space and power, Thomas argues that “she never arrives at that stage of completion and reward that Daly associates with the Sparking of female friendship” because Grace betrays her by choosing to live with her husband (109). By contrast, Ted Billy, drawing on the tradition of the women’s ghost genre, reads the story as a critique of the role of spinster in a patriarchal society, noting that Wharton often employs “haunted houses and tomb-like rooms to represent matrimonial predicament of women in her era” (433). Billy argues “the title character and her house seem 100 totally without substance, since she has no real place in society as an elderly unmarried woman. […] Whether literally or symbolically dead, Miss Mary Pask remains buried in the Bay of the Dead, a casualty of her unwed status in a patriarchal culture that values a woman only when she is a property of a man” (433-4). Most recently, John Getz analyzes Wharton’s “Miss Mary Pask” (and her later story “Mr. Jones”) within the context of Poe’s work. Comparing the former with “The Fall of the House of Usher,” Getz argues that “[u]nlike Madeline, Mary Pask survives and speaks in a self-aware, ironic voice that makes itself heard despite the noise of the sea and the narrator’s repeated attempts to keep her on the margins of the story” (21). All of the abovementioned critics discuss the book version of the story. However, Whitehead briefly notes its publication in the magazine form and, focusing on the illustrations, contends that the magazine missed the story’s ironic dimension, packaging it through its two illustrations as a simple ghost story: “While this is a dark story about female ageing and loneliness, it is a deeply ironic one, in which the narrator’s erroneous belief that he has met Miss Mary Pask’s ghost is subtly ridiculed” (“Breaking the Frame” 45-46). I argue that reading “Miss Mary Pask” in Pictorial Review, when interpreted within the context of the magazine’s frame, invites a reading plane that would fit well within the magazine’s middle-class, domestic ideology. Wharton’s strategy includes the usage of the revised ghost story/mystery genre, perspectivism/unreliable narration that allows for reading of the story from different angles, and an engagement with paratext that encourages identification with characters close to the female ideal promoted by the magazine. Moreover, Wharton catered to the female middlebrow reader through her depiction of the male narrator’s weakness and mental instability (as expressed through Victorian psychology and its gendered diagnosis of and treatment of neurasthenia), as opposed to the strong female characters such as Grace Bridgeworth, a housewife reminiscent of 101 the magazine’s target reader. Despite what critics view as Mary Pask’s positive agency in the reversed seduction scene (i.e., in which Mary attempts to seduce the narrator), she ends up living alone and unhappy, unlike her happily married sister Grace, arguably because of her failure to follow the magazine’s self-care advice on how to stay young and beautiful to attract a companion and to be an efficient housewife. When interpreted within the context of the magazine and from the narrator’s (subjective) perspective, Mary Pask fits the stereotype of the Old Maid, who, unlike “handsome” Grace, or the sexy amateur model Bessy Paul in “The Temperate Zone,” lacks looks and youth and therefore cannot have everything (Pictorial Review, April 1925, 8). Reading the revised book version of the story, however, the higher-brow book audience would have been more likely to note the story’s intertextual parodic Gothic features (Horner and Beer). Avril Horner and Janet Beer in “’This Isn’t Exactly a Ghost Story’: Edith Wharton and Parodic Gothic” suggest that several Wharton’s ghost stories, including “Miss Mary Pask,” “contain a further dimension, beyond allusion, where they shift into a parodic and humorous strain that enables [Wharton] to engage self-reflexively with the Gothic tradition” (270). As they explain: “The parodic and dialogic strain […] emerges only for the reader who is able to pick up the implicit references to other Gothic texts” (271). For example, the reverse seduction scene recalls Bram Stoker’s scene in Dracula where the three female vampires attempt to seduce Jonathan. Wharton often references classic American and British Gothic works from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries through complex allusions that require broad literary knowledge of a (presumably) higher-brow reader. Catering to her Pictorial Review readership, Wharton employs the hybrid ghost/detective story genre, which combines the contemporary ghost story form that explains the supernatural 102 through science as a result of disease with a mystery narrative.42 As the narrator describes in the frame narrative, which establishes a sense of mystery and suspense, it took him several months to be able to return to the horrid memories “of that night” when he saw the “ghost” of Mary Pask (8). Before talking to Grace again, he had to travel for several months abroad because he had suffered a “nervous collapse supposed to be the result of having taken up [his] work again too soon after [his] touch of fever in Egypt” and was not able to return to “the happenings of that night” until he “had been rest-cured and built up again at one of those wonderful Swiss sanatoriums where they clean cobwebs out of you” (Pictorial Review, April 1925, 8). The frame narrative establishes the narrator as mentally fragile and thus not completely reliable. Later on, Wharton portrays the narrator’s enfeebled mental constitution through his lapses of memory because of which he temporarily forgets that Mary Pask has supposedly died. As he puts it: “[A] smothered memory struggled abruptly to the surface of my mind. “‘But she’s dead—Mary Pask is dead!’ […] It was incredible, the tricks my memory had played on me since my fever! […] the forgotten fact of her death suddenly burst up again to consciousness” (9). When he encounters Mary Pask, it is telling that even he is aware of the possible scientific explanation of the ghost as 42 Mysteries (and detective stories), especially those set in foreign countries, were very popular with Pictorial Review readers; the April issue advertised, in the “From the Season’s Output of Books” section, titles such as Man and Mystery in Asia by Ferdinand Ossendowski; The Red Gods by Jean D’Esme, a “weird mystery-story […] full of thrills”; and a detective story, The House by the Road, written by “an expert in criminal psychology” (137). The magazine also published a lot of “stor[ies] of the sea,” such as Great Waters by Vere Hutchinson and serializations of Joseph Conrad’s sea adventures (137), which might explain the descriptions of the wild and powerful sea in Wharton’s story. The ‘exotic’ Celtic setting of “Miss Mary Pask” was common for mysteries at the turn of the twentieth century because of Brittany’s mysterious wild nature and its folklore, which draws on both the Christian and pagan traditions. Interestingly, since the story portrays a ‘resurrection’ of sorts, “Pask” means “Easter” in Breton and the readers of the magazine encountered the story in the Easter issue of the magazine, which further invites speculation about Wharton’s awareness of the debates about the role of spirituality in the American society in the 1920s and its popularity in women’s magazines. 103 a failure of the perception of his senses. When he is “gazing up at the strange vision,” he keeps telling himself, “There is nothing there [….] It’s your digestion, or your eyes, or some damned thing wrong with you somewhere—“ (9). After talking to Mary Pask, the narrator believes for almost a year that he has seen a real ghost and seems to suffer from trauma after the shock (Matus) because every time he returns to the event his “temperature [goes] up, and [his] heart hammer[s] in [his throat]” (76). Finally, he decides to share with Grace his strange encounter with Mary Pask, and only then does she reveal that Mary did not die but rather only suffered a cataleptic trance. In “Miss Mary Pask,” Wharton combines the ghost story and the mystery genres. She draws on a common fin-de-siècle ghost story convention, as Smajic explains: “[P]hysicians and physiologists frequently rationalized away the specter as a subjective optical effect and portrayed the ghost-seer as a subject suffering from a visual disorder or disease” (18). The narrator’s failing memory creates a sense of suspense. Finally, Wharton explains the mystery of the ghost of Mary Pask, first, scientifically as the failure of the narrator’s vision due to a disease, and, second, through Mary’s cataleptic trance episode, which further explains the ghostly through science (explained at the end of the story by Grace). Wharton directed the story at the female readers of Pictorial Review through her partial inversion of the traditional gender characteristics when depicting the male narrator as effeminate, weak, fearful, and suffering from a nervous breakdown. In general, the magazine often published short stories and serials that featured strong women characters (even if mostly defined through the middle-class housewife ideal). The narrator’s nervous symptoms are reminiscent of “neurasthenia” or “American nervousness,” an upper-class (Anglo-Saxon) nervous disease believed to be caused by modern life and overspending of one’s bodily energy, which manifested as a wide range of conditions such as “insomnia, hysteria, hypochondria, 104 asthma, sick-headache, […] nervous exhaustion, [and] brain-collapse” (Lutz 4-5). Critic Tom Lutz explains neurasthenia through the logic of economy: “When the supply of force was too heavily taxed by the demands upon it, or when the available nerve force was not properly reinvested, nervous bankruptcy, or nervousness, was the result” (3). The recommended treatment at the turn of the twentieth century was meant to re-establish traditional gender roles: while men were prescribed to engage in strenuous physical exercise and activity outdoors, women were advised the infamous rest cure, during which they were only to rest and eat and avoid any intellectual work and social contact (20). For example, Charlotte Perkins Gilman critiques the infamous rest-cure prescription for women in her short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper” (1892), which draws on her own experience with Silas Weir Mitchell’s treatment of her post-partum depression. In “Miss Mary Pask,” Wharton reverses the gender of the subject of the prescribed neurasthenic treatment, and it is the male narrator who, following his encounter with Mary Pask, thinks that he might need more rest cure, which he has already undergone in the past. As he reflects: “I wasn’t as well over my illness as the doctors had told me […] I would get back to Morgat and lie up there for a day or two, doing nothing, just eating and sleeping” (9). He is finally “transshipped [by his doctors], like a piece of luggage, to the Swiss sanitarium” (76). Wharton’s word choice stresses his lack of agency during the treatment, more typical of the nineteenth-century rest-cure treatments prescribed for women (76). When read paratextually, the story’s depiction of the narrator’s “nervous exhaustion” appears in dialogue with the articles on neurasthenia, a still debated topic in the Pictorial Review of the 1920s. Although the magazine promoted a more modern approach to treating nervous exhaustion for women after the First World War, it still relied on the economic metaphor of spending and investment. The need to counterbalance the noise and stress of modern life through 105 a sojourn in nature was promoted, for example, by Kathleen Eddy’s beauty article published the year before “Miss Mary Pask,” in which she quotes Bertrand Russell, who “says that in modern industrial life the noise is continuous and has a debilitating, nervous effect, and he believes almost every one has a need for the sights and smells of the country. […] A change of surroundings is absolutely essential from time to time if you would escape worry and boredom,” both of which, Eddy notes, are bad for the skin (Pictorial Review, February 1924, 40). Eddy’s article recommends physical activity in combination with enough rest for a healthier complexion, and draws on the neurasthenic economic discourse, as she explains: “Time spent in [relaxation] is not time wasted, as some zealous housewives might think, but is better than money in the bank” (40). Wharton’s employment of neurasthenia and rest-cure themes in “Miss Mary Pask” implies her awareness of the type of print cultural milieu in which the story would first appear that dealt with the modern version of the topic. Wharton’s use of perspectivism and unreliable narration invite interpretation of the character of Mary Pask at different levels. From a feminist perspective and outside of the magazine context, Thomas interprets Mary Pask positively, as an example of strong womanhood. In the courtship/seduction scene, as he notes, Wharton inverts the traditional gender power dynamics when she “reverses the stereotype of the active bachelor and the passive spinster to expose the narrator’s false sense of security” and to challenge his self-importance as an artist (111). Thomas argues that Mary’s choice to be a “spook” rather than a “spinster” suggests “Wharton’s protest against a world in which women must be perceived as dead […to] claim an empowering autonomy” (114). First, the narrator is terrified of the possibility of seeing a ghost who might want to hurt him—he has to remind himself that Mary Pask “would never harm a fly” (Pictorial Review, April 1925, 75). Second, he is afraid of Mary Pask’s openly 106 expressed sexuality connected with the wild sea and the Furies, which Fedorko interprets as “symbols of female rage and the erotic feminine/maternal” (105). In their feminist readings of the story, both Thomas and Fedorko interpret Mary Pask mostly as an empowered female figure who no longer cares about social customs such as not lighting three candles out of superstition that it would bring bad luck and death, who sleeps in the garden during the day and who “got beyond all that […and feels] such a comfort—such a sense of freedom” (75). Moreover, Thomas, drawing on Grace’s note that Mary was always “too artistic” and the narrator’s judgmental dismissal of this notion (8), views Mary as an independent artist figure, which would explain her chosen solitude. According to him, “Wharton is clearly aware that women were often forced to choose between marriage and an artistic career, and that loneliness and contempt were the price patriarchy expected women to pay for their devotion to art or literature” (Thomas 115). However, I argue that from another perspective, especially when read paratextually within the context of the magazine’s beauty and youth master narrative, Mary Pask’s character can be interpreted negatively through the Old Maid stereotype that would adhere to the middle-class domestic ideology of the magazine. Although Mary’s age is not revealed, Wharton describes her as an older woman with white hair and sagging skin. In her general study of the aging woman in American literature of the turn of the twentieth century, Jeanette King explains that, despite the arrival of the New Woman ideal, the Old Maid stigma was still widespread in literature and culture. In my paratextual reading of the story, the seduction scene depicts Mary Pask using conventional Old Maid imagery, which, drawing on contemporary medical and sociological theories (King 3), often portrayed older women in terms of degeneration—their regression into “pre-puberty […or] a second girlhood,” which was the more “quiet” option with 107 their abiding within the home sphere (King 11). Another, more threatening, possibility was that post-menopausal women would become intellectually stronger and more “‘masculine’ […with its] transgressive associations” (11); they could suffer from “nymphomania” (12) and attempt to find partners outside their class position or age range (15). The Old Maid stereotype included all spinsters, regardless of age. As King explains: If post-menopausal women are all, in a sense, pathological, in that they cease to fulfill their reproductive destiny, then spinsters are viewed with equal unease for their failure to conform to that destiny. The two are conflated in the image of the ‘Old Maid.’ Here the contradictions inherent in both medical and sociological discourses come into sharp focus: concern about non-reproductive sexuality in the older woman leads to recommendations to celibacy; at the same time, the sterility of the spinster generates its own hostility because it represents a non-productive role in society. […She is] a figure of both ridicule and dread (14-15). The seduction scene in “Miss Mary Pask,” as seen through the narrator’s perspective and within the paratextual context, portrays Mary Pask through the Old Maid stereotype. The narrator perceives Mary’s attempts to seduce him as grotesque and terrifying. Laughing, Mary Pask puts her hand on the narrator’s, but he is disgusted with her attempts to seduce him: “She was cocking her white untidy head on one side and rolling her bulging eyes at me. The horrible thing was that she still practiced the same arts, all the childish wiles of a clumsy capering coquetry” (Pictorial Review, April 1925, 75). Wharton depicts Mary Pask as being the more powerful in the scene; the narrator “felt her pull on [his] sleeve and it drew [him] in her wake like a steel cable” (75). Nevertheless, when Mary Pask pleads with him to stay with her overnight, to her 108 dismay, the narrator manages to run away. She seems both to have regressed into girlhood and simultaneously to have acquired more “masculine” (11) energy accompanied with the “complete loss of self-control” (King 10). Mary Pask’s constant laughter implies that she might also suffer from hysteria, another condition connected with menopause (King 9). The narrator’s noticing of Mary’s “prematurely old and useless” hands (Pictorial Review, April 1925, 75) might refer to the social expectation of older women to make themselves “useful to the family” (King 13) when their reproductive cycle ends to avoid being a “surplus woman” (16), something Mary fails to do. “Miss Mary Pask” seems to follow the traditional romance trajectory promoted by the post-war Pictorial Review in its portrayal of Mary negatively as a spinster. Mary Pask does not happily and freely choose to live alone, as Thomas suggests (115); rather she lives alone but because she has failed to find a companion. Unlike her sister, Grace, who marries and has a family, Mary Pask feels that she “couldn’t be lonelier if [she] was dead” and dreams about “a man who’d his troubles too […and would come] along some day and [take] a fancy to [her]” (Pictorial Review, April 1925, 76). Moreover, Mary’s white clothing, apart from symbolizing her ghostliness and invisibility to society, also reflects her dissatisfaction with being alone. As Clair Hughes explains, in nineteenth-century fiction, while “[m]ale dress was about hierarchy and status, female dress [was] about cost, taste, and, above all, morality”; usually “husband-hunting heroines advisedly wore white” (associated with being virginal) (“Fashion and Fiction”). Moreover, within the magazine business, Easter is associated with the beginning of the bridal season. Fittingly, the April issue of Pictorial Review pictures a model in a white bridal gown on the cover advertising the wedding dress patterns included within. In 1925, despite its progressive focus on women’s equality, the magazine also still promoted traditional middle-class family 109 values, which included heterosexual marriage and children. Unlike Bessy Paul’s agency and life narrative in “The Temperate Zone,” Mary Pask’s story would have been read within the context of the magazine as a cautionary example of a life trajectory. When read paratextually within the context of Pictorial Review, the narrator’s judgmental perspective of Mary Pask reflects the magazine’s ideology, which promoted the importance of women staying eternally young and attractive (so that they could find and keep husbands), and was mirrored in the advertisements that surround the text of “Miss Mary Pask.” The narrator speculates why, after Grace’s marriage, Mary Pask had not joined her sister in New York—perhaps because she did not like her husband, Horace, or “may have liked him too much” (Pictorial Review, April 1925, 8). However, he quickly dismisses the latter scenario, thinking that because of her physical looks, she could never have “aspire[d] to Horace—”(8). He describes Mary Pask unflatteringly as having a “round flushed face [,…] innocent bulging eyes” and as being like “hundreds of other dowdy old maids, cheerful derelicts content with their innumerable little substitutes for living” (8). The narrator notes Mary Pask’s “old face,” which is “hovering there in the candle-light, with the unnaturally red cheeks like varnished apples” (75). Mary realizes that, although the narrator has not changed, she has changed since he last saw her. Clearly, Mary Pask does not use the variety of soaps (e.g., Resinol, Woodbury’s, and Palmolive) and face creams (e.g., Daggett and Ramsdell’s Perfect Cold Cream and Pond’s Cold and Vanishing Creams, used by the Queen of “Roumania”) promoted in the April 1925 issue of the magazine. Moreover, her “unnaturally red cheeks” would perhaps look more attractive with the use of Bourjois “Rouge Mandarin” or “Ashes of Roses Rouge” (65) or face powder for a smoother complexion (e.g., Les Poudres de Coty, Manon Lescaut, and Armand). If Mary had read the magazine’s columns on “Flawless Cheeks and Other Beauty Secret,” she would know, 110 in addition to how to achieve attractive cheeks, how to “Banish the Blackheads” and what to do “When Skin is Muddy” (131). Mary’s bulging eyes and “lashless lids” (Pictorial Review, April 1925, 75) could be “corrected” with the help of “Winx lashes Mascara” or “Maybelline” mascara (126). Products such as “Wyeth’s Sage and Sulphur Compound,” which “darkens the hair beautifully,” would improve Mary’s “white untidy hair” (75); another advertisement aims to create a sense of competition regarding youth and beauty among women readers by asking: “Are You Keeping Up With Other Women—or letting gray hair make you look old?” (123). It is accompanied by a “before” illustration of a sad gray-haired woman without makeup who is alone and looking into a mirror, and in the background a small “after” picture of her with makeup and with attractively coiffured, colored hair, smiling in the company of two gentlemen in tuxedos. The two illustrations by Harold Brett that accompany the text both depict Mary Pask in her white robe in darkness. The first illustration portrays the shocked narrator during his first encounter with Miss Mary Pask, who is wearing her “ghostly” white robe. The background depicts the frightening and mysterious atmosphere of the setting—the room is dark, untidy, and a strong breeze enters the room, moving the curtains (Figure 3.2). Interestingly, while the first illustration shows her with the narrator as very old, the second, which depicts only her holding a candle, shows a different, much younger face. The different illustrations may remind the reader of the before-and-after photographs from the surrounding advertisements.43 The magazine readers of “Miss Mary Pask” encountered the story within the context of the middle-class beauty-and- happiness narrative, which was reinforced by the surrounding advertisements. 43 The illustrations perhaps suggest the unreliability of the narrator’s perception or may simply point to the fact that the illustrator failed to read the story carefully. 111 Figure 3.2 Brett, Harold. “Miss Mary Pask” Illustration (Pictorial Review, April 1925, 8) The narrator seems especially obsessed with Mary’s hands, which reflects the focus of many of the magazine’s advertisements for creams, dish soaps, and laundry powders gentle on women’s hands. He admits that “[he has] always been a noticer of hands. The key to character that other people seek in the eyes, the mouth, the modeling of the skull, I find in the curve of the nails, the cut of the fingertip, the way the palm, rosy or sallow, smoothed or seamed, swells up 112 from its base” (75). Upon his encounter with Mary Pask, he “remembered [her] hand visibly because it was so like a caricature of herself; round, puffy, pink, yet prematurely old and useless [;…] the soft wrinkled fingers, with their foolish little oval finger-tips that used to be so innocently and naturally pink, and now were blue under the yellowing nails” (75). Pictorial Review advertisements were preoccupied with the topic of how to keep women’s hands beautiful while performing domestic chores—the Lux soap for clothes and dishes advertisement tells the reader “[y]our hands and all the clothes you wash deserve the same consideration you give fine fabrics,” while users testify and praise the product that “[s]aves [their] hands!” (71). Similarly, an Ivory Soap advertisement proclaims that “[a] great many women do their entire household laundry with Ivory Soap—for their hands’ sake, as well as for the sake of the clothes” (4). For the best results, the reader is advised also to apply “Mentholatum” hand cream to ensure that “pretty hands [are] kept soft, smooth, and free from chaps” (126). Finally, women would have already known from the previous issue that “the famous Cutex manicure” would help them avoid having hands like Mary Pask’s (Pictorial Review, March 1925, 57). It is noteworthy that the section in which the narrator critiques Mary’s hands was probably rewritten several times in the manuscript and detailed description was later added to the first story draft(s) (which did not survive), as evidenced by Wharton’s manuscript’s usage of the cut-and-paste method for this whole paragraph, which suggests its importance for Wharton’s text. In addition to keeping themselves beautiful, to achieve overall happiness, as represented by the typical middle-class model of marriage with children, women were told by the magazine to take care of their health (connected with youth and beauty), to develop their fashion sense, and to acquire solid housekeeping/home decorating skills, all of which Mary Pask lacks. Because the light “makes [her] head ache,” Mary sleeps during the day in “a shady corner” in 113 the garden where the sun does not reach (Pictorial Review, April 1925, 75). Obviously, she does not know about Bayer’s aspirin advertised in the issue or “Fleischmann’s Yeast,” which would help her to “find again the freshness, the vigor of youth” and, as the testimonials on the page show, helped readers suffering from “chronic constipation and dull headaches” (35). The narrator describes Mary as “dowdy,” so, clearly, she does not follow the many advertisements for clothing catalogues (e.g., Charles William Stores), “Butterfield Fabrics of Quality and Fashion” (105), clothing dye, and home dressmaking patterns the magazine propagated (8). Her “baggy, white garments” (9), depicted in both illustrations, which remind the narrator of a ghost because they are “hanging about her like graveclothes” (75), are not very fitting, unlike the dress patterns in the magazine for dresses that make the silhouette more feminine, especially when over the new comfortable corsets (e.g., Nemoflex and BonTon). An advertisement for the Woman’s Institute addresses potential readers in a similar situation to Mary Pask through a mini-story by Grace G. Reihm, “Janie’s Secret,” about a “plain Janie” who through enrolling in dressmaking classes is able to catch the attention of the man of her dreams, Bob Merrill. She finally transforms into a “new and beautiful Janie of unsuspected charm” (85). The advertisement is accompanied by an illustration of Bob’s sister watching Janie and Bob lovingly playing the piano together. Finally, the narrator of “Miss Mary Pask” also critiques Mary’s “old-maidish flat decorated with art-tidies,” where he sees “bedraggled cushions, odds and ends of copper pot [aluminum was more fashionable then], a jar holding a faded branch of some late flowering shrub,” and thinks that it is “a real Mary Pask ‘interior’” (75). Mary’s room could use advice from the magazine’s “Beauty in the Home: A Practical Department of Furnishing and Decorating,” conducted by Winnifred Fales, and the growing number of advertisements for household items and cleaning supplies: furniture (e.g., Kroehler living-room furniture), Orinoka 114 draperies “rich in beauty” (100), Gold Seal Congoleum rugs, various linoleums e.g., Nairn and Armstrong’s), floor wax (e.g., Old English Wax and Johnson’s Liquid Wax), cleaning products (e.g., Old Dutch Cleanser “for healthy cleanliness”  and Sani Flush), and vacuum cleaners (e.g., Eureka and Premier Duplex). In the light of Pictorial Review’s domestic ideology, Mary Pask would have been read as a sickly and slack housekeeper with no fashion taste. By contrast, Wharton portrays Mary’s sister Grace as the perfect housewife, happy in her marriage to the eligible Horace Bridgeworth. The narrator describes Grace as “a handsome, capable, and rather dull woman, absorbed in her husband and children,” who is also a good cook, as the narrator knows because he often stops by for a meal (8). Grace is happy in her marriage and has a six-year-old daughter, whereas Mary Pask is still a “Miss” and has no children. Perhaps Grace has read the manual “Secrets of […] Womanhood” from Psychology Press advertised in the magazine, including the article “What Did She Do to Win Him?” accompanied by an illustration of a proud bride, which promises to transform “a demure little wren of a girl” into “an attractive Bird-of-Paradise woman” almost overnight (139). It is a “revolutionary book dealing not with sex, but with psychology [,which] shows how any woman can multiply her attractiveness by using the simple laws of man’s psychology and human nature” (139). The magazine promoted having children as a natural part of a happy marriage and, for example, included a correspondence course on “Babycraft” (50), written by the Baby Health Department, and contained a variety of advertisements for baby food (e.g., Eagle Brand condensed milk and Nestlé’s Milk Food). An advertisement for Mennen Borated Talcum right next to a passage of “Miss Mary Pask” advises that babies are “[n]o more trouble than a kitten,” suggesting to the readers that, with the right products and methodology, the job of raising children would not be difficult (76). Although Grace says that she misses her sister, she never 115 really comes to visit her and does not seem to suffer from their separation as much because she has a family to take care of. As the narrator notes: “[B]etween [Grace’s] attachment to her sister and Mary Pask’s worship of [Grace] there lay the inevitable gulf between the feelings of the sentimentally unemployed and those whose affections are satisfied” (8). Finally, according to Grace, Mary has stayed in Europe and is not married because she is “too artistic,” which the narrator dismisses, knowing “the extremely elementary nature of her interest in art” and wondering whether the real cause is her feelings for Horace (8). The narrator’s viewpoint, which judges Mary Pask according to the traditional gender norms, reflects the ideological focus of the magazine; despite the promotion of women’s equal rights with men and their increased participation in the public sphere, the magazine also promoted their roles as wives and mothers whose responsibilities included taking care of their households. Despite Wharton’s depiction of the narrator’s initially harsh critical view of Mary Pask, he becomes more sympathetic toward her in the end, perhaps realizing their shared plight of being “queer” and living the experience of the Other. Most recent feminist critics interpret the narrator negatively for his judgmental comments about Mary Pask. Thomas, to an extent, questions the narrator’s potentially skewed perception of her involvement with art, which might be blinded by his own self-importance and arrogance as an amateur painter who is perhaps a failed artist himself. Although most of the story follows the narrator’s view of Mary Pask as an Old Maid figure, the narrator, following his shock of presumably seeing a ghost and experiencing his own vulnerability, begins at least temporarily to perceive her differently, perhaps as a fellow human being: “[T]he revelation of the dead Mary Pask […] was so much more real to [him] than ever the living one had been” (76). In the final scene, he talks to Grace about his visit because he is concerned about the upkeep of Mary’s nonexistent grave. 116 Interestingly, he becomes more compassionate than her sister, Grace, who is expecting to hear scandalous details about how dreadful Mary looks now and is “smiling at [him] through a veil of tears” (76). Mary had complained earlier to the narrator that Grace “forgets—” (75) and is more interested in her husband and children, and the narrator notes that Grace is “[o]ne of those sweet conscientious women who go on using the language of devotion about people whom they live happily without seeing” (8). The narrator’s effeminate nature, his mental fragility, and Wharton’s description of the narrator as “queer” throughout the text might also suggest his homosexuality and otherness. Fedorko makes a similar point, but she reads the narrator’s queerness in terms of his “loathing [of] his vulnerable, suppressed, feminine self” (107). It is telling that he seems to admire more the physical attractiveness of Horace than of Grace and, while he values his friendship with Horace, Grace “would not have interested him particularly” (8). Perhaps the narrator is reminded through his ghost-seeing experience of the loneliness and hidden sexual desire he shares with Mary Pask, which finally allows him to see her more sympathetically. As he reflects: “Supposing something survived of Mary Pask—enough to cry out to be the unuttered loneliness of a lifetime, to express at last what the living woman had always had to keep dumb and hidden. The thought moved me curiously—in my weakness I lay and wept over it” (77). Following his shift of perception, the narrator starts worrying about “the queer, neglected view of the house” (77) and uses the same word that friends such as Grace use to refer to him and his mental state. It is important to note, however, that Wharton uses the word “queer” in different contexts in “Miss Mary Pask”44 and even more often in the manuscript— 44 For example, the narrator experiences a “queer temporary blotting out of a fact” (9) and Mary Pask complains: “People don’t like me much since I have been dead. Queer isn’t it?” (75) 117 “the queer night at Morgat” and the narrator’s “queer nervous collapse” are crossed out in the first draft of the story—which leaves the question of the narrator’s sexual orientation rather ambiguous. Wharton’s allusions45 to other classic gothic works in “Miss Mary Pask”, which are present in both the magazine and the book versions, show her awareness of the higher-brow book audience that would perhaps be more likely to detect the story’s parodic dimension. Read outside its paratextual context, the parodic layer of meaning of “Miss Mary Pask” (Horner and Beer) was accessible mainly to the more well-read/higher-brow book audience who could decipher Wharton’s intertextual references to other gothic works. As Beer and Horner explain: “Parody’s comic engagement with precursive texts not only allows an irreverent response to target works and authors, but also enables the writer […] to engage critically with the aspects of the contemporary world” (270). According to them, in “Miss Mary Pask,” Wharton employs a “quasi-parodic appropriation” of the previous Anglo-American gothic texts. For example, the narrator resembles Lockwood from Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1847) because he wanders through the natural surroundings and arrives at a haunted house. They note that when the narrator attempts to find Mary Pask’s cottage, the weather conditions are “exaggerated beyond even the usual Gothic inclemency” to the point of being comic— he travels in the “densest night” and soon “darkness” becomes “three times as thick” (271). Finally, they argue that by “masquerading as vampires [Miss Mary Pask, like Ora Brand in “Bewitched,”] can lay claim to 45 Helen Killoran argues that beneath the surface layer of Wharton’s texts, which is more easily accessible to the common reader, lies a more complex dimension of multilayered classical allusions, which often “eluded even educated readers” (9). For Killoran, Wharton’s works read as “puzzles” that can never be completely “solved” (181). 118 an active sexuality [and thus] subvert the social constraint of female desire” (278). Through her parody of nineteenth-century gothic texts, Wharton critiques “the fact that sexual relationships between men and women are still informed in the 1920s by the same rigid gender stereotypes that held sway in the mid-Victorian period” (280). However, read within the context of Pictorial Review, the story’s depiction of female sexual desire would still be considered scandalous. As Endres and Lueck note, despite its promotion of the New Woman ideal and support of birth control, “there was often an undercurrent of conservatism in some of the features”—for example, an article by Benjamin B. Hampton in February 1921 asking if there was “Too much sex-stuff in the Movies?” (277)—which might further explain the negative treatment of the subject in “Miss Mary Pask.” I would argue that the paratext diverts readers’ attention away from the text’s potentially critical dimension regarding women’s roles and reinforces narrative coordinates that fit its domestic ideology. When comparing the manuscript, magazine, and book versions of “Miss Mary Pask,” we can see that Wharton made several textual changes to the manuscript when revising for publication in Pictorial Review and only a few when revising the story for book publication. For example, Wharton’s depiction of the seduction scene in the magazine version seems harsher than in the manuscript, describing Mary Pask’s eyes as “bulging” instead of “innocent”; “innocent” is crossed out and rewritten (although earlier in the story the narrator notes her “innocent bulging eyes”). Simultaneously, the magazine version seems to suggest a more sympathetic portrayal of Grace, who smiles at the narrator “through a veil of tears” in the magazine version (76), rather than “through a veil of painless tears” (383) as in the book version. A crossed-out page from an earlier manuscript draft indicates that, originally, the story focused on the narrator’s suffering from neurasthenia due to “overwork,” which would have made the story less mysterious and 119 suspenseful than the subsequent magazine version. Wharton added additional suspense/mystery/ghost story aspects to the magazine version. For example, the pronoun “she” in the manuscript is replaced by “the white figure” in the magazine and the narrator’s “gazing up at the strange vision” in the manuscript, in the magazine reads as “gazing up the strange vision above me”, stressing the possible ambiguous nature of the vision as either a real ghost or a result of the narrator’s mental illness. Finally, minor textual changes in the magazine version, such as the capitalization of “Summer” and “Autumn” in the magazine and its usage of “Swiss sanatoria” instead of “Swiss sanitariums,” are possibly editor’s changes or Wharton’s adjustments to fit the magazine’s house style because they are not present in the manuscript version.46 Like “The Temperate Zone”, the book version of “Miss Mary Pask” tends to use ellipses where the magazine had used periods, leaving more space for the creative reader to fill in the blanks. The plasticity of the text and the paratextual context within which the short story appears reinforce the text’s reading at different levels. 3.2.3 “The Young Gentlemen” “The Young Gentlemen” was first published in Pictorial Review in February 1926 and, like “Miss Mary Pask” and “The Temperate Zone,” is a ghost/detective story. “The Young Gentlemen” is about an unnamed narrator’s discovery of the dwarf twin sons of Waldo Cranch, an elite Harpledon bachelor who has been hiding them out of shame for forty years in his ancient New England mansion, where his housekeeper Catherine and other servants take care of them. 46 Already in 1902, Wharton complained about having to come to terms with minor editorial changes, such as being “Websterized” in American magazines (Lewis, Letters 74). 120 The children are perceived as ‘ghosts’ and the narrator’s search to discover their existence is perceived as a mystery to be solved. After a Boston architect’s eagerness to sketch the wing where the “young gentlemen” secretly live threatens a public revelation of the twins, Cranch commits suicide because of his inability to reconcile his presumably inherited excessive pride with the possibility of people’s knowledge of the twins’ existence. After his death, Cranch’s closest friend, Mrs. Durant, who had not known about his children, accepts the responsibility of taking care of them and becomes their official guardian. The short story deals with the themes of the limits of scientific investigation, heredity, and altruism, but also comments on the issues of disability, race, and perception. In “The Young Gentlemen,” in order to cater to the female middlebrow reader of Pictorial Review, Wharton employs the authorial strategy of plasticity through her use of the hybrid ghost/detective story genre; via paratext that is in dialogue with her depiction of the popularized science in the story; and perspectivism, which encourages a positive reading of Mrs. Durant, a female caretaker figure. Reflective of the hybrid ghost/detective format, in this story, Wharton revises the detective story formula (which praises the power of reason as a key to understanding the world) to show the limits of science to provide all answers and satisfactory guidance for human life. While she draws on the contemporary gothic tradition in her depiction of the twins’ disability and racial otherness (they have darker skin) as ghostly horror, reflecting the magazine’s preoccupation with eugenics and the fear of immigration, she also critiques that very ideological framework by exposing its constructedness—by showing the town’s, Cranch’s, and the narrator’s prejudiced and egoistic points of view, and offers Mrs. Durant’s as an alternative, more compassionate perspective. Wharton’s multilayered narrative technique in “The Young Gentlemen” (enabled by perspectivism, unreliable narration), her multiple revisions 121 of the manuscript, and the subsequent revision of the magazine version for the book publication demonstrate her ability to cater to different reading publics after the First World War. “The Young Gentlemen,” even in the book form, has received relatively little critical scholarly attention; however, a few contemporary critics picked up on Wharton’s employment of the ghost/detective genre. The New York Times Book Review read “The Young Gentlemen” as a tragedy of the false family pride “that counsels the concealment of anything which might be taken to reflect on the family name” (Tuttleton 416). The reviewer praised the story’s “cognizance of mystery which the townsfolk of Harpledon felt” and “the feeling of horror […] skillfully mingled with pity” that the narrative produces (416). The Saturday Review of Literature praised its “construction [… in which n]ever a clue is wasted” (418). The Literary Digest International Review commended the gothic escalation of suspense, which ends “in horror” and noted that the inhabitants of Harpledon have “something of its essence […] in their blood” (421). More recently, Janet Beer in Kate Chopin, Edith Wharton, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Studies in Short Fiction reads the story as being about “national heritage” and concerned with the issue of “privacy” invasion connected with the newly arrived mass-media culture, as represented by the character of the illustrator in the story and his publication of the sketch of the house without the owner’s prior consent (130–131). Beer notes that Wharton invites her readers to read beyond the seemingly pleasant surface of the touristic picturesqueness of the New England village (a former international seaport) where the story is set, and to look deeper at the “nature of Americanness” (132), which, contrary to the popular rhetoric of exceptionalism, has been connected with European history, its “blood and money” and culture (133). Fedorko in Gender and the Gothic in the Fiction of Edith Wharton interprets “The Young 122 Gentlemen” as using the “matriarchal,” characterized by emotion and empathy to challenge “patriarchal ways of knowing” connected with rationality and intellect (100). Although Wharton uses the typical ghost story frame narrative and the gothic setting of a remote town and its distant past in “The Young Gentlemen”, she also utilizes a modern amateur detective (self-identified as an artist figure) to tell the story of his visit to his senile aunt, Miss Lucilla Selwick, in the old town of Harpledon twenty years before. Harpledon is “on the New England coast, somewhere between Salem and Newburyport” (Pictorial Review, February 1926, 29), and the unnamed narrator describes it as one of America’s “few relics of Antiquity” (29). The community, including the amateur detective narrator, feels “intolerantly proud” of “inhabiting” the town, which has resisted all modern technological improvements such as “trolley lines, overhead wires, and telephones” (29). In “The Young Gentlemen” Wharton uses, as in many of her earlier stories, a male narrator from a privileged social position who has enough time to pursue his leisurely amateur artist activities, but whose perception of the world is limited (Nettels, “Gender and First-Person Narration” 247–251) and who is mentally fragile (like the narrator in “Miss Mary Pask”). Although the narrator apparently loves the town, he hopes to never see it again because of what has happened there. The frame narrative leaves the magazine reader with a sense of suspense and mystery to unfold. In “The Young Gentlemen,” Wharton employs detective elements to cater to the middlebrow reader, who is invited to follow the unnamed narrator’s informal investigation of the mystery of Cranch’s house. The sole illustration of the story, by Nat Little, portrays a younger bachelor Cranch moving into town with a wooden black-and-white hobbyhorse on top of his carriage (Figure 3.3). The hobbyhorse serves as a master clue for the narrator, prompting him to pay attention to other crucial details. He notes that his old aunt, Lucilla Selwick, always found it 123 puzzling that Cranch, the “most incurable of bachelors, and least concerned with the amusing of other people’s children,” possessed the toy (29). At first, the hobbyhorse seems like a red herring to the narrator because of the aunt’s unreliable memory. Moreover, Cranch persuades the town that the hobbyhorse is representative of his “numerous tastes” (29)—he is an avid painter, gardener, and composer—and the town, content with his explanation, even begins to call his house Hobbyhorse Hall. It is not until Harpledon’s “first jumble sale” that, as the narrator puts it, “all these things began to connect themselves in [his] mind” (30). When the council suggests that the sale be held in Cranch’s garden and hints at the possibility of his selling the old hobbyhorse, Cranch pretends that he cannot remember the toy and gives the organizing committee an unusually large cheque. Finally, the narrator notices that Cranch seems uncomfortable about the attention his house receives from architects and photographers because of its colonial heritage, which, to him, also seems dubious. For example, a Boston architect infuriates Cranch because of his particular interest in the house addition without windows on the garden side, which other professionals think was used as “the kitchen and offices, and perhaps the slaves’ quarters” (30) but actually houses the dwarf twins. In the end, the narrator and Mrs. Durant discover the twins, now in their forties (and thus solve the mystery), and realize that Cranch has committed suicide because of the publication of a sketch of their quarters in a magazine.47 47 Although the magazine in many ways caters to its female audience, the minor figure of the illustrator who, in his selfishness and perhaps hunt for mystery and sensation, publishes his sketch of the house serves as a subtle critique of the magazine’s affiliation with celebrity culture and its disregard for privacy. As the Pictorial Review readers, the readers in “The Young Gentlemen” would have bought the magazine from a newsstand. 124 Figure 3.3 Little, Nat. “The Young Gentlemen” Illustration (Pictorial Review, February 1926, 29) In addition to drawing on the seemingly objective and rational observations of the narrator/amateur detective, Wharton depicts the typical gothic trope of a curse and the “poisoned blood” in Cranch’s family lineage, which, when read paratextually, draws on, and is in dialogue with, simplified contemporary science (91) that often appeared in the magazine. The magazine promoted the story as “A Tale Which Will Make You Ponder on the Mysterious Working of an Ancient Hate” (referring to the alleged family curse and the aristocratic family’s long pedigree) (Pictorial Review, February 1926, 29). Drawing on the new science of heredity popularized in the magazine (in the form of pseudoscientific positive eugenics), Wharton’s story, when 125 interpreted within its larger paratextual context, implies that the mystery of Cranch’s family lineage is an example of the “Mysteries of Heredity” (Pictorial Review, June 1924, Wiggam 26); as Albert Edward Wiggam explains in his article to the middlebrow readers: “[D]on’t imagine that heredity is some strange ‘mysterious’ influence which your ancestors exercise over you” (Pictorial Review, June 1924, 119). Rather, Wiggam wrote a series of articles published in the magazine that considered positive eugenics48–having agency over one’s offspring. He also authored later popular books on the topic (e.g., the bestselling The New Decalogue of Science , The Fruit of the Family Tree , and The Next Age of Man ). He was a self-taught journalist and lecturer who began to study eugenics before the First World War through his reading of Francis Galton’s work, via his interviews with geneticists, and through his visits to Davenport’s Eugenics Office (Kevles 59). Daniel J. Kevles notes that “[w]hile many writers reported soberly upon standard eugenics doctrines, Wiggam stood out for the way he melded eugenic science with statesmanship, morality, and religion” (59). According to Wiggam, eugenics was “simply the projection of the Golden Rule down the stream of protoplasm”; he 48 Wiggam’s popularity reflected the rise of popularity of eugenics at the turn of the twentieth century. Eugenics was coined by Francis Galton, an English scientist who was a cousin of Charles Darwin, in 1883 to define the “‘science’ of improving human stock by giving ‘the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable’” (Kevles ix). Eugenics in Greek means “‘good in birth’ [or] ‘noble in heredity’” (ix). As David G. Schuster notes, it combined the progressive ideal of improving society with the scientists’ interest in the new discipline of genetics founded by Gregor Mendel in 1900 and Thomas Hunt Morgan’s theory of chromosomes in 1915 (261). The racist pseudo-science became widely popular among the white Anglo-Saxon population because of the general fear of immigration, which would eventually contribute to the genetic weakening of the presumably superior Nordic race (Kevles 72–73). Eugenicists advocated for sterilization of the “unfit” part of the US population (e.g., criminals, the insane, and the very poor, especially immigrants and non-white citizens) (100–110) to prevent what Theodore Roosevelt termed the [white] nation’s “race suicide.” Miscegenation would, however, bring beneficial results in the case of the supposedly intellectually inferior African Americans, who would be eventually “bleached” and racially assimilated (75), a point Wiggam also mentions in his articles. WASP supporters of eugenics affiliated themselves with the Galton Society and the Eugenics Record Office (75), which was founded by a biologist, Charles B. Davenport, in Cold Springs Harbor in 1911 and became the national center for spreading of eugenics information. 126 thought that in the 1920s, Jesus would have added a new commandment to the existing ten: “Do unto both the born and the unborn as you would have both the born and the unborn do unto you” (italics in the original, 59). Needless to say, most biologists thought him “inaccurate and breezy” (59). In 1924, when “The Temperate Zone,” the first of Wharton’s Pictorial Review ghost/detective stories, was published, the magazine was running a series of articles written by Wiggam dealing with the issues of heredity and positive eugenics, the power of chromosomes to control one’s behavior and character, and the importance of knowing one’s family heritage. The first article in Wiggam’s series, “When a Woman is Asked to Marry: Does the Scientific Study of Heredity Offer a New Solution to the Problem of Human Regeneration?” (Pictorial Review, March 1924), stresses the importance of women’s mate choice so that they can produce the best possible offspring and thus contribute to the bettering of the American nation. As Wiggam elaborates: Nations are made and unmade at the marriage-altar. From this one living fountain flow all the streams of national health, intelligence, and character. It is, therefore, the one immortal hour which nature has given to a woman when she can directly help to make children and the coming generations either vigorous, intelligent, and sane, moral, and religious, and socially worthy in their natural, inborn traits and tendencies, or else weak, stupid, neurotic, and incapable of sound national life. (2) In Wiggam’s view, improper marriage choices that resulted in the production of morally deficient and impulsive monarchs were, for example, directly responsible for the First World War. In “Bringing Up Grandfather: How the Mysterious Chromosomes and Heredity Conspire to Influence Everything We Say and Do and Control Our Very Existence” (Pictorial Review, 127 April 1924), Wiggam explains the relationship between chromosomes, “our invisible friends” (80), and a healthy society life: Bad chromosomes, for instance, produce insanity. They are among the chief causes of epilepsy, poverty, feeblemindedness, tuberculosis, and crime. Bad chromosomes cause more than half of the disease and misery on earth. Good chromosomes, on the other hand, produce genius. They cause far over one-half of all the health, wealth, beauty, energy, happiness, and achievement in the world. (2) Wiggam’s third article, “Any Dead Branches on Your Family Tree? If There are, You Ought to Know All About Them Before You Start to Climb” (Pictorial Review, June 1924), stresses the importance of women’s knowledge of their family trees so that they can make more informed reproductive choices. Wiggam encourages readers to visit the local Eugenics Record Office at Cold Spring Harbor, NY, and to obtain booklets to chart their family trees, which they could submit to the office for free interpretation (120). The last article explicitly utilizes the example of hereditary dwarfism (in a pseudo-scientific manner by comparing dwarf peas and human beings in the accompanying cartoon) when explicating the laws of heredity (2). In addition to physical ailments such as epilepsy, character traits were also thought to be inborn, an opinion many pseudo-scientists of Social Darwinism shared with Wiggam. Wiggam’s articles were written in a simplified manner for the female middlebrow reader, with lots of examples from women’s lives, and were accompanied by ‘amusing’ cartoons by John Held Jr.. All three articles by Wiggam, while stressing the role of inherited biological makeup, do not completely dismiss the importance of environment—in line with the magazine’s self-improvement and family advice articles, and advertisements for health and food products. Given 128 this context, Pictorial Review readers would have read “The Young Gentlemen” in relation to advertisements for hair nets (Pictorial Review, February 1926, 86); a fashion catalogue, with “things to wear for men, women, and children” (91); and advertisements for Wheatena (“breakfast for a child of three”), “recommended to 60,000 nurses” by “the National League of Nursing Education” (84), and for pineapples, representing “Fruit-health for the Kiddies All Year Round” (88). These advertisements stress the positive results of a good environment and care for the child. Wiggam, while arguing in the first article that heredity “explains eight- or ninth-tenths of the general rough outlines of ‘people’s’ character” (Pictorial Review, March 1924, 60), admits in the third that not “all defects and disabilities of humanity are due to heredity and many which are can be overcome by good environment” (Pictorial Review, April 1924, 122). The latter, however, is, according to Wiggam, the more laborious and expensive route for the family and for the state, and needs to be repeated with each successive generation—far less laborious and much cheaper are informed reproductive choices. Read from Wiggam’s eugenic pseudo-scientific perspective, in “The Young Gentlemen,” Cranch’s ancestor’s hasty reproductive choice resulted in the generation of dwarf offspring who need the care from a team of servants throughout their lives.49 49 While Wharton’s own position, especially before the First World War, was rather conservative, as reflected in her novels and letters, in the 1920s, in some aspects, she became more liberal (Kassanoff 153–165) and vehemently opposed social engineering projects such as eugenics (Bauer 6–9). In her reading of Wharton’s Summer (1917), first serialized in Scribner’s Magazine, Jennie A. Kassanoff argues that the novella conveys a conservative meaning reflective of Wharton’s knowledge of the newly emerged economy of New England tourism and revivalism at the turn of the twentieth century and her familiarity with “the discourse of Yankee decline, of which the racial revitalization of the New England ‘old home’ [as represented by the return of Charity Royall to her native village] was to be the cure” (112). In this view, Summer is not merely a story about incest and sexual repression, but “an uplifting account of eugenic reproduction, timely legitimization and racial restoration” (113). On the contrary, Dale M. Bauer in “Summer and the Rhetoric of Reproduction” considers Charity’s genetic makeup as “dysgenic”: [she] descends from a “lawless, inbreeding, ‘uncivilized’ culture engaged in unregulated 129 reproduction of the ‘lower’ orders, precisely the kind of community eugenicists feared” (29). Bauer reads the novella as a critique of the family heredity studies (e.g., Nicole Hahn Rafter’s White Trash: The Eugenic Family Studies, 1877-1912 of the Jukes in New York studied by Dugdale in 1877 and of the Kallikaks in New Jersey by Kite and Goddard in 1912) that indentified heredity as an underlying cause of families’ “alcoholism, crime, poverty, sexual licentiousness, and polygamy” (29), and concluded that “mothers are more responsible than fathers in generating bad offspring” (Rafter 66 qtd. in Bauer 29). Bauer perceives the period of the twenty years in Wharton’s career from 1917 to 1937 as that of “a brave new politics,” when the author began to engage in dialogue with popular discourses of the era; in her novels, Wharton reacted to “the rise of social scientific discourse,” such as eugenics, and the influence of mass culture on personal life and psyche (xiv). In her post-war novels, Wharton depicts eugenics unambiguously in a negative way. Wharton’s anti-eugenics novel, Twilight Sleep (1927), which served as an inspiration for Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932) (Bauer 95), critiques the positive eugenics method of promoting procreation among upper-class women of the “desired” Anglo-Norman stock by providing them with a new pain-killing drug for labor—twilight sleep—which lower-class women could not afford (83–112). As Judith Walzer Leavitt explicates, twilight sleep was thought to contribute to “a better race for future generations” because upper-class women would be more likely to have babies if they could have them painlessly (156, qtd. in Bauer 92). In The Children, which was, as “The Young Gentlemen,” also published in Pictorial Review, Wharton ridicules Princess Buondelmonte, who proposes to take her stepchildren away from Judith Wheater’s group of children because their guardian does not follow the eugenics principles in the children’s upbringing (92). According to Bauer, beginning with Summer, Wharton shows “growing interest in a cultural criticism that questions America’s myths of exceptionalism and progressivism” founded on “the troubling assumptions of eugenic and dysgenic hierarchies of civilized and uncivilized communities” (50). In Summer, Wharton critiques scientific racism and class divisions based on eugenic theories of her era and challenges “the biological theories of inferiority based on race and nationality” (Bauer 32). Despite Wharton’s critical engagement with eugenic theories, literary scholars have commented on the limitations of Wharton’s racial politics, in particular, her continuous anti-Semitism (e.g., her treatment of both Simon Rosedale in The House of Mirth and the Jewish art dealer in “The Potboiler”), her stereotypical depictions of African Americans (e.g., in Twilight Sleep), and her pro-imperialist and colonialist views (Wegener; Toth; Totten). Emily Orlando in “Irreverent Intimacy: Nella Larsen’s Revisions of Edith Wharton” explains that William Dean Howell’s project of realism, which, for Larsen, would have been associated with Wharton’s style of writing, failed to depict the life of African Americans and racial relations in the United States in a truthful manner because it ignored “the reality of race” (33). Orlando reads Larsen’s 1928 novel Quicksand as a modernist revision of Wharton’s Twilight Sleep and explains that Larsen could not afford Wharton’s “extreme privilege of color blindness” (38). Whereas Wharton views race, especially in her earlier novels such as Sanctuary (1903) from an essentialist perspective as a result of blood heritage, Larsen, owing to her personal experience living as an African American woman in the United States, perceives race as a socio-cultural construct, as “solidarity against white authority,” not “a biological fact” (50). For Orlando, Larsen’s “challenging of the notion of social inheritance is a key aspect of Larsen’s adapting Wharton as a modernist gesture” (50). Other scholars critiqued Wharton’s pro-imperialist sympathies. Frederick Wegener in “‘Rabid Imperialist’: Edith Wharton and the Obligations of Empire in Modern American Fiction” suggests that Wharton admired and surrounded herself with many friends with pro-imperialist and colonialist tendencies, including Morton Fullerton and Theodore Roosevelt, and employed the figure of the engineer even in her post-war novels, who contributes to the building of the American empire. Margaret Toth argues that although Wharton did not comment directly on the subject of US imperialism, she, for example, named her New England home after her great-grandfather, Ebenezer Stevens, who was a general in the 130 At first sight, when read paratextually, “The Young Gentlemen” might read as an example of how the (pseudo)science of heredity worked. Cranch is descended from a prosperous founding family of merchants who “intermarried with other prosperous families” (Pictorial Review, February 1926, 29)—until one of his ancestors brought home “an ugly and deformed” bride from Malaga, whom he married for her money (29). The town did not understand why among “beautiful Spanish ladies” he had chosen “so dour a specimen” (29). She married him out of spite because she had recently been jilted by a fiancé when he first saw her. When read in the light of Wiggam’s articles, Cranch’s “deformed” ancestor, through the process of Darwinian Revolutionary War and an East-India merchant “an entrenched agent of British imperialist machinery” (Context 254). For Toth and Wegener, Wharton’s travelogue, In Morocco (1920), uncritically accepts and promotes the French colonialist ideology. For example, Wegener quotes from Wharton’s “Les oeuvres de Mme Lyautey au Maroc,” where she states that she “learned many things in Marocco—among others, the fact that one must have nearly the same qualities to govern a colony well as to direct a charity well” (33, qtd. in Wegener 793). A recent collection, Edith Wharton and Cosmopolitanism (2016), provides a more nuanced portrait of Wharton’s engagement with the category of the foreign and cosmopolitanism. In their introduction, Goldsmith and Orlando argue that Wharton’s cosmopolitanism developed throughout her career. Wharton writes in favour of what Anthony Kwame Appiah terms “rooted cosmopolitanism,” as opposed to mere tourism, which reflects her own experience of living in different European countries for prolonged periods of time, especially her expatriation in France in the second half of her life (qtd. in Cosmopolitanism x). Her cosmopolitanism is characterized by “its rootedness in and transcendence of memory, place, and time; its dual consciousness of history and modernity; and its representation of a cosmopolitan aesthetic, a sophisticated and culturally informed ‘cosmopolitan eye’, simultaneously emotionally engaged and critically detached, that presents landscapes, peoples, and cultural artifacts to explain ‘the practices and beliefs’ of one culture to another” (Cosmopolitanism xiii). In The Age of Innocence (1921), Wharton depicts Ellen Olenska’s foreign otherness, connected with her gypsy background, her affiliation with the eccentric Aunt Medora, and her marriage to a Polish count, in a positive way as a form of cosmopolitan critical detachment. In the novel, through the character of Newland Archer’s son, Wharton suggests that the new generation will be “if not more tolerant, then at least less resistant to cultural differences than its predecessors…a new generation of intermingling and exogamy, an invigorated class of elite Americans” (Cosmopolitanism 9). Simultaneously, however, as Gary Totten shows in his reading of In Morocco, Wharton’s cosmopolitanism has its limitations; it is “aesthetic or cultural rather than political or economic” (256) and her depiction of Morocco focuses on its Oriental mystical side and portrays colonial government and practices uncritically (257–258). Although Wharton’s cosmopolitan perception is constrained by her privileged upbringing and, to an extent, her later life experience as a successful white woman writer, she endows some of her characters, including Ellen Olenska and Mrs. Durant in “The Young Gentlemen,” with a double consciousness—the ability to see beyond the dominant ideology or through the eyes of the Other. 131 sexual selection, would not and should not have reproduced (Pictorial Review, June 1924, Wiggam 22). The narrator describes Cranch’s great-grandmother as displaying degenerate features in her portrait: “The lady was a forbidding character on the canvas: very short and thick-set, with a huge wig of black ringlets, a long, harsh nose, one shoulder perceptibly above the other. […] they say she never forgot the sunshine and orange blossoms, and pined off early, when her queer son Calvert was hardly out of petticoats” (29). Apart from her atavistic traits, the great-grandmother was also not able to adapt to a new environment, which, according to Darwin, would have been a sign of her lack of fitness. Her son Calvert was a “strange man” who married a Woods Hole beauty and had two sons, one exactly like her mother Euphemia and the other made in his own image; the townspeople said the latter “was so afraid of his own face that he went back to Spain and died a monk” (29). Although the mother of the “young gentlemen” was “the loveliest, soundest young creature” (91), the hidden ‘defective’ genes from Cranch’s Spanish ancestor probably manifested themselves in the dwarf children, one of whom—the one emotionally closer to Cranch—also has a darker complexion. Cranch blames the dwarfism of the twins on the Spanish “poisoned blood” and the Spanish ancestor’s hatred toward Cranch’s great-grandfather, which, he thinks, runs in the family like a curse (91). At the turn of the twentieth century, the gothic dwarf metaphor signified widespread fears about the possible devolution/degeneration of mankind (linked with the science of heredity and its pseudoscientific subfield of eugenics), which the positive eugenics movement strove to prevent. As Kelly Hurley explains in her chapter on “Entropic Bodies”: Degeneration was evolution reversed and compressed. Like evolution theory, degenerationism concerned itself with the long-term effects of heredity within the life-span of a species, and with biological variations from type that 132 affected not just the individual, but the generations to follow. But for the idea of evolution towards ever-higher forms of life, degenerationism substituted a terrible regression, a downward spiral into madness, chaos, and extinction. Heredity was not the vehicle of progress: it was an invisible source of contamination, with the infection jumping across bodies, across generations, and manifesting itself in visible physical deformity. (66) The early twentieth-century fear of devolution was connected with “the rise of democracy, class mobility, and racial miscegenation” (70). In the gothic fiction and popular imagery of the period, writers often portrayed the racialized or disabled Other through gothic and supernatural tropes. Read through the perspective of Wiggam’s articles on heredity and eugenics, Cranch’s death and the dwarf twins’ deaths probably soon afterward indicate that ‘defective’ genes will not be passed on. The gothic trope of a deformed Spanish ancestor reflects the eugenics fears about the risks of a “new” immigration of people from southern, central, and eastern Europe (the former Austro-Hungarian Empire) and Russia that prevailed from the 1880s, as opposed to the “old” immigration from Germany, Ireland, Great Britain, and Scandinavia in the period from the 1840s to the 1880s (Greene Julie 138). For Wiggam and other eugenicists featured in Pictorial Review, the “new immigration” was “a problem of blood” (Pictorial Review, March 1924, 62); eugenics in the early twentieth century believed in the racial purity of the white Anglo-Saxon race and feared the presumed genetic weakening of the nation through miscegenation. Consequently, eugenicists strove to limit the natality of the “undesirable” races (Kevles 85), and their anti-immigration efforts resulted in the Immigration Act of 1924, the Johnson-Reed Act, which specifically restricted immigration from southern, central, and eastern Europe for the next 133 forty years, “in addition to people of African, Arab, and Asian descent” (Greene Julie 139). It is symptomatic that the Spanish ancestor is not named, which further allows for a reading of her as representative of a broad racialized foreigner category rather than an individual. While “The Young Gentlemen” might initially seem to unquestioningly embrace the contemporary (pseudo)science of heredity (connected with positive eugenics, evolution, and the popular theories of degeneration) promoted by the magazine, and the story certainly draws on its language and tropes, Wharton also ensured that an attentive reader would detect from her clues that the unreliable narrator’s view of the twins is highly subjective and constructed by the small, prejudiced Puritan town. People in Harpledon are proud of their colonial history, their perceived uniqueness, their tight-knit community, and carefully preserved customs. The story is set in the turn-of-the-twentieth-century period of “colonial revivalism” in New England, which “involved mostly white, leisured northeasterners, celebrating and trying to materially reshape the New England landscape according to an idealized and often ill-understood colonial past” (Lockwood 1). As Samaine J. Lockwood notes, “[c]olonial revivalism was […] a nostalgic, racist, and nativist love affair with a regionally specific past,” which contributed to the definition of the New England identity as white and Anglo-Norman and thus, as Stephen Nissenbaum explicates, morally, racially, and culturally superior to the South (Lockwood 1). The colonial revivalism vogue was inextricably linked with women’s local colour literature, the art of historical preservation, and domestic tourism, which Wharton refers to in the narrative frame of “The Young Gentlemen.” The town’s isolation and resistance to anything new, including the latest technological innovations, imply the closeness of their ways and perceptions. It is symptomatic that Harpledon is located near Salem, the Massachusetts town infamous for its seventeenth-century witch hunts that targeted women who deviated from the prescribed social, cultural, or 134 gender norms of the Puritan community; this reference implies that, like the stories about witches, the story of the evil Spanish ancestor might not be entirely accurate. As Beer notes, it is symptomatic that in “The Young Gentlemen,” the old aunt Lucilla, one of the first residents in the town even before Waldo Cranch, provides an alternative, more compassionate view of the Spanish heiress as a victim (a “poor thing” ). Aunt Lucilla’s alternative perception exposes the rest of the town’s vision of the Spanish ancestor as prejudiced and skewed. The history based on the othering rhetoric is further suggested by the allusion to where the racialized twins live as slaves’ quarters, implying the town’s link with the slave trade. In short, the story insinuates that Harpledon’s feeling of superiority has been built on the practice of othering for several centuries. By stressing Harpledon’s ties with Europe and the rest of the world—before its economic decline, it had been a busy seaport with trade ties to India—Wharton undermines the town’s misplaced feelings of exceptionalism and superiority manifested by their exclusion of foreignness, as represented by the case of the Spanish ancestress. According to Kassanoff, after the First World War, Wharton became less conservative, realizing that “to be an American was to be denied the privilege of racial innocence…It was instead to trace one’s beginnings back to the democratic, the hybrid, the plural, and the indefinite” (162). For Beer, “[t]he young gentlemen are embodiments of the indissolubility of the ties of history that link America with Europe, and the fatal admixture of pride and stubbornness that kills Waldo Cranch testifies to the folly of seeking to deny the past by concealment or willfulness” (133). Cranch’s house, which “was not quaint,” points to the hidden (ugly) history of the region, which challenges the pleasant local-colour picturesqueness that the tourist expects to see when visiting Harpledon (Beer 142–143). As Amy Kaplan suggests, “[t]he regions painted with ‘local color’ are traversed by the forgotten history of racial conflict with prior regional inhabitants, and are ultimately produced 135 and engulfed by the centralized capitalist economy that generates the desire for retreat” (qtd. in Beer 142). Wharton, writing at the beginning of the global era of interconnectedness in the 1920s, exposes the town’s connection with the rest of the world. Cranch, who comes from an old family of merchants, reflects the town’s feelings of superiority and uniqueness, which prevent him from connecting with others. The narrator describes Cranch as an “institution” and as “[his] local ancestor” (Pictorial Review, February 1926, 29), who has been living in the town longer than most of its inhabitants and is set in his own ways. Cranch is “punctilious” (84), closed-minded, and unable to feel empathy, perhaps, as Mrs. Durant suggests, because his life has been too easy (84). He is proud and “doesn’t want his [artistic] gifts to be forgotten” (30). He views his house as “something to brag about” (30). This pride and his feelings of superiority, rather than the curse of the Spanish ancestress, isolate him from people around him and eventually contribute to his suicide. Through Cranch’s hereditary “curse”, Wharton implies the devolution of the higher class (he is proud but also mentally frail). It is symptomatic that Mrs. Durant, who will end up taking care of the twins, is the only friend allowed to call Cranch by his first name. Reading “The Young Gentlemen” within the ghost/detective genre framework leads readers to the question of crime in the story; the story implies that the everyman narrator, Cranch, and perhaps even the general readers of the magazine are all implicated in the crime of othering. Wharton employs the tropes of sight and vision (perspectivism) to comment on the issues of race and disability perception in “The Young Gentlemen.” Despite the narrator’s brief moment of seeing beyond his ideological framework through the eyes of the Other (the dwarf twins), he fails to act on this, perhaps out of pride and fear; thus, he seems to resemble Cranch in many ways. It is telling that when the narrator and Mrs. Durant discover the dwarf twins, he 136 realizes that, while the twins look like “ghosts,” “they were staring and trembling also as if [the narrator and Mrs. Durant] had been ghosts” (86). Wharton endows the dwarf twins with subjectivity instead of portraying them in the gothic fashion as “abhuman” (Hurley 4). She employs what Margaret Toth sees operating in Wharton’s other ghost stories as an “alternative gaze” which “dismantles the dominant visual paradigm of Cartesian perspectivalism” based on “a hegemonic way of seeing that demands both the separation of subject and object and the inflection of those two positions with fixed, often hierarchical, qualities. [Whereas] the subject’s vision is marked as ‘dispassionate’ and ‘singular’ (Jay 9, 7, qtd. in Toth 28) even […] disembodied, the object is characterized as unseeing […], and embodied” (“Seeing Edith Wharton’s Ghosts” 28). Wharton transposes the twins’ racial otherness into their disability (connected with degeneration), which is, according to contemporary critics, portrayed as horror. On a related note, in her article “Rich in Pathological Instances: Disability in the Early Reception Theory of Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome,” Lina Geriguis praises Wharton’s portrayal of the disabilities of major characters in Ethan Frome for disrupting readers’ expectations, as represented by the contemporary reviews of the novel, according to which disabled individuals belong to the private sphere where they are hidden from the public sight. Instead, “Wharton’s work not only provoked resistance toward manifestations of unresolved disabledness but also participated in the debates about the acceptability of literary expressions of disability” (58). As Julian Wolfreys proposes, “to ‘see’ something is, however precariously, to initiate a process of familiarization, of anthropomorphizing domestication” (6). By refusing to kill her disabled characters off and by giving them major roles in the narrative, Wharton, as Mitchell and Snyder argue, performs valuable cultural work by forcing the reader to broaden his/her perception of what belongs to the domain of “‘recognizable’ human experiences” (5, qtd. in Geriguis 60). In 137 “The Young Gentlemen,” unlike Mrs. Durant, who reacts to the encounter with the adult dwarf twins first with screams and then with compassion, the narrator is, despite his moment of double vision, unable to change his learned ways of perception. Although the narrator is appointed by Cranch as joint guardian of the twins after his death, he lacks the courage to ever see them again. He fails to comprehend that Mrs. Durant has agreed to take care of them, that “she wanted it—the horror, the responsibility and all” (Pictorial Review, February 1926, 91). Despite his faculty for scientific, rational observation, he is unable to see the twins as fellow human beings and continues to perceive them as the Other. When read paratextually, the character of Mrs. Durant and her ethics of compassion and kindness would have fit the magazine’s promotion of Protestant liberalism (and spirituality) and simultaneously portrayed the limitations of science to provide instruction on how to live human life in a meaningful and fulfilling way. In “The Young Gentlemen,” unlike in her other fiction that throughout her career implied nativist, racist, and pro-imperialist views, Wharton seems to suggest an alternative path for humankind based on altruism, which is associated with what Matthew S. Hedstrom calls the rise of Protestant liberalism in the early twentieth century (rather than with the older version of evangelical sentimentality embraced by American women writers in the nineteenth century). 50 The religious middlebrow culture emerged in the 1920s and aided the newly emerging middle class to understand “scientific advancements, theological controversies, and increasing social pluralism” (22). According to Hedstrom, liberal 50 In his study, Hedstrom explains that religious liberalism developed in two streams: “an ethical liberalism that used religious experience as the basis for social engagement, and laissez-faire liberalism, most often associated with mind-cure or positive thinking spiritualities [and psychology], that was more individualistic and success oriented” (3). Whereas the former embraced social activism, including the Social Gospel movement, which strove to reform society according to Christian rules, the latter focused on the material benefits of faith. 138 Protestantism appeared as a reaction to the “acids of modernity” following the First World War (41), and its “popularization […] happened largely and through books” (4). Gilbert Loveland of Henry Holt and Company defined a religious book very broadly as any book “dealing with some sort of adjustment to the universe” (Smith 79). The “usefulness” of religious books to help people to lead happy and successful lives and develop their character was more important than their literary value (Smith 11). Along with the articles on science, Pictorial Review promoted the Protestant way of life and its values. For example, it published a series of full-page illustrations of the Ten Commandments with examples from modern life by Bracker in 1924, reflecting the aim of liberal Protestantism to be a “lived religion” (3) that contributes to the building of one’s character (Smith 75–105). In “The Two Gentlemen,” Mrs. Durant’s altruism reflects the Christian rule of loving your neighbour as yourself, based on the Tenth Commandment, encouraged by Pictorial Review, in opposition to the othering practice of her fellow villagers. Wharton’s manuscript revision of Mrs. Durant’s exclamation from “oh the shame” into “poor, poor things” when she first sees the twins implies Wharton’s conscious employment of Mrs. Durant’s alternative altruistic reaction to difference. When the narrator sees Mrs. Durant years later, she looks visibly older and more bowed, but she feels less unhappy about life and less lonely than she used to be (Pictorial Review, February 1926, 91), implying that her chosen path of service, though difficult, has been also rewarding. In addition to drawing on the detective genre, “The Young Gentlemen,” also draws on the ghost story genre through Wharton’s depiction of Mrs. Durant’s ability to feel and act on her compassion intertwined with her capacity to perceive the Other through her heart and intuition rather than through reason. Here, Wharton draws on the tradition of the female ghost story, which often gives voice to the dispossessed, or the abject, that is, the socially invisible/less 139 visible groups—the ghosts—for example, as well as women, children, the disabled, and the racialized subjects. Julian Wolfreys notes that “the spectralized gothic subject […] is never singular. There are always other voices, other disembodied, ghostly articulations within and against the dream of full, simple, self-evident speech to be read in any apparently stable voice, such as that desired in and for realist narrative” (13). Building on the conventions of the American female ghost story, Wharton in “The Young Gentlemen” praises sympathy over reason. Mrs. Durant’s perspective is more heart-based and intuitive, as opposed to the rational view of the narrator and draws on the theories of perception, as theorized by John Ruskin and Thomas Carlyle, that were often used in the-turn-of-the-century ghost stories (Smajic 4). Opposing “scientific materialism”, these ghost stories promoted a different inner “inward eyesight” through “the soul of the eye” as a way to comprehend the world (Smajic 5). For example, according to Ruskin, to achieve a full understanding of the world, one must acquire two types of vision—one perceived through the “lens of the eye,” reflective of “the faculty of measurement”, and the Other through the “soul of the eye,” standing for the “faculty of discernment” (qtd. in Smajic 44). Similarly, Victorian spiritualists argued that to be able to see a ghost, one must use “the inner, intuitive, spiritual eye rather than the physical organ” (5). Along similar lines, “The Young Gentlemen” implies the limitations of the eyesight, representative of a logical and scientific view of the world (as often depicted in detective stories), as a means of fully comprehending the world. In addition to the employment of the ghost/detective narrative and drawing on the middlebrow culture of spirituality and Protestant liberalism at the turn of the twentieth century, Wharton targeted the female middlebrow readers through her positive depiction of Mrs. Durant as the (female) caretaker ideal who is strong enough to adopt the children. In “The Young 140 Gentlemen,” the male narrator acknowledges that Mrs. Durant and women in general are stronger when faced with adversity, such as in taking care of handicapped twins; he notes that “most men are cowards about calamities of that sort, the irremediable kind that has to be faced anew every morning” (Pictorial Review, February 1926, 88). Symptomatically, Wharton adds a celebration of empathetic and responsible womanhood to the magazine version that is not present in the original manuscript, which suggests that she was aware of the female reading community of the magazine. Wharton’s magazine short fiction and book revisions demonstrate her ability to cater to different audiences in the increasingly stratified American literary field in the 1920s. In the magazine version of the story, Wharton makes the detective/mystery framework more pronounced than in the original manuscript by focusing further on the narrator’s detective process of logical reasoning and observation of facts and by withholding the information about the dwarf twins until the very end, information that, in the manuscript, is mentioned at the very beginning of the story. Further, it seems that the complete heredity framework, which focuses on Cranch’s family tree, was removed at some point in the drafting and then re-inserted in a later stage of Wharton’s writing process, suggesting her awareness of the kind of print-cultural milieu in which the story would be published in its magazine form. Finally, Wharton’s revisions of the magazine story into the Appleton book version—her collection of short stories titled Here and Beyond—show her ability to cater to the higher-brow book audience as well. In the manuscript and in the book version, Wharton often employs ellipses (as in “The Temperate Zone” and “Miss Mary Pask”), which require more active interpretative reading. For example, when Mrs. Durant tells the story of the dwarf twins and their divulged secret, it is worded in the magazine version as: “And here we are at peace for thirty years, till you brought that man to draw pictures 141 of the house” (Pictorial Review, February 1926, 88). However, in the volume version, the sentence ends with an ellipsis to provide more emphasis and give the reader time to think about what was said. In the volume version, Wharton also utilizes more formal and specific language. For example, whereas in the magazine version the narrator says that “all these things [clues] began to connect themselves in [his] mind,” in the book version the narrator says, “[A]ll these odds and ends of observation first began to connect themselves in [his] mind” (389). These revisions reveal how Wharton as a professional author who in the 1920s and 1930s had learned how to navigate the changing literary field to maintain both cultural and economic capital through the adaptation of her work for different reading publics. 3.3 Wharton’s Disposition: Purist or/and Profiteer and the Idea of Usefulness This chapter has studied Wharton’s position in the 1920s when she was affiliated with Pictorial Review and Appleton, who published the volume version of the ghost/detective stories in the Here and Beyond collection (1926), and employed the authorial strategy of plasticity in her ghost/detective stories. The texts discussed in this chapter, “The Temperate Zone,” “Miss Mary Pask,” and “The Young Gentlemen,” also show her changing disposition regarding the purist-profiteer binary, perhaps reflecting Wharton’s own increasing involvement with the middlebrow in this period. At first glance, “The Temperate Zone,” seems to uphold the highbrow artist vs. Philistine opposition. Horace Fingall’s painting is what Bourdieu would call art for art’s sake, created for posterity, the worth of which lies in the realm of cultural capital rather than economic value. As Donald Paul reflects when showing the painter’s studio to French, “[Fingall] must have been almost as detached from the visible world as a great musician” (Pictorial Review, February 142 1924, 64). Fingall was an artist who, during his life, gained critical acclaim and recognition from a few other living highbrow artists and critics. It would be typical for such a purist artist to become famous and commercially successful only after his death. In his case, it is thanks to his businesslike wife, Bessy, who has a more “profiteer” mindset that “affirm[s] her husband’s genius in terms of the auction-room and the stock exchange” (62) and sells his paintings for a high price to art dealers to establish a comfortable life for herself. As Bessy reflects, during his life, Fingall “[e]ven when people came to buy […] managed to send them away discouraged” (61); he was “proud and isolated”, “he painted only for himself,” and “had despised popularity” (61). For Bessy, however, success should always go hand in hand with monetary rewards: “in any art, the proof and corollary of greatness were to become a best seller” (61). She wants to possess the full-length portrait painted of her by Jolyesse, a fashionable painter in high demand, which reflects his ever-increasing prices. Whereas Fingall stands for the purist segment of the field of cultural production, Jolyesse represents the profiteer stream of artistic production; he paints realistic, but flattering, pictures of conventionally beautiful women like Bessy.51 As in Scribner’s Magazine, in Pictorial Review, the purist and profiteer binary is still gendered, associating the latter with women. Jolyesse, whose name is linked with the French word for pretty and a feminine diminutive, knows how to play the art market and sells his paintings at different price ranges for various audiences; for example, the price for Americans is fifty thousand francs, but it is implied that the price for Europeans is different (we are not told the amount) (7). 51 Even his name, Jolyesse, implies his preoccupation with (female) beauty. 143 In “The Temperate Zone,” as in many of Wharton’s other post-war novels and short stories published first in middlebrow venues, Wharton problematizes the binary between the good “purist” highbrow art for art’s sake and the bad “profiteer” lower-brow art for the masses. Although French unquestioningly worships the creative genius of Horace Fingall and criticizes Bessy’s “artlessness” (61), Wharton shows, through the eyes of Bessy’s second husband Donald Paul, the inevitable selfishness of Fingall’s highbrow artistic pursuit and thus de-glorifies it. From Donald’s point of view (employing perspectivism), Wharton seems to question the purist endeavor of the artist that disregards other people’s needs in the artistic process and focuses only on the artistic vision. When visiting Fingall’s studio, where the artist used to live with Bessy, even French is struck by its bareness and Paul notes that it was a difficult place for a young woman to live. Fingall “lived constantly in his inner vision” and thus “nothing external mattered”; he often “wrestled with the Angel [i.e., inspiration?] until dawn,” and Bessy apparently had little to say in their relationship—she was his inspiration, his muse, and accordingly was to function as a lifeless object that ignited the painter’s imagination, not as an equal partner (64). Wharton’s employment of the idea of usefulness52 further complicates the “purist” and “profiteer” binary in “The Temperate Zone” and “The Young Gentlemen.” While French 52 According to Karin Roffman, “Wharton’s job as an organizer of relief work [(e.g., the compilation of The Book of the Homeless)] causes her to think about work in a new way” during this period, “to think less about work as an expression of an individual’s personality and much more about what work creates, and what happens to these products—for example, museums or books—once they are no longer overtly connected to the labor that made their existence possible” (221). Roffman perceives Wharton’s changing attitude to the idea of usefulness before and after the First World War through the depiction of museums in her work. She argues that whereas before the war Wharton embraces the idea of usefulness of museums, which provides more “possibilities for contemplation” for people (209), by 1920, when she writes The Age of Innocence, she has become uneasy about the idea of museums as “[functional] space[s] of information” (and business enterprise) (210) that “exist […] primarily for the education of the public” 144 admires the highbrow painter and the poet, he also embraces the idea of usefulness of art; symptomatically, he is himself not an artist, but a literary critic writing for general (middlebrow) readers to educate them about high art. Moreover, French’s attitude about the former house of Emily Morland can be read as a metaphor about the importance of art’s utility. Although he is contemplating that only renting the house would equal its “desecration” and he imagines being “the permanent custodian of the house,” he also admits that “he had small patience with the kind of reverence which treats fine things as if their fineness made them useless” (6). For him, “nothing was too fine for natural uses, nothing in life too good for life,” and he likes the yet-unknown Pauls “for living naturally in the house […] and not shrinking into the mere keepers of a tomb” (6). French’s view of the importance of the house’s usefulness contrasts with a view expressed in Wharton’s “The Angel at the Grave” (1901), an earlier story published in Scribner’s Magazine, in which Paulina Anson sacrifices her life to maintain the house and the highbrow work of her grandfather, a famous transcendentalist philosopher. In “The Temperate Zone,” Wharton is more critical of art for art’s sake and implies the disconnection of highbrow art from modern life. Similarly, in “The Young Gentlemen,” Wharton depicts usefulness of art in (209) and finally prevent the real appreciation of an aesthetic object. She notes Wharton’s ambivalence about the connection between art and money in her own life—her “unwillingness to talk about her writing as work and her hesitancy to call her war-relief efforts work” (213). In Wharton’s earlier short stories (e.g., “The Long Run”, “The Triumph of the Night”, and “The Choice”), “work makes impossible any true cultural connection” (224). Although Roffman mentions Wharton’s professional correspondence with her publishers as the only place where Wharton directly “articulates the need to be well compensated for writing” (212), she mostly focuses on Wharton’s personal correspondence around the war and her pre-war works, which were first published mainly in highbrow magazines like Scribner’s, Century, and The Atlantic Monthly, which catered to a higher-brow audience. On the contrary, this dissertation argues that Wharton’s extensive professional correspondence shows her to be a shrewd businesswoman, who, especially in the 1920s, was able, with the help of Jewett, to negotiate the most advantageous contracts in a variety of publishing milieux and who increasingly also defined her work through financial gain. 145 a positive way. For example, when the proud Waldo Cranch is offended that the fundraising committee does not ask him for one of his watercolors when another painter’s picture is sold for two thousand dollars, which pays for a heating system for the local hospital (Pictorial Review, February 1926, 30). I would argue that in her 1920s and 1930s novels and short stories, Wharton challenges the binary between art and money, which reflects her awareness of both the new middlebrow audience for many of her first publications after the war and the changing literary field. In “The Young Gentlemen,” as in “The Temperate Zone,” Wharton portrays usefulness in a positive way showing her changing disposition regarding artistic compromise. 146 Chapter 4: Wharton’s Strategic Plastic Authorship: Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive in Delineator, and Their Book Revisions (1928-1932) “What exactly does reading a book consist in?” […] “Reading the original manuscript […] or the typescript copy, or the proofs, or the published book?” (The Gods Arrive, 279 [Appleton]) “Mr. Downing, the great authority of the period, sums up the principal architectural styles as the Grecian, Chinese, Gothic, the Tuscan or Italian villa, and—Hudson River Bracketed. Unless I’m mistaken, he cites the “Willows” as one of the most perfect examples of Hudson River Bracketed (this was in 1842) […] Elements ingeniously combined from the Chinese and the Tuscan.” (Hudson River Bracketed. Delineator [October 1928]: 85) 4.1 Art and Business: Literature and Modern Authorship Edith Wharton’s position in the literary field in the late 1920s and early 1930s was characterized by her affiliation with a variety of middlebrow magazine milieux, such as Delineator, and her book publisher, Appleton. This chapter focuses on the Wharton novels serialized by Delineator—Hudson River Bracketed (September 1928–February 1930) and its sequel, The Gods Arrive (February–August 1932)—and their subsequent Appleton book revisions, and it studies Wharton’s implementation of the authorial strategy of plasticity—especially her textual revisions, but also her use of genre hybridity/renovation and duality, her engagement of paratext, and, to a lesser extent, her use of perspectivism—in these novels. Whereas Wharton’s nonfiction writing and many of her personal letters uphold her brand of a 147 highbrow realist author opposed to the mass literary marketplace, Wharton’s late novels (especially when read in their original paratextual contexts) and professional correspondence provide a more business-oriented picture of her authorship, which complicates the story of her lifelong ambivalent views on mass culture and standardization. This chapter argues that reading both Delineator and Appleton book versions of Hudson River Bracketed (1929) and its sequel The Gods Arrive (1932) and Wharton’s professional correspondence shows her strategic treatment of the middlebrow themes and genres as well as their higher-brow book revisions and comments on her own navigation of the literary field, which, in many respects, resembles protagonist Vance Weston’s negotiations with the publishing world. Unlike Wharton’s earlier serials and stories, which sometimes critiqued the magazine milieux in which they appeared (Whitehead, “Frame”), the serialized versions of these later novels, while occasionally critical of commercialism without substance, also catered to Delineator’s readership through their positive engagement with the middlebrow—through her positive portrayal of Vance as a middlebrow reader; through her employment of the middlebrow bildungsroman genre; via her middlebrow depiction of female characters in terms of the domesticity ideal and the romance genre; and through the novel’s acceptance of both artistic and commercial aspects of Vance’s authorship. Revisions and genre renovations combined with the magazine/book paratexts allowed Wharton not only to strategically engage with the middlebrow literary culture and to survive economically in the increasingly stratified literary field but also to uphold her brand of a serious highbrow literary author through her book publications. Comparison of these different versions allows the study of Wharton’s temporary authorial intention within the context of the particular period and the print-cultural medium in which each text appeared. While in many of her early Scribner’s Magazine short stories Wharton was rather 148 critical of an artist’s compromise connected with economic capital and creation of mediocre art, in both magazine and book versions of Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive, which she originally conceived of as one narrative, Wharton increasingly portrays the business side of authorship as crucial for the writer’s survival, reflective of her own experience in the postwar literary marketplace and her changing disposition regarding artistic compromise. The introduction discusses the chapter’s intervention into the scholarly conversation about Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive, which typically interprets Vance Weston’s narrative as being reflective of Wharton’s own critical views of mass culture. Drawing on Wharton’s correspondence with Rutger B. Jewett, the Beinecke manuscripts, and the magazine and book revisions of the novels, this chapter argues that Wharton carefully navigated the literary marketplace through the adaptation of her work to different print-cultural milieux. The first section discusses the novels’ publishing history, including the print-cultural milieu of Delineator in which they first appeared, and the differences between the magazine and the subsequent book versions in terms of their readerships and their varying degree of prestige in the literary marketplace. The next section focuses on Vance’s positive depiction in the magazine version of Hudson River Bracketed as a middlebrow aspiring reader who can easily learn to understand highbrow Literature with the expert help of the more genteel Halo. Conversely, in the higher-brow book form of Hudson River Bracketed, Wharton stresses Vance’s inability to easily bridge the educational and class gap between himself and Halo. The following part studies Wharton’s usage of the bildungsroman genre. Whereas the magazine portrays Vance in terms of a successful, social-climbing narrative, stressing the middlebrow concept of personality, the book version shows his journey in terms of a painful, slow character maturation reminiscent of the genteel ideal. Moreover, while in the magazine Wharton targets the female middlebrow 149 reader through her depiction of both Vance’s lover Halo and his wife Laura Lou in terms of the nineteenth-century sentimental domesticity ideal, the book version draws attention to the conventions of the sentimental genre and revises them more in terms of the New Womanhood. Finally, this chapter discusses Wharton’s rather positive portrayal of middlebrow authorship in the magazine version, and, in contrast, her more critical view expressed in the book version. However, Vance Weston’s künstlerroman in both versions reminds us of Wharton’s own adaptation to the literary field and, perhaps, her realization that in the modern literary marketplace authorship is inseparable from business. The renovation of the Lorburn ancestral home “Willows” and its architectural hybridity reflects Wharton’s authorial strategy of plasticity, which allowed her to successfully adapt to, and navigate, the postwar literary field. Hudson River Bracketed and its sequel depict the artistic and character maturation of their protagonist, a male writer in the making, Vance Weston. Vance grows up in the midwestern suburb of Euphoria, Illinois, in a middle-class family that has become rich through local real-estate speculation. The Weston family defines itself through material success and conspicuous consumption, except for Grandma Scrimser, the closest character, spiritually, to Vance, who is preoccupied with her attempts to reform the whole world and to find God. Vance, in contrast to his nuclear family’s superficiality, searches for a deeper meaning in life. This deep meaning is, in his view, connected with the poetry he attempts to write at the beginning of Hudson River Bracketed and with the mysterious world of highbrow culture. Vance’s künstlerroman begins with his trip to Paul’s Landing, a small town close to New York City, which, as a center of the literary world, attracts him. He stays with his mother’s lower-middle-class cousin, Lucilla Tracy, and her children, Laura Lou and Upton, in an old-fashioned household without electricity or telephone, which stands in opposition to the Midwest 150 town of Euphoria’s quest for novelty and focus on living in the present moment. Through Mrs. Tracy, a housekeeper at the ancestral mansion of the Lorburn family, Vance encounters the world of “real” literature to which he has not had access in Euphoria. The Lorburn heir, Héloïse—or “Halo” Spear (later Tarrant)—along with George Frenside, a literary adviser, serve as Vance’s literary guides, teaching him about the literary tradition of the past, symbolized by the “Willows”’s private library accumulated by several generations of Lorburns. In Vance’s mind, as he portrays in his first critically acclaimed and popular historical novel Instead, Halo’s ancestor Elinor Lorburn, who was the last Lorburn to actually live in the house and is associated with Samuel Taylor Coleridge in the novel, symbolizes the upper-class world of highbrow literature Vance admires. In addition to studying classics with Halo, Vance grows professionally through his experience working at the highbrow magazine, the New Hour (owned by Halo’s husband, Lewis Tarrant). Through his book publications, Vance learns how to navigate the literary field—how to write in different genres,53 how to negotiate with editors and publishers, and how to define his authorship apart from popular art theories promoted by fashionable (modernist) coteries—while earning his living and preserving his artistic integrity. Vance cannot become a real writer until he also learns more about life through his relationships (romance) with his first wife Laura Lou, who dies prematurely, and later with Halo. Through a series of epiphanies, Vance becomes less selfish and more mature. By the end of The Gods Arrive, he is ready to raise the child that Halo is expecting at the renovated “Willows”, which Halo finally 53 In Hudson River Bracketed, Vance publishes his autobiographical short story, “One Day”; a war story, “Unclaimed”; and a popular and critically-acclaimed historical novel, Instead. His unfinished work includes his destroyed manuscript of Loot, a novel about New York life, and Magic, a poetic novel. In The Gods Arrive, he writes the popular historical novel, The Puritan in Spain, and publishes his unsuccessful philosophical magnum opus, Colossus. 151 inherits. The Gods Arrive focuses mainly on Vance’s complicated relationship with the not-yet-divorced Halo, as well as his continuing search for his individual artistic voice, free from the influence of literary critics and passing literary fads, and his acceptance of the business side of authorship. While Hudson River Bracketed is set in the continental US—in Euphoria, Paul’s Landing, and New York—the setting of The Gods Arrive is more international—Vance and Halo travel together to England, France, and Spain. Most critics have read Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive as Wharton’s critique of consumerism and (mediocre) middlebrow culture because of how she depicts Vance’s midwestern, materialistic, middle-class, and uncultured family background connected with Euphoria. This directly opposes the more sophisticated, less-materialistic, upper-class East (broadly defined as New York and its surrounding area). For example, Jenny Glennon argues that Wharton’s portrayal of Vance’s midwestern upbringing was inspired by Sinclair Lewis’s Main Street (1920) and Babbitt (1922), especially his ironical portrayal of the Babbitt middle-class home (53).54 Along similar lines, Jean C. Griffith contends that, in Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive, as in The Custom of the Country (1913), Wharton depicts the threat of the invasion by the uncultivated West of the traditionally high-cultured East (1–18). Other critics have read the novels in terms of Vance’s positive journey toward the Romantic or “art-for-art’s-sake” model of authorship—as a progress narrative from the philistine Midwest, characterized by consumerism, mass culture, and writing for the local newspaper, to the cultured East, where 54 However, Glennon contends that Lewis’ Main Street and Babbitt were first influenced by Wharton’s novel, The Custom of the Country (1913) and its depiction of the West as a place of mediocrity and consumerism (45). 152 he becomes a fiction writer with highbrow poetic aspirations, as symbolized by Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan,” the last poem Elinor Lorburn reads before her death (Saunders 187-216). Judith P. Saunders interprets Elinor as a stand-in for Wharton herself and interprets “Kubla Khan,” which Vance admires, as “the gateway to the protagonist’s romantic, creative, and cultural awakening” (187). She argues that Wharton “draws on wording, images, and concerns from Coleridge’s text to develop plot, setting, character, and theme […] in the story of a young writer’s maturation” (187). According to these readings, the family library at the “Willows” symbolizes the world of high culture that Vance strives to enter. In “The Wanamaker Touch in Fiction,” Ann L. Patten upholds the purist and high art (exemplified by the Romantic ideal) versus the profiteer and mediocre art opposition and reads Hudson River Bracketed as “Wharton’s guide to novel writing” (12), stressing the importance of a writer’s “discriminating between external prompts such as the Wanamaker touch and true [Romantic] inspiration” (21). These scholarly contributions have been indispensable for our understanding of Wharton’s lifelong self-positioning as a serious highbrow author associated with real art that excludes business. However, Wharton’s continuous work on a novel called Literature before the War, which combined sections of what became Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive, further complicates the view of her authorship in terms of the purist and profiteer binary, the notion that art is incompatible with business, a concern she has been contemplating since her early Scribner’s stories and serials. Wharton was preoccupied with the idea of Literature for many years; she had started it in 1913 and she planned it to contain seven books and 42 to 45 chapters (xvi). However, in the 1920s, Wharton abandoned her draft of Literature, which she had promised to Charles Scribner, because she realized that “Literature, as originally conceived, […] 153 could not be transposed to a modern literary landscape [, which was] altered beyond recognition” by the war (Rattray, “Literature” 120), progressive publishing, and the (mass) magazine revolution. In a letter to William Brownell in April 1921, she describes her struggles to find the right post-war angle from which to continue the narrative: The war dealt that master-piece Literature a terrible blow. I still “carry” it about with me, and long to make it the dizzy pinnacle of my work; but when did it all happen? And what repercussions did 1914–1920 have on my young man? [...] Can’t get enough perspective yet. (qtd. in Leach 341) Wharton revisited many of Literature’s themes, situations, and characters in Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive (Leach 343–351).55 Whereas Dick Thaxter, Literature’s hero, may function autobiographically as Wharton—they both came from an upper-class background and wrote poetry in their youth, as Nancy R. Leach has observed—the hero of Hudson River Bracketed, Vance Weston, represents the “Middle Western invader,” who lacks the “traditional culture of the Eastern seaboard” and represents “the complete dissolution of [Wharton’s] New York” and “the dominance in American life and fiction of the Middle West” (352). Literature’s Dick Thaxter is a writer who moves from lowbrow scribbling to highbrow literature and premature death, leaving his best art-for-art’s-sake work unpublished. In my reading, by contrast, Vance survives, as did Wharton, by adapting to the changing literary field in which the 55 As Wharton writes to her friend (and later executor), Elisina Tyler, who admired Hudson River Bracketed in January 1930: “It is a theme that I have carried in my mind for years, & that Walter was always urging me to use; indeed I had begun it before the war, but in our own milieu, & the setting of my youth. After the war it took me long to re-think it & transpose it into the crude terms of modern America; & I am happy to find that my readers think I have succeeded.” (Lewis, Letters 525). 154 notion of prestige connected with highbrow art had begun to fade. For Wharton, the employment of the authorial strategy of plasticity allowed her to navigate the post-war literary arena. It is not surprising then that Wharton considered Hudson River Bracketed one of her best books and, together with The Gods Arrive, among her personal favorites, along with The Custom of the Country, Summer, and The Children (Lewis, Biography 490). My argument builds on recent scholarship that offers a corrective to prior scholarship that insisted on reading Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive as critiques of the commercial side of authorship and that pays new attention to the novels’ dialogue between art and business.56 For example, Meredith Goldsmith in her analysis of the book version of Hudson River Bracketed “problematiz[es] the binary between art and commerce” (“Of Publicity” 234), arguing that the novel portrays “Wharton’s experience with the publishing industry and her witnessing of conflicts over literary prizes throughout the 1920s,” and that these experiences “suggest her awareness of the construction of cultural prestige through the publishing industry, especially through literary prizes and their attendant scandals” (233). Goldsmith describes Vance’s authorship as a “multi-faceted negotiation between numerous parties, each with different stakes in the success of a literary work” (233). She reads the novel as a combination of Vance’s “bildungsroman,” represented by his romantic relationships with Laura Lou and Halo Spear and his “professional plot” or “social satire”—“Vance’s efforts to navigate a complex world of editors, publishers, promoters, tastemakers, and philanthropists as he endeavors to develop an independent, mature style and satisfy market demands” (232). Goldsmith, however, 56 Before Goldsmith’s analysis, Jennifer Haytock, Susan Goodman, and Hermione Lee all implied or mentioned Wharton’s ambivalence regarding the good-art and bad-business binary in the novels, but they did not explore this issue in depth. 155 focuses on the book forms of the novels and does not discuss the serialized versions of the novels. In their earlier edited collection, Lisa Botshon and Goldsmith opened the conversation about the middlebrow Wharton. They classified her among the generation of popular middlebrow women writers of the 1920s, such as Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Anita Loos, and Fannie Hurst, who strived to attain both critical acclaim and commercial success. The introduction to their Middlebrow Moderns collection mentions Hudson River Bracketed as reflecting Wharton’s own struggle with, and ambivalence about, the changing literary field. When Vance writes “Instead”, a simultaneously critically acclaimed and popular novel, this compromise cuts his flow of inspiration and prevents him from writing another novel in Wharton’s plot (7). They note that, although Wharton distances herself from popular culture, she often uses “themes and strategies of popular women writers” (7). While the collection provides analysis of many middlebrow women writers’ works, Wharton is referred to only briefly in the introduction, in connection with the book version of Hudson River Bracketed, and is not discussed further by the contributors. My argument, which compares the serialized versions of Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive against their book revisions (within the context of her professional correspondence), provides detailed evidence regarding Wharton’s strategic engagement with the middlebrow and the mass literary marketplace in this period. 4.2 Publishing History: Rutger B. Jewett, Delineator, and Appleton Wharton’s extensive correspondence with Appleton editor Rutger B. Jewett, who also negotiated her serial contracts in the 1920s and early 1930s, sheds light on her understanding and navigation of the literary field, including her serializations and book revisions, later in her 156 career. Jewett during this period, as Sharon Shaloo aptly summarizes, “encouraged Wharton to meet increasingly difficult deadlines coming from multiple sources, to tailor her work to the requirements editors felt would best serve their readership, and to understand the delicacy in treatment of subject required in this mass marketplace” (124). Although Wharton lived in France (1910-1937), Jewett kept her well informed about the American publishing world and the different publishing venues and markets in which he helped her to play. In addition to negotiating her agreements for magazine and book publications both in the United States and in the United Kingdom, he also advised her on film and drama adaptations and translations of her work. For example, in a June 1, 1922 letter, he informed Wharton about the different middlebrow women’s periodicals—Ladies’ Home Journal, Saturday Evening Post, Woman’s Home Companion, Pictorial Review, Delineator, and Red Book—that would be interested in publishing her work and included short descriptions of each (Beinecke). In another letter from the same year, Jewett mentioned McCall’s, a new magazine he had in mind for her next story, “a publication similar to the Woman’s Home Companion and the Pictorial Review,” which is “one of the popular magazines” with “an enormous circulation, especially among women” and “[t]hey are able to pay big prices” (Beinecke). Jewett came from the same upper-class milieu as Wharton and knew, as an experienced literary adviser, when to encourage Wharton to keep up with impending deadlines, when to advise her to slow down to preserve her health, and when to flatter her by appealing to her sense of being a serious (book) author. For example, in a letter from December 1926, he wrote, “[W]ork of high literary quality is not so good for these popular magazines as the typical low-brow serial production. Mary Roberts Rinehart and Kathleen Norris grind out ideal stuff for serialization. You write novels without a thought for the magazine” (Beinecke). On the contrary, as their other letters show, although Wharton might not 157 have started all her interwar novels with a particular magazine in mind, she would have known that the target audience would be that of a middlebrow magazine, which paid the highest prices for her serials. After signing a contract negotiated by Jewett, she would have known exactly in which magazine the serial would be published. As her professional correspondence shows, Wharton knew how to navigate the changing literary arena and to cater to specific audiences, including that of the middlebrow Delineator. Delineator, in which Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive first appeared, was aimed at (female) middle-class readers—potential consumers of products it advertised. These readers would have encountered the novels paratextually within the context of installment descriptions, illustrations, other serials, advertisements, and expert articles concerning homemaking, education, literature, culture, and politics. Delineator was a major mass-circulation women’s magazine in the late 1920s and cost only 10 cents. Launched as a Butterick fashion catalog in 1873, it was later transformed into a general-interest magazine providing entertainment and education for middle-class women. Before the First World War, under the editorships of muckraker authors Theodore Dreiser and William Hard, Delineator focused on progressive social issues and promoted the New Woman ideal. The magazine during this period contained articles on women’s colleges and the new careers that educated women could follow after graduation, such as teaching, nursing, and journalism. It also celebrated women’s active participation in the public sphere—their membership in women’s clubs and various organizations that were involved in municipal and national reform efforts. Conversely, in the 1920s, under the editorships of Marie Mattingly Meloney and Oscar Graeve, Delineator became increasingly more conservative in terms of gender, praising the nineteenth-century domesticity ideal (Heberling 62–63) rather than the more contemporary New Womanhood. The magazine 158 embraced the “Better Homes Campaign,” stressing that “[t]he making of a better home is a mother’s duty” (Bland 182). Articles began to focus more on the science of homemaking—such as cooking, cleaning, interior decoration, and raising children (as well as activities for children)—and on promoting the ideal of romance and marriage, stressing the importance of a wife’s physical attractiveness and her ability to take care of the family. In 1926, The Delineator became simply Delineator. While in 1920, the Delineator had had more than half a million subscribers, by the Great Crash, subscriptions had doubled. In 1928, when Oscar Graeve became the editor, he continued to promote the homemaking ideology, but also introduced more upscale fashion ideas inspired by Paris models (e.g., “Is Chic a French Monopoly?” in the September 1928 issue), and gradually limited the length and number of fiction contributions in the magazine.57 Advertising played a major role in Delineator and reflected the domestic focus promoted by the magazine (advertisements focused on aspects such as household, beauty, and health products). Ellen G. Garvey notes the similarity of the English word “magazine” and the “grand magasin” (a department store): both denote spaces of consumption that were aimed at the female middle-class consumer (The Adman 3). As Jewett explained to Wharton, middlebrow magazines, like Delineator, were willing to pay large sums for famous “serious writers,” such as herself or John Galsworthy, because they ensured that big companies would be willing to advertise their products in the magazine (Lewis, Biography 484). Delineator paid Wharton for the prestige and cultural capital associated with her name and advertised her as a well-established and well-known author and celebrity. 57 In April 1937, Delineator merged with its competitor—William Randolph Hearst’s the Pictorial Review. The company discontinued this fused magazine in January 1939. 159 Wharton was often forced to adjust her work to the popular magazine audience and particular editorial demands, especially during the Depression (Balestra 13-24; Lee 686-689), but in the Appleton book versions of her fiction, she had more authorial independence. For example, when The Saturday Evening Post changed the title of her short story “A Bottle of Perrier” [this brand was sold in the US and thus was a potential problem for advertisers] into “A Bottle of Evian” [this brand was not sold in the US] because in the US the trade name “Perrier” “could not very well be used without discriminating against all other brands,” Jewett assured her that when it is “published in book form, of course, it will carry the original title ‘A Bottle of Perrier’” (Beinecke). On another occasion, he wrote that he did not “believe that the transient appearance of a good story in any magazine is of great importance, especially in [Wharton’s] case where the story will appear later in book form” (Beinecke). The serialized versions of novels were in general endowed with less cultural capital than books. The two were not read in the same way and their target audiences differed. Books were aimed at more educated and sophisticated readers; they were considered “the place [of…] autonomy” for the writer, in which the reader’s experience of the author was uninterrupted by advertisements (Wilson 64). As Garvey explains, for instance, “the established publishers believed that marketing books amid products like soap (a favorite comparison) would destroy books’ prestige” (“Ambivalent Advertising” 171). It was, according to this logic, in the book versions of her novels that the author was “ma[king] an individualized mark on history” (Wilson 64). Wharton was well-aware of the importance of maintaining her highbrow literary status (along with monetary rewards), and it is telling that when planning A Backward Glance (later published in book form by Appleton), she was worried about publishing it “serially in one of the illustrated magazines which break up the text so brutally” (Beinecke). She wondered “if the type of reader who would 160 eventually buy the book would not be more attracted with the articles [if they] appeared first in a better type of periodical,” such as “The Atlantic,” a still more “’literary’ magazine,” along with “The Forum,” as Jewett explained to her, showing her awareness of the workings of cultural capital in the marketplace (Beinecke).58 Following Wharton’s earlier unpleasant experiences with Pictorial Review editor Arthur T. Vance, who wanted to cut parts of the serialized The Age of Innocence to make more space for advertisements and to alter the title of Twilight Sleep, which was later “much praised by the critics,” Wharton intended to be firm with regard to editorial changes even in the magazine version when dealing with “the biggest subject” she depicted in Hudson River Bracketed: “I also want it made clear to the editors who accept my bookw [sic] for serial publication that I must have my own way with regard to titles as well as to all the details of my tales. I should consider that I was rendering a poor service to younger writers if I went against my literary conscience, in modifying any detail of my work, however trifling” (Beinecke). Although Wharton was extremely well paid for the serialization of Hudson River Bracketed, she was angry and shocked when Delineator editor Graeve started its serialization six months before the agreed schedule (Lewis, Biography 488). Wharton complained to Jewett in February 1929, “I cannot tell you the harm that Mr. Graeve’s inexcusable action has done to me, 58 In January 1928, Jewett discouraged Wharton from publishing her serialized autobiography in Scribner’s Magazine explaining that “[t]he Scribners and the Century are no more ‘literary’ now than many of the popular magazines which have enormous circulations and can afford to pay top prices for serialization…The relative position of these magazines has changed radically as the years have passed. Once they stood aloof in splendid literary isolation. That day has gone by” (Beinecke). He persuaded Wharton that “there was nothing undignified in the way the Ladies’ Home Journal [where she finally serializes A Backward Glance] issued Emma Eames’ volume of reminiscences” (Beinecke). Wharton regretfully agrees with him about Scribner’s: “There is nothing left of the old tradition, and I see no advantages in associating my name with the kind of literature they publish nowadays” (Beinecke). 161 and I fear, to my novel” (488), and stated on July 15, 1929, “When I consider what the Delineator is, and what the poorest of my work is in comparison … I will never again willingly give a line of mine to the Delineator” (Lewis, Letters 521). The unexpected earlier deadlines forced her to write more quickly than she was used to and significantly affected her physical health, and in fact slowed her down (Lewis, Biography 488). Hence, with The Gods Arrive Wharton insisted that serialization not begin until Jewett had a complete manuscript in hand. The publication histories of Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive show that, regardless of her personal opinion about Delineator, Wharton was a business-savvy professional who did what was necessary to get the best deal. As R.W.B. Lewis explains, Delineator secured the Hudson River Bracketed serial for $50,000 after a bidding war with Pictorial Review (Biography 472–473), a significant amount in the Depression market. Wharton wrote both magazine and book versions of Hudson River Bracketed and its sequel simultaneously and revised them continuously as she sent individual chapters of both versions to Jewett so that he would be able to publish the book shortly after its periodical appearance. Owing to Jewett’s guidance, Wharton was well aware of the importance of the right timing of book publication. For example, in September 1920, Wharton already feared that, because of possible strikes in the publishing industry, The Age of Innocence (1921) might not be published in October, thus jeopardizing book sales if the publication was delayed until the beginning of the Christmas season (Beinecke). To fit the market’s expectations, both book versions include, in addition to added material, revisions of whole passages and individual sentences. For example, when revising the magazine version of Hudson River Bracketed, Wharton changed the names of Lewis Tarrant’s magazine from “The Day” to “The Hour” and the “Crossover Prize” to “Pulsifer Prize,” and the book versions of both novels, as this chapter 162 will show, were revised to cater to the higher-brow book audience (Beinecke). Revisions to The Gods Arrive were even more substantial than to Hudson River Bracketed, parts of which Wharton revised up to five times and “differed in certain respects from the magazine version” (Benstock 433), which indicates that Wharton had more time for revisions with the sequel. The topic of Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive turned out to be too large for a single novel, and Wharton was forced by Graeve and Jewett to create an ending for the first half quickly “at a turning of … [Vance’s] life” (Beinecke). In the case of The Gods Arrive, Graeve’s initial plan to publish the serial a year after Hudson River Bracketed clashed with Appleton’s plan for the book publication for the fall market and forced Jewett to seek a different periodical venue for serialization. But when this proved next to impossible owing to the trial marriage theme of the novel, which was morally unacceptable to editors of many women’s magazines, The Gods Arrive finally appeared in 1932 in the more liberal-minded Delineator, which paid her the same amount for the serial as they did for Hudson River Bracketed. 4.3 Magazine and Book Versions of Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive: Revisions, Paratext, and Genre Renovation 4.3.1 Vance as a (Middlebrow) Reader In the late 1920s, Wharton was experimenting with themes and genres that could be easily molded into fitting particular reading planes (with the help of revisions and paratext). While the serialized versions of both Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive depict Vance’s education journey in positive terms as achievable and leading to success, the book 163 versions insist on the unbridgeable educational and social gap between the highbrow Halo and the middlebrow Vance. In the magazine version, Vance Weston is, like most Delineator readers, a middlebrow reader who is capable of growth—he is a learning reader. Unlike Wharton’s earlier works, which depict the rigid division between highbrow and lowbrow literary cultures, Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive complicate the binary between “born readers” and “mechanical readers,” terms she coined in her 1903 essay “The Vice of Reading” (99-100). Despite Vance’s sensitivity to beauty and his natural gift of writing, Wharton depicts him as limited by his training as a “mechanical reader” at a midwestern college. As Vance admits, his education focused mostly on sports and mechanical cramming and his courses had a formula for everything instead of encouraging independent thought and critical thinking. Vance was exposed to a few of the most canonical English and American authors; however, he lacks knowledge of the world’s literary tradition as a whole. Although Wharton is critical of Vance’s habitual use of shortcuts to reading literature, she also shows him to be capable of deeper learning given the assistance of an expert. Héloïse Spear serves as his guide to the world of highbrow literature, traditionally available only to the genteel upper class. Her nickname “Halo” refers to the intellectual and spiritual enlightenment Vance can achieve through, in her eyes, real education. Halo comes from an impoverished but aristocratic family who owns the “Willows”; she is a “born reader” with a sense of tradition who teaches Vance how to study and to appreciate high culture (Delineator, February 1929, 101). Interestingly, when read paratextually in Delineator, Halo’s literary guidance resembles that of the judges of the Book-of-the-Month Club, Henry Seidel Canby and Dorothy Canfield Fisher, who strived to protect highbrow literature from vulgarization and 164 shared “the genteel belief in aesthetic training”—“the capacity of all readers, once ‘trained,’ to grasp the elements of literary style and accorded them a basic right to have their lives enriched in so doing” (Rubin 27). Although Vance, to an extent, perceives the gap between his schooling and class background and those of Halo, whose family history is permeated with the big-C culture of the past, he feels that “[t]here was no reason why a boy like […him] shouldn’t some day or other, acquire a like faculty” (Delineator, December 1928, 71). Needless to say, although Vance never reaches Halo’s level of education, he is the one who becomes a successful author (she does not aspire to write). Articles that appeared in the same issues of Delineator as the installments of Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive promoting the liberal arts education ideal complement reading Wharton’s depiction of Vance’s learning journey as a middlebrow reader. Their author, Columbia University professor John Erskine, like Canby, stressed the importance of acquiring broad nonspecialized and comprehensive knowledge about the world. Erskine introduced his “Great Books” curriculum to Columbia University faculty in 1916. He compiled a list of 75 works he considered “great” because they depicted “enduring human dilemmas or types” and were intended for broad audiences (Rubin 165). His expert Delineator articles focused on different topics, but the literary ones, such as “A Whale of a Story,” provided guidelines on how to read the more difficult, ambiguous, highbrow works of literature, such as Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, which Erskine reads as “a poem”: “it gathers up emotions around a central figure, a central incident, and a central mood” (Delineator, October 1929, 15). Through the article that appears in the same issue, Erskine fulfills for the Delineator’s middlebrow readers a role similar to the role Halo plays for Vance—literary expert, mediator, and mentor. Whereas the liberal arts ideal celebrated by Erskine and Canby propagated the importance of the knowledge of the past 165 as represented by the study of the classics, the newer specialization model followed by Vance’s Midwestern college embraced production of new knowledge, scientific inquiry, and modern languages. Through her depiction of Vance’s experience, Wharton critiques the latter—the vocational utilitarian learning about only “a particular fraction of the world” (Radway, “Learned” 202)—and promotes Erskine’s and Canby’s more generalist view of education, once accessible only to elites. The depictions of Vance’s educational journey in the magazine and book versions differ, showing Wharton’s awareness of their respective reading publics. While the magazine version—explicitly written for middlebrow readers—reinforces the middlebrow assumption that Vance’s education gap can be easily bridged, the book version—explicitly addressed to higher-brow readers—insists on Vance’s and Halo’s insurmountable knowledge and class differences. In the Appleton version, Wharton is more critical of Vance’s limited exposure to high culture. For example, the book includes additional passages in which Halo asks Vance if he speaks German and quotes a passage from Goethe’s Faust in German (Appleton, Hudson River Bracketed 69), which he clearly does not understand. Elsewhere in the book version, Wharton has inserted a passage in which Halo mocks Vance when they picnic at the summit of Thundertop for misunderstanding her allusion to “the first temple of Delphi”, “the Greek Delphi [,…] the famous shrine, where Apollo’s oracle was” as a reference to “Christian Science”, revealing Vance’s (still) limited exposure to classical literature and his greater familiarity with middlebrow culture (Appleton 80-81). In another example, in the magazine version, Halo praises a poem Vance has written, thus narrowing their educational and class differences. By contrast, Wharton adds to this scene in the book version a passage that further comments on the chasm between their educational backgrounds: “The simplest things she said presupposed a familiarity 166 with something or other that he was ignorant of: allusions to people and books, associations of ideas, images and metaphors” (Appleton 78). Furthermore, in the Appleton book version, Halo more directly critiques the poem Vance composed; she says, “I should leave ‘urge’ as a noun to the people who write blurbs for book jackets; and ‘dawn’ and ‘lorn’ do not rhyme in English poetry” (Appleton 81), comments that hurt Vance and further reveal his lower class status: “her verbal criticism, suggesting other possibilities of the same kind, hinting at abysses of error into which he might drop unawares at any moment, brought him down like a shot bird. He hardly understood what she meant, did not know what there was to find fault with the English of the people who wrote for book jackets—it was indeed the sort of thing he aspired to excel in some day himself” (Appleton 81). In the magazine version of the novel, Wharton is less critical of Vance’s lack of the general literary education. The magazine version briefly references Half-Hours with the Best Authors, which Wharton described to Jewett as “the companion of [… her] infancy” through which she received only “her education in prose” because “his choice of poetry was beneath contempt” (Beinecke), but it does not refer dismissively to “Five-Foot Shelf”, the middlebrow literary guide by Charles Eliot, with which Vance is familiar (as the book version does). In the Appleton book version, Wharton adds: [Half-Hours with the Best Authors] was not, as Vance had expected, a series of “half-hour” essays on the best authors. Charles Knight (that was the man’s name) had simply ranged through a library like Miss Lorburn’s, about eighty years ago, gathered this bloom and that, and bound them together with the fewest words. Vance, accustomed to short-cuts to culture, had expected an early version of the “five-foot shelf”; he found, instead, the leisurely selections of an anthologist to 167 whom it had obviously not occurred that he might have readers too hurried to dwell on the more recondite beauties of English literature. (Appleton, Hudson River Bracketed 93) While versions of all of the examples above are also present in the manuscript of the novel, interestingly, Wharton’s references to Vance being “accustomed to short-cuts to culture” and expecting “an early version of the ‘five-foot shelf’” were only inserted later into the book version, further showing Wharton’s awareness of her higher-brow target reader (Appleton 93). 4.3.2 Vance’s Bildung In Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive, Wharton employs the dual genre of bildungsroman—which comprises its social-climbing middlebrow form and the higher-brow, more traditional variety inspired by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Kim) and the genteel ideal of character building—that, after revisions, allowed her to address both the magazine and the book audiences. To depict Vance’s development as both an artist and a human being, Wharton employs the bildungsroman form. When read paratextually, the serials of Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive, as commented on and summarized by the Delineator, encouraged middlebrow bildung readings of Vance’s success and social climbing, by focusing on the concept of personality. As cultural historian Warren I. Susman explains, the culture of personality became the norm after the First World War. The concept of personality was closely connected with the more sophisticated methods of advertising and the subsequent commodification of the self (271-285). Cultural historian T. J. Jackson Lears notes that the content of advertisements changed at the turn of the century from simple descriptions of goods to promises that purchasing these 168 products would enhance the buyer’s physical and mental comfort and increase his or her social status (43). Delineator advertisements for beauty aids and services depict the self as created by a series of purchases. Like the Delineator reader whose status increases via purchases encouraged by the magazine’s advertisements, Wharton’s protagonist Vance, via proper cultural/literary education with the help of expert guidance, becomes a famous and successful writer—a literary celebrity—who wins the golden girl. The first major illustration in the March 1929 issue depicts Halo as belonging to the upper class. She wears an expensive evening dress and jewelry and is having a conversation with male family members who are wearing tuxedos (Figure 4.1). The magazine advertised Hudson River Bracketed as “A novel of a modern youth’s struggle for love and accomplishment” (Delineator, March 1929, 25) and “a modern novel of love and achievement” (Delineator, May 1929, 37), thereby appealing to the ideological preoccupations of its target readers. Even Vance’s name, reminiscent of his birthplace, Advance, and his editing of a college magazine Getting There, imply that Wharton has created her character with a middlebrow audience in mind (a fact that, within the book context, would have probably been read ironically). Symptomatically, the magazine version of Hudson River Bracketed does not include the passages that depict Vance during his suicidal depression in New York when he realizes how much time to study and write he would need to bridge the gap in his education and the necessary financial cost of such an endeavor, which would complicate the straightforward social climbing-success narrative. 169 Figure 4.1 Sutter, Henry R. Hudson River Bracketed Illustration (Delineator, March 1929, 25) 170 Moreover, Wharton encouraged a middlebrow reading of the serialized Hudson River Bracketed in a letter quoted by editor Oscar Graeve in “The Living Delineator” editorial in the September 1928 issue in which the first installment of Hudson River Bracketed appeared. In addition to including a picture of “the type of house Mrs. Wharton describes,” Graeve explained to readers that “the pleasantly curious title” refers to a famous architectural style coined by A.J. Downing in Landscape Gardening in 1842. Greave advertises Hudson River Bracketed as Wharton’s “new novel of American life” and quotes from a letter she has submitted to the magazine in which she “describe[s] the purpose” of the novel: “I want to try to draw the experiences of an unusually intelligent modern youth of average education and situation on whom the great revelations of the Past, which everything in modern American training tends to exclude, or at least to minimize, rushes in through the million channels of art and history, and human beings of another civilization” (8). Contrast this intention to her observation in a letter dated October 22nd, 1932 to Chicago Tribune literary editor Fanny Butcher, when describing the book version of Vance’s story in The Gods Arrive, that “[i]t may not appeal to a very large public” because it deals with “the moral and intellectual growth of a young man-of-letters” (Beinecke). The two different letters show that Wharton understood the expectations of her different target audiences. In contrast to the serialized versions of both novels, the book versions of both Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive include more passages describing Vance’s artistic process, his struggles to navigate the unfriendly publishing world, and contemplation of his life and 171 writing, which are reflective of the more traditional bildung narrative linked to Goethe (Kim).59 Needless to say, the magazine versions do not refer to Goethe at all, but they do mention Faust briefly (without including parts of the book version that depict Halo quoting passages from the play in German). Unlike the period’s obsession with personality, which has no connection with inward traits and focuses on an individual’s image and on his or her surface qualities, such as likeability, the traditional bildung brings back the older genteel ideal of character, as promoted by nineteenth-century philosophers/clergymen William Ellery Channing and Ralph Waldo Emerson, which presupposes an inner life and qualities, moral integrity, and gradual development over time. For these thinkers, the acquisition of “cultured sensibility” (Rubin 5) was a part of a larger project of self-culture, comprised of self-mastery, organic growth instead of an accumulation of social status through commodities, self-sacrifice for the greater good of the community, and the idea of service to God (5–6). Scribner’s Magazine before the First World War promoted this ideal, as Chapter Two discusses. In the book versions, Wharton 59 In her article “Edith Wharton and Epiphany,” Sharon Kim argues that Wharton’s employment of epiphany is a crucial element of her artistic method, which puts her in dialogue with modernism, from which she distanced herself (150). Wharton recognizes two different types of epiphany: “the epiphany of a sudden moral insight and the modern epiphany, which stresses the materiality of aesthetic perception” (150). In Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive, Wharton develops another form that fuses the two and “combines the aesthetics of modern epiphany with subjective and historical continuity” (150). While the modernist epiphany “is a highly subjective experience, separating the individual mind from all others” (156) and depicts “a subjective consciousness linked to aesthetic vision” (152), Wharton’s “modern epiphany” (not modernist) includes the moments of illumination that are linked to moral development of the character and “a continuity of self over time,” as represented by Goethe’s bildungsroman genre (155). In her readings of the novels, Kim focuses on Vance’s growth of artistic power through epiphanies, but also briefly notes they contribute to his further solipsistic behavior toward Halo in The Gods Arrive. Kim reads Vance’s bildungsroman in terms of his connecting with the literary tradition that preceded him, what Wharton refers to as “the Mothers”, but also mentions his moral growth through the experience of pain in life, which the dying Grandma Scrimser talks to him about and which is represented by his reading of Augustine’s Confessions. His coming back to Halo and their child symbolizes the fusion of “the modernist version [of epiphany] with the continuity of the traditional moment of illumination” (170). Kim focuses more on Vance’s artistic than personal epiphanies in her reading of Wharton’s novels and does not discuss Halo’s bildung or the bildung of their relationship. 172 portrays Vance’s bildung in terms of both artistic and character maturation. As an artist, Vance learns more about the literary tradition by reading the classics and conversing with Halo and Frenside. He also learns, in facing the pressures of the modern publishing industry, to preserve his integrity and to follow the inspiration that comes from his unconscious and his connection with the literary tradition that preceded him, which he calls “the Mothers.” In the book versions, on a personal level, Vance matures through his relationship with Halo, which forces him to become less selfish by the end of The Gods Arrive. Wharton depicts Vance’s development through a series of epiphanies, both artistic and personal. While the former connect him with the lineage of writers before him (Kim) (as opposed to his earlier thinking about the artist’s isolation from the world), the personal epiphanies result in his greater ability to feel sympathy and to put himself in Halo’s shoes. For example, while at the beginning of The Gods Arrive, he decides to disappear for weeks at a time for his trips to London without telling Halo, as the story progresses, he is gradually able to feel Halo’s pain. After a wealthy socialite, Mrs. Glaisher, refers to Halo as Tarrant’s wife and completely disregards, in Mrs. Glaisher’s mind, Halo’s unofficial relationship with Vance, Vance for the first time perceives how painful Halo’s precarious situation has been for her. His decision to talk to Lewis Tarrant on Halo’s behalf so that Tarant will grant her a divorce represents the first moment when Vance is able to imagine another’s pain and to stop acting only out of his self-interest. He undergoes his final spiritual lesson through the experience of suffering caused by his affair with Floss Delaney and through his reading of Augustine’s Confessions, signifying the spiritual dimension of his journey. The dying Grandma Scrimser, who through her search for God in the novel and her close relationship with Vance is connected with his spiritual bildung, as Kim also points out, explains to him her view of marriage, which she knows he does not understand yet because his 173 life has been too easy: “It’s the daily wear and tear, and the knowing-it’s-got-to-be-made-to-do, that keeps people together; not making eyes at each other by moonlight. […] I’d almost say it’s the worries that make folks sacred to each other” (Appleton, The Gods Arrive 367). Only after proving his moral integrity and becoming less selfish and more caring is Vance fit to return to Halo and his unborn child. Life and art, Wharton suggests, are always connected—the life experience Vance gains throughout his journey is a prerequisite to developing his ability to feel sympathy and thus his ability to explore the more complex issues in his writing. Wharton’s book revisions of the novels, especially of The Gods Arrive, further show the importance of the bildung genre for her characterization. In a letter to a friend, Wharton complained about the difficulty of writing a sequel—of having to reframe the continuing story in terms of what had happened in the previous story. Whereas Wharton wrote the magazine version of The Gods Arrive more as a story on its own, she designed the book version clearly as a continuation of Vance’s journey; she often digresses to explain events that happened in Hudson River Bracketed. Unlike the book version of Hudson River Bracketed, in which Wharton substantially rewrote only the last chapter, the book version of The Gods Arrive contains significantly more material than the serialized version on the character development of both Vance and Halo, reminiscent of the genteel bildung tradition. 4.3.3 Female Characters and Romance Following my discussion of Wharton’s employment of Vance’s bildung narrative, this section shows how, in the magazine versions of Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive, Wharton employs the romance genre and female characters that fit the domesticity ideology promoted by the magazine after the First World War. Paratextual readings of the female 174 characters Laura Lou and Halo expose Wharton’s awareness of her middlebrow audience and explain her employment of the traditional gender paradigm. While the magazine versions and paratexts invite, I would argue, a negative reading of Laura Lou and a positive reading of Halo within the domesticity ideal, the book versions complicate and revise the romance framework by providing more complex characterizations of Halo and Vance by including, for example, a significant discrepancy between their thinking and doing. In the book version of The Gods Arrive, Wharton depicts Halo more positively in the light of the New Womanhood ideal by adding self-reflective bildung aspects into what seems, at first sight, a straightforward romance narrative. Whereas the magazine version seems to focus mainly on Vance’s bildung, the book version also depicts Halo’s bildung and grants her greater subjectivity (even if still within the general romance framework). Many reviewers of the book versions missed the complexity of Halo’s character and critiqued her passivity, especially in The Gods Arrive, while, surprisingly, praising the touching character of Laura Lou. Wharton’s employment in Delineator of the less critical and realistic and more sentimental version of the romance genre demonstrates her awareness of the magazine milieu and its master narrative, which portrayed romance and marriage as key elements in women’s desired life trajectory. In a promotional interview published in the magazine in January 1932, Wharton outlined Halo and Vance’s bildung in The Gods Arrive as a romance in a cosmopolitan setting, the type of story a Delineator reader would appreciate—in her own words, the novel deals with “the love of a woman for a man, so great that conventions could not stand against it; and this man’s needs, beyond even so great a gift. France, Spain, England—these to form the background [incomplete sentence in the original]” (4). Partially based on Wharton’s description of her novels, Delineator, while focusing on Vance’s success narrative (and romances with 175 Laura Lou and Halo) in Hudson River Bracketed, framed The Gods Arrive as a great love story about Halo’s heroic fight against Old World conventions through her living in a trial marriage with Vance. Similarly, the February 1932 issue of Delineator described Wharton’s serial as “a novel of a love ‘that passeth understanding’” in which “Mrs. Wharton reveals the loyalty and devotion of a woman for a man, devotion so deep that conventions could not stand against it”, thereby stressing the sentimental dimension of the story (8). The accompanying illustration by Clark Fay depicts Halo dressed in a simple modern dress and having her breakfast outside on a terrace with Vance and their friend. A picturesque European city in the background points to the serial’s cosmopolitan setting (Figure 4.2). Figure 4.2 Fay, Clark. The Gods Arrive Illustration (Delineator, February 1932, 8) 176 When read paratextually, the character of Laura Lou in the magazine version of Hudson River Bracketed conveys a sense of her inability to fit the middle-class gender ideology promoting women’s roles as mothers and wives. In contrast with the mostly positive reviews of the book version of Laura Lou,60 reading Delineator Laura within the context of the magazine invites a more negative interpretation of her character, which may explain why Wharton dispatches her by the end of Hudson River Bracketed. She, unlike Halo, is not a good housekeeper, which, according to the later Delineator, was one of every woman’s chief roles. The ideal wife, according to Delineator, was supposed to keep herself looking beautiful and in good health with the aid of the many products advertised by the magazine, for example, through the use of Ingram’s Milkweed Cream, which was purported to help the skin “to stay young” (Delineator, April 1929, 74) or Sal Hepatica, a laxative claimed indispensable in maintaining “internal cleanliness,” a crucial element of good health as reflected in a glowing complexion (Delineator, March 1929, 84). Moreover, she should be a good hostess and companion with the help of the many booklets the magazine offered (e.g., on beauty, decoration, entertainment, cookery, and etiquette). Finally, a middle-class wife, as portrayed in the Delineator pages, should also be a resourceful and practical house manager who knows how to perform chores effectively and how to decorate individual rooms in the house tastefully and according to the latest fashion, perhaps following Delineator’s articles on “living room for gracious living” 60 Contemporary critics of the book version praised Laura as a moving character. When commenting on the female characters, contemporary reviews of the book version of Hudson River Bracketed mostly commended Laura Lou’s “pathos,” connected with Wharton’s depiction of her pneumonia and subsequent moving death (Tuttleton 472). Percy Hutchison in The New York Times Book Review found “the story of little Laura Lou … deeply affecting and beautiful” (469); for V. S. Pritchett, writing in the English Spectator, she was a “frail child-wife” (474) in need of Vance’s support; and according to Herschel Brickell in Bookman, Laura Lou was “the only real person in the book” (472). 177 (Delineator, September 1928, 61) or advertisements for “drapes Orinoka” (71). Because Laura Lou has a weak physical constitution prone to fatigue and illness, she repeatedly fails to make a comfortable home for Vance. Vance complains that “[Laura] was as much of a luxury as an exotic bird or flower” (Delineator, April 1929, 74), implying her lack of practical housekeeping skills. When they move to Mrs. Hubbard’s apartment, he does more of the homemaking: while Vance “consolidated the divan, and bought a stove, a couple of lamps, some linen, a jute rug; he managed their simple marketing, and rigged up shelves and hooks; and the house being made more habitable, Laura Lou began the struggle to keep it going” (Delineator, November 1929, 102). However, Laura Lou is too weak to keep the house running, to cook proper meals, or to do the washing, so Vance, despite his meager salary, has to hire help. Read within the context of the magazine’s domestic ideology, Laura Lou fails not only as a wife but also as a mother when she is unable to give Vance a child. Delineator was especially focused on childrearing and contained many articles on child care. In addition to failing to take care of the household, Laura Lou is also not supportive of Vance’s work; she is jealous of his socializing with other writers (a part of his work) and his other commitments outside of home. Unlike Halo, she is unable to act as his companion in most public events because of her lack of social skills and general education. For example, during the “Tomorrowist Show,” she, unlike Vance, hates Rebecca Stram’s bust of his head and is embarrassingly open about it. She also mistakenly admires Bunty Hayes’s speech about Vance, in which he falsely presents himself as Vance’s first mentor, and then leaves the exhibition early because she feels unwell. Conversely, the magazine Halo’s character, especially in The Gods Arrive when she begins her relationship with Vance, generally fits well into the traditional domestic framework promoted by the magazine during the Depression. In addition to being an intellectual companion 178 to Vance, Halo masters “the art of loveliness,” which the magazine promoted through its booklets in January 1930 as being indispensable for the modern housekeeper’s happy life: Cultivate Beauty: Learn the art of loveliness this year. Be more beautiful yourself, add new and cheerful decoration to your home, share with us the secret of more tempting meals for your family, more unusual refreshments for your parties. Let us tell you how to be gay. These booklets will help you add to the art of gracious living. Send for them today. (Delineator, January 1930, 86) Halo knows how to keep herself beautiful, how to skillfully navigate various social occasions thanks to her upbringing, and how to make any place feel like home. Unlike Laura Lou or Floss Delaney, she is an efficient house manager. For instance, during their travels in Spain, she demonstrates an ability to “combine picturesqueness with economy” and transforms a bare apartment in Cordova into a full writer’s office at a decent price (Delineator, February 1932, 42). Despite the depth of her knowledge about world literature and culture, Halo is not an artist herself and cannot imagine greater happiness than “that of a woman permitted to serve the genius while she adored the man” (42). Halo used to exercise the same skills of listening and provision of wifely support with her husband, Lewis Tarrant, before Vance. However, contemporary critics who reviewed the book versions of the novels (and thus lacked the perspective of the magazine paratext) dismiss Halo’s embrace of the domesticity ideal.61 61 While the literary reviews of Hudson River Bracketed did not pay much attention to Halo, apart from her aristocratic background and her intellectual compatibility with Vance (Tuttleton 468), the reviewers of The Gods Arrive actively discussed her character and the nature of her relationship with Vance. Whereas critics celebrated the Halo of Hudson River Bracketed as more a New Woman character, they condemned her depiction as a submissive and selfless caregiver in The Gods Arrive, and disliked the novel’s sentimental happy ending in which Vance returns to Halo to live happily ever after at the “Willows” with their unborn child. Isabel Paterson reads Halo as “a drug addict” who “had got the habit of understanding unappreciated genius” (489), and dismisses her character as a “complete embodiment of 179 However, comparing the book and magazine versions shows that, instead of promoting the domesticity ideal and sentimental romance, as the reviewers insinuate, Wharton, in the book versions of Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive, puts pressure on the genre of the sentimental romance by calling attention to its conventions and, to an extent, revises them. For example, while the magazine version portrays the relationship of Halo with Lewis Tarrant in terms of true love (at least in Hudson River Bracketed), the book version challenges the romance genre by including passages that point to Lewis’s extramarital relationship with Jet Pulsifer and imply that Lewis is not helping Halo and her family financially out of love but is instead buying her cultural capital. The fact that Halo never loved Lewis and married him out of convenience because her family owed him a lot of money and because she did not immediately inherit the “Willows”, as she had expected at that time, becomes more pronounced in the book version. Further, in the book version of The Gods Arrive, through more detailed portrayal of Halo’s inner thoughts and their discrepancy with reality, symbolized by her literal short-sightedness, which is only rarely mentioned in the magazine version, Wharton seems more critical of an ideal, straightforward romance framework and more realistic about the chances of a happily-ever-after scenario, which requires significant work from both partners. The book version refers more self-consciously and directly to the sentimental tradition and exposes its constructedness. For the sentimental nineteenth century ideal of a woman as the inspiration of genius, mistress and schoolmistress in one” (490). Elmer Davis notes that Halo “devoted herself to the congenial task of ‘serving the genius while she adored the man’. Completely devoted, she made no effort to become anything in her own right” (494). Percy Hutchinson in The New York Times Book Review notes that she will “‘find herself’ through the medium of the child” (493). Louise M. Field, in The North American Review, says that “despite all present-day talk of freedom and the woman’s right to complete sexual liberty,” the “only solution … [Wharton] can offer is to make ‘an honest woman’ of Halo in true Eighteen Century fashion” (500). Most critics felt sorry for Halo as the heroine of The Gods Arrive, charged with dealing with Vance’s artistic egoism and vanity. In short, the higher-brow reviewers/readers expected Halo’s character to be less sentimental and domestic in the late 1920s. 180 instance, Halo realizes “the arbitrariness of time-measures in the sentimental world” (101) and experiences a series of epiphanies that broaden her vision of (sentimental) reality. Halo’s brother, Lorry, opens Halo’s eyes regarding her illusions about her extramarital relationship with Vance in which she is unhappy. He critiques Halo’s inability to live outside the present moment and foresee the impact of her actions on her future, a personality trait symbolized by her short-sightedness. Halo, similarly to Vance, matures as a character through epiphanies in the book version, which make her more self-aware and independent. For example, following her conversation with Lorry, she suddenly realizes: [E]verything she had done for the last year—from choosing her hats and dresses to replenishing the fire, getting the right lamp shades, the right menu for dinner, the right flowers for the brown jar on Vance’s table—everything had been done not for herself but for Vance. She had no longer cared to make her life comely for its own sake; she thought of it only in relation to her love for Vance. (Appleton, The Gods Arrive 102) This self-reflective epiphanic passage is not present in the magazine version, which mostly focuses on the actions of the two characters, instead of their thoughts and their personal development and growth of their relationship. Halo shows strength and maturation at the end of The Gods Arrive when she decides to live on her own with expected child (when his interest in her temporarily diminishes) and she insists on reacquiring her maiden name although Lewis Tarrant offers to take her back and to give the child his name to protect her from gossip and social degradation. Despite the sentimental happy ending that re-unites Vance with Halo by the end of The Gods Arrive, Wharton, to an extent, revised the romance as a woman’s bildung narrative, which stresses more female individuality and independence—Halo must first learn to 181 be a whole human being with enough self-love and self-esteem before she can be with Vance again, perhaps in a healthier and stronger relationship. Wharton uses perspectivism in the Appleton versions of these novels to complicate the traditional romance narrative by showing Halo’s and Vance’s different viewpoints regarding the expectations about their relationship and the resulting struggles to make it work. 4.3.4 Vance as a Successful (Middlebrow) Author Unlike Wharton’s earlier Scribner’s Magazine stories about artists’ compromises written for a higher-brow audience, such as “The Potboiler,” “The Descent of Man,” and “The Verdict,” which are preoccupied with the binary between highbrow art-for-art’s-sake authorship and lowbrow writing for profit, both Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive depict Vance as a critically acclaimed and a popular author simultaneously. While the book versions of the novels uphold, to some degree, the hierarchy between writing as a creative process and writing for money—they contain, for example, a more pronounced critique of middlebrow authorship and literary culture—by the end of The Gods Arrive, Wharton’s portrayal of Vance seems, even in the book version, more sympathetic and, to an extent, reflective of her own navigation of the changing post-war literary field in which an author could not survive outside of the publishing industry without compromising. Wharton’s portrayals of middlebrow literary culture in the magazine and book versions of Hudson River Bracketed show her awareness of their different target audiences. Most notably, her portrayals differ in their depiction of Bunty Hayes and his advertising and publishing agency, Storecraft. While the magazine version depicts Bunty as a caring and down-to-earth businessman, the book includes additional passages that critique the middlebrow culture he 182 represents, thus showing Wharton’s awareness of her different target audiences. In the magazine, Wharton portrays Bunty more positively than in the book version: as a rather compassionate person, willing to help Vance out when he has financial difficulties and is unable to support his ill wife Laura Lou (who had married Vance while technically engaged to Hayes). In fact, Hayes proves more practical and helpful than Vance in taking care of housekeeping matters, such as cooking and building a fire, for the dying Laura Lou. In contrast, in the book version of Hudson River Bracketed, Wharton strengthens Vance’s critique of Storecraft agency that “Supplies Taste and Saves Money” (Appleton, Hudson River Bracketed 238) through the addition of passages not present in the magazine version. For example, in the Appleton version, Storecraft promotes everything from fashion to literature and “handle[s]” promotion and lecture tours, such as that of Grandma Scrimser who exalts personal experience of God (Appleton 335). The agency, which plans to expand its publishing department, is similar to the middlebrow magazine that also catered to female middle-class consumers. For instance, Bunty’s idea to begin a “series of translations of the snappiest foreign fiction, in connection with our Foreign Fashions’ Department,” which would encourage Storecraft’s potential future women readers to consume the products depicted within their pages (Appleton 385), is reminiscent of the way in which magazines promoted fashion alongside fiction. However, Vance’s disgust over finding “his grandmother’s [Storecraft] advance circular” (Appleton 387) is present only in the book version of Hudson River Bracketed, as is Hayes’s dubious proclamation that “the literary people didn’t seem to realize yet that writing a good advertisement was just as much of an art as turning out Paradise Lost or Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and Vance’s realization that Storecraft asks for a “combination of Sinclair Lewis, Kathleen Norris, and Mrs. Eddy” (Appleton 388), typical for a middlebrow magazine, which would mix the high with the lower-brow. Moreover, in the book 183 version of Hudson River Bracketed, Vance scathingly critiques Grandma Scrimser’s lecture tour targeted at middlebrow audiences. He reflects that “it was all based on intellectual laziness that he abhorred. It was because she was content with a short-cut to popularity. […H]is grandmother had to have the homemade religiosity that she knew how to brew. ‘Another form of bootlegging’” (Appleton 377). All the passages that most directly critique and mock middlebrow literary culture are present only in the book version, and not in Delineator, which demonstrates Wharton’s knowledge of different print-cultural milieux, their audiences, and their varying degree of cultural capital in the literary field. Whereas the magazine version depicts Vance’s authorship as a straightforward success story, the book version portrays his artistic journey as more challenging by using the künstlerroman form. While the magazine version reads as Vance’s celebrity social-climbing narrative, the book version still, to an extent (especially in Hudson River Bracketed), privileges art over business, which encourages readers’ identification with Halo’s highbrow point of view, her rejection of literature as a product, and her view of Vance as a (Romantic) genius artist in the making. The book versions of both novels include additional passages that refer to Vance’s process of artistic development through his descent to the Mothers (referring to Goethe’s Faust), toward his creative imagination. These passages, not present in Delineator, describe his painful creative learning process of transcribing his poetic visions into words, which is difficult and not always successful. Furthermore, the book version is more critical of Vance’s popular success—it contains a higher-brow critique of Vance’s work when his two well-educated literary friends Tolby and Savignac dismiss his popular novel The Puritan in Spain as “pretty wall-paper” because of its resemblance to his first famous novel Instead, which they argue he has rewritten 184 “in a new setting” (Appleton, The Gods Arrive 85).62 Nevertheless, both the magazine and the book versions show that, by the end of The Gods Arrive, Vance’s authorship is inseparable from the literary market and the business of publishing. While Hudson River Bracketed, especially in the book form, is more critical of the commercial aspects of authorship, The Gods Arrive (in both the magazine and book versions) shows that Vance has come to terms with the business side of modern authorship and his midwestern background, which is associated with economic success and money making.63 Vance’s lecture back in his hometown, Euphoria, signifies the acceptance of his middlebrow roots. Needless to say, the magazine version depicts how Vance sees his Euphoria audience in a more positive way—while both versions stress his realization that his background is an integral part of his life and authorship, the book version, at times, distances him more from fellow villagers, whom he calls “his native protoplasm” (380) and who are, in fact, unable to fully understand the quoted passages from his highbrow philosophical novel, Colossus (Appleton, The Gods Arrive 378–380). Many critics read Vance’s midwestern background as a critique of consumerism; limited, utilitarian education; and the lack of history and tradition (Griffith; Glennon). However, in both the magazine and the book versions, by the end of The Gods Arrive, Wharton has portrayed Vance in terms of positive qualities originally connected with the West—courage, the pioneer spirit of self-reliance connected with a larger community, and the ability to adapt to changing surroundings. The shift in her portrayal of the West reflected perhaps, in 62 However, they equally condemn his imitative attempt at a modernist novel “Colossus,” which, on the contrary, no one really reads and comprehends because of its length and artificial complexity. 63 His family becomes rich thanks to the real estate boom in the area. 185 addition to her changing views about authorship and the literary field, the national trend during the Great Depression to depict the West positively, as a space of renewal and hope, implying Wharton’s awareness of the marketplace. As Edward Commentale explains, after the stock market crash, many writers sought a return to “natural order through the sound moral and fiscal values that seemed to define life in the inner recesses of the nation”; they perceived the Midwest and its middle class as sources of “untapped potential,” “a formless promise out of which national greatness might be restored” (244). In The Gods Arrive, aspiring author Chris Churley discusses discuss the literary significance of the middle class with Vance: I’m in rather a difficulty about you American novelists. Your opportunity’s so immense and […]well, you always seem to write either about princesses in Tuscan villas, or about gaunt young men with a ten-word vocabulary who spend their lives sweating and hauling wood […] I believe the novelist’s richest stuff is in the middle class, because it lies where its name says, exactly in the middle, and reaches out so excitingly in both directions. But I suppose you haven’t a middle class in America […] [Vance:] I rather think we’ve a middle class. But no one wants to admit belonging to it, because we all do. (Delineator, May 1932, 89) This passage, present in both the Delineator and Appleton versions of The Gods Arrive, shows Wharton’s knowledge of the changing postwar literary marketplace in which the middle-class readers and writers have increasingly gained power. By the time she writes The Gods Arrive, Wharton depicts the middlebrow writer as the ideal, able to adapt and thus survive in the changing literary field. Both artistic integrity and business sense are necessary prerequisites for Vance’s success, as they were for Wharton’s. 186 Wharton’s critical portrayal (in both the magazine and the book versions) of the failure of Halo’s family’s to cope with modern conditions is reflective of her changing views of money, business, and one’s survival in the marketplace. Halo acts as Vance’s literary advisor in Hudson River Bracketed and guides him through the realm of the newly discovered high culture, which was traditionally disconnected from money-making and business. However, Wharton depicts Halo’s upper-class family, the Spears, critically in terms of their lack of fitness, showing the decline of the genteel class that had once been in power. Halo’s impoverished aristocratic family’s struggle to survive economically in the 1920s post-war world signals their inability to adapt to the new economic order. Unlike the lower-middle-class Westons, who become progressively richer through Mr. Weston’s investments in Euphoria real estate, the Spears struggle even to maintain their family mansion, “Eaglewood”: There were times when to [Halo] Eaglewood was as much of a prison as to the elders. […] The house depressed her, in spite of its portraits and relics, and the faded perfume of old days, because it was associated with the perpetual struggle to keep the roof dry, the ceilings patched, the furnace going, the curtains and carpets turned and darned, the taxes paid. (Appleton 63) The devolving financial fitness of the Spears family is further symbolized by their “man-of-all-work” servant Jacob, who performs the roles of “chauffeur when he was not gardener and dairyman” (Appleton 65), positions that in the past would have been held by different personnel. Whereas before “the Revolution […the family] owned pretty near the whole place [Paul’s Landing]” (Appleton 44), now they only possess “Eaglewood” while a distant relative owns the “Willows”. I would argue that Wharton’s rather negative portrayal of the upper class in terms of their failure to evolve and adapt to the changing world, as opposed to her rather positive 187 portrayal of Vance’s development as an author who finally learns, as does Wharton, how to survive in the modern literary field implies Wharton’s changing disposition and deconstruction of the art and business binary opposition as regards modern authorship. In Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive (in both the magazine and the book versions), through the character of Vance Weston, Wharton challenges the Romantic ideal of authorship and its celebration of art-for-art’s-sake writing, which would not allow Vance to survive in the post-war literary arena. Although the book versions elaborate on Vance’s exploration of his imaginative creative process, they are also preoccupied with money and its importance for viable authorship and life in general. At the beginning of his writing career, Vance is constantly worried about how to make ends meet—his marriage with the sickly Laura Lou, for whom he is unable to provide a stable home because of financial constraints, ends with her death. Even though he becomes a popular writer in Hudson River Bracketed, he does not become commercially successful until the period Wharton describes in The Gods Arrive because of his exploitative contract with the “New Hour” and with the publishing company affiliated with the magazine. It is noteworthy that Wharton included the exact amounts Vance earns and spends. For example, we know that the “New Hour” pays him $1,500 per year, while, a famous midwestern novelist notes that he could earn $500 ($1,000 in the magazine version) per story, which would allow him a more adequate salary. Wharton also specifies that the Pulsifer Prize is worth $2,000.64 64 Vance’s preoccupation with money reflected the preoccupations of the readers of Delineator. Even before the Crash that began the Great Depression, articles focused not only on what to cook for the family, but also on how to save money on food and other household items. The Home Institute advised readers to buy good-quality (read as brand-name) goods because they would last longer, and to cook meals from scratch, a recommendation that clashed with advertisements for canned produce and other processed food items, such as Campbell’s soup and Heinz spaghetti. 188 While Wharton critiques the emptiness of the personality of an author without substance (i.e., without the necessary life experience and merely following the latest literary fads), especially in The Gods Arrive, she shows that in the new mass marketplace, to be critically acclaimed and successful, Vance needs to be faithful to his integrity and inspiration that come from within (the Romantic ideal), but he also must accept the celebrity/personality side of his authorship created by reviewers, interviewers, and photographers. In other words, authorship in the postwar era is inseparable from the workings of the literary marketplace. At first, Vance hates when Hayes invents a fake story for publicity purposes for the “Tomorrowist” show about how he advised him as a still young novelist in their hometown to study life instead of books in the library (Appleton, Hudson River Bracketed 308) and, as Goldsmith notes, he fails to play the Pulsifer Prize game that would bring him more publicity (“Of Publicity, Prizes, and Prestige” 240). Although Wharton critiques the commodification of an author’s image in Hudson River Bracketed through the sculpture of Vance’s head, it is important to also note that it is Laura Lou and Mrs. Pulsifer who critique the bust, not Vance. In The Gods Arrive, Vance’s interview during his visit to London for the “Amplifier,” a higher-brow literary venue, significantly boosts the awareness of the literary and social circles about his presence in the city, a prerequisite to higher sales of his novels there (Appleton, The Gods Arrive 270). Finally, when a reporter for “the literary page of the Des Moines ‘Daily Ubiquity’”, Margot Crash, creates her own version of Vance as an author who learned to write by taking college literature courses and reading children’s stories, he is more willing to accept it because the article will help to promote his literary celebrity (Appleton 271). Unsurprisingly, the section critiquing contemporary college education is not present in the Delineator version, which, on the contrary, celebrated it. 189 4.4 Wharton’s Business of Authorship and the “Willows” Although Wharton’s class and gender background reflects that of Halo, her experience as an author trying to determine ways to navigate the changing literary marketplace and learning about the importance of publicity and self-advertising, in many ways, reflects Vance’s künstlerroman. In the 1920s and 1930s, Wharton was, on the one hand, guarded about her privacy, as her professional correspondence to Jewett shows: she refused to give public lectures because “she never speaks in public” (Beinecke); to write blurbs for other authors (reminiscent of Vance’s unwillingness to write a review in Hudson River Bracketed to boost his own book’s sales); or to send signatures to her fans. However, on the other hand, she always pushed for vigorous promotion of her work and elaborately and repeatedly complained about the failure of Appleton to advertise her work properly in Great Britain (Lee 690). For example, in June 1924, the Appleton office in London in response to her complaints about inadequate advertising of Old New York (1924), provided her with a five-page overview of the various venues where the novella was advertised in the United Kingdom (Beinecke). Jewett continuously encouraged Wharton to stay visible in the market and explained the different forms of publicity she could engage in to promote her brand and thus boost her sales. In 1931, he prompted her to give an interview, for instance, to the Chicago Tribune’s Fanny Butcher, who “can be an influential friend in certain sections of the literary world” and whose “articles and opinions have weight with the booksellers all over the country” (Beinecke). With regard to this planned interview (which finally did not happen), Wharton still felt that Jewett was “asking a great sacrifice of [her]” because she “always thought that authors should abstain from every form of self advertising, and rely upon the quality of their books for such success as they may attain” (Beinecke). Apparently, later Wharton had no problems with being interviewed, for example, for 190 Delineator in 1932. In another letter written in 1931, Jewett asked Wharton to provide “a new and unpublished photograph of [her]” and “a few words on the subject of gardens” for “Better Homes and Gardens, which “has an enormous circulation” and would be “a form of legitimate publicity” (Beinecke). He was enthusiastic about the selection of The Children by the Book-of-the-Month Club in 1928 because, as he explained to Wharton, the “special Club edition acts as a [market] stimulant,” “the advertising value [of which is] great” (Beinecke). Finally, Jewett also explicated that any republication of her work, for example, in anthologies or in cheaper editions such as the Tauchnitz reprints, was an important form of advertising. Under Jewett’s guidance, Wharton gradually recognized the importance of her public image and, for example, was preoccupied with any mistakes in the account of her career she provided for both the English and the American versions of Who is Who several times during the 1920s and 1930s (Beinecke). Interestingly, she mentions this publication in connection with Lewis Tarrant’s aspiration to become an author. A good businessman though not a good writer, Tarrant is well aware of the importance of self-advertising for viable authorship in the competitive literary marketplace, as Wharton was. Jewett played a crucial role in the promotion of Wharton’s authorship. In addition to nominating The Age of Innocence for which Wharton won the Pulitzer Prize in 1921, Jewett, understanding its publicity value, nominated both Twilight Sleep and Hudson River Bracketed for the Prize, although neither won. Similarly, the Pulsifer Prize would be valuable as a form of promotion for Vance and would translate into higher sales of his novel, Instead. Jewett organized promotional campaigns of Wharton’s US novels and short story collections in the 1920s and 1930s (e.g., The Glimpses of the Moon, Twilight Sleep, and Here and Beyond). Although Wharton satirically portrays how the New Hour magazine was going to “direct public 191 opinion” about Vance’s importance as a novelist who should win the Pulsifer Prize (Hudson River Bracketed 190), Jewett employed a similar method when trying to direct the course of critique by reviewers in the case of The Glimpses of the Moon (1922). He sent the book first to the reviewers who “would understand something of what [Wharton] had in mind in writing the story” and thus write “friendly and favorable” reviews, which “should produce good reviews in other papers and literary journals”, for, as he continues, “[c]ritics, like clerks in the book shop, are like sheep and follow more or less as led” (Beinecke). Jewett concludes his letter by explaining to Wharton that “[p]ublicity is a weird game. Many a fine book has been strangled at birth because some critic writing for an important publication, has been prejudiced against theme or the style, or perhaps because his breakfast coffee disagreed with him” (Beinecke). In Hudson River Bracketed, Frenside points out to Vance that the reason why his first novel Instead did not reach its high selling potential was that the publishing company was too small to be able to afford effective advertising (289). Like Vance in The Gods Arrive, Wharton also received reviews of her work from clipping agencies such as Argus Press Clipping Bureau and from her publishers, which she carefully studied, sometimes underlined, and kept glued on sheets of white paper resembling scrapbook pages thus demonstrating her awareness of the importance of publicity for her literary reputation and business. Similar to Vance in The Gods Arrive, Wharton had to learn to participate in the promotion of her literary brand following Jewett’s guidance. In addition to their acceptance of self-promotion as an integral part of their authorship, both Vance and Wharton had to learn how to navigate the changing literary field writing in different genres through trial and error. Jewett played a crucial role in advising Wharton about the changing trends in literary genres and topics, which he often perceived and understood before Wharton. Wharton’s problems with publishing her war novel, A Son at the Front (1923) 192 after the First World War, for example, mirror Vance’s troubles with publishing his war short story “Unclaimed” in Hudson River Bracketed in the 1920s. As Wharton’s correspondence with Jewett shows, Jewett was unable to place A Son at the Front in any periodical for three years after 1919 because of the change of taste in the post-war literary marketplace and the prejudice of the magazine editors and the reading public against “the Trench novel” (Beinecke). Although Wharton attempted to persuade Jewett that A Son at the Front was not a war novel but a “study of the psychology of Americans and French in Paris during the last few years,” similar to “The House of Mirth” in nature, and that she was even contemplating renaming it “Their Son” to downplay the war connotations, Jewett knew that “[i]f he were to publish a detective story or a melodrama, reeking with murder, in which the hero happened to be a soldier,” the magazine editor would still dismiss it as a war story (Beinecke). In the end, A Son at the Front was not published until it was serialized in 1922 by Scribner’s Magazine, and the subsequent book sales were rather small. Similarly, Vance’s second publication after his autobiographical short story (“One Day,” which deals with his suicidal despair over his adolescent break up with Floss Delaney) is also a war story called “Unclaimed.” The story deals with “the sending home of the bodies of American soldiers fallen in France,” which proves “a terribly expensive business—to bring home and bury a dead hero” (Hudson River Bracketed 171). Vance’s experience with the literary market in the novel recalls Wharton’s struggles to place A Son at the Front in the 1920s. The businesslike owner of the New Hour, Lewis Tarrant, at first refuses to publish “Unclaimed” because, according to him, “war stories are a[n unwanted] drug in the market” and they “can’t afford to disregard entirely what the public wants” (173). Moreover, the story is “rather lacking in relief” and Lewis fears that it might not sell well in the literary field where “Home and Mother is feeding its readers with a novel called Jerks and Jazzes” (173). In Hudson River 193 Bracketed, “Unclaimed” is finally published only because of Halo’s intervention, and it proves fairly successful despite striking “a new note” (207). The short story’s success in the novel implies the positive reception Wharton would have wished for her novel, A Son at the Front, which never materialized. Through her struggle to publish A Son at the Front, Wharton learned about the importance of employing particular genres and themes to succeed in the 1920s literary market. After the war, both popular middlebrow magazines and book publishers like Appleton were interested in publishing more novels of “The House of Mirth type” (Beinecke). It is no coincidence that Wharton’s most commercially successful novels of the period were written as “stud[ies] of modern social conditions” (Beinecke), revealing her attunement to the literary marketplace, which contradicts the image of her lifelong highbrow Romantic authorship disconnected from the field of cultural production, which she promoted in her later essays. For example, Wharton’s Pictorial Review serials in the 1920s were all topical novels of manners—The Glimpses of the Moon was a type of a “novel of to-day,” which Jewett in his letters encouraged Wharton to write more of, and The Children was “another novel of modern life” that “included an up-to date situation” that will “interest the general public” (Beinecke). After the success of Instead in Hudson River Bracketed, Vance writes another bestseller, The Puritan in Spain, also a historical romance, a popular genre in the market. Wharton, similarly, planned to write a historical romance in this period (i.e., The Keys of Heaven), but did not finish it and rather focused on her “social studies,” which were in more demand (Beinecke). The final philosophical novel Vance writes, Colossus, is not popular and sells only because of the author’s literary reputation and his previous literary successes. While in the earlier draft of what became Vance’s story, Literature, Wharton depicts protagonist Dick Thaxter’s highbrow novel, which 194 he writes before his death, as a masterpiece for posterity that is not meant to become popular, she describes Vance’s philosophical Colossus as an imitative (anti-modernist) failure that no one understands. Wharton’s depiction of the novel as unsuccessful because no one wants to read it implies her awareness of the importance of readership for viable authorship in the 1920s and 1930s. In addition to deploying the bildung and romance genres in Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive, Wharton employs the mystery/detective genre (as in her Pictorial Review stories), which was very popular with middlebrow readers of serialized fiction. For example, Wharton renders the theft of the rare first editions from the “Willows” as a mystery with Vance as the main suspect. In addition, Laura Lou’s sudden temporary disappearance with her mother to California is depicted as a mystery. It is noteworthy that Jewett praised individual chapters of the serialized The Gods Arrive for their “lure and suspense,” and he was “eager to know what is in store on each successive stage” (Beinecke). The serialization mode itself is connected not only with the bildung form—the development of character over time (Hughes and Lund 1)—but also with the detective genre, which keeps the readers in anticipation of the continuation of the narrative. Needless to say, Delineator readers (like Pictorial Review readers) loved and asked for detective stories, and the magazine published many, for example, Footprints by Kay Cleaver Strahan and H. C. Bailey’s “Mr. Fortune” mystery stories, both of which were serialized along with Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive. Wharton’s employment of the detective genre and her novels of modern life demonstrate her ability to adapt and cater to the post-war literary market. While Wharton’s 1920s novels of manners were popular with both magazine and book readers, she also had to learn about the limits of reflecting contemporary manners too frankly, 195 especially when publishing for the periodical market, which was more directly dependent on the readers’ tastes than was the book market. Jessica Levine argues that Wharton probably adjusted her work to the moral standards of different magazines and, to avoid potential censorship issues, “worked self-consciously on the boundaries of decency, which she sometimes questioned but usually respected” (4). After struggling to find a magazine willing to serialize “The Old Maid” (Redbook, February–April 1922) and “New Year’s Day” (Redbook, July 1923) because of the character’s illegitimate child, for example, Wharton did not include such controversial topics in the Old New York sequels, “False Dawn” (Ladies’ Home Journal, November 1923) and “The Spark” (Ladies’ Home Journal, May 1924) (11). With The Gods Arrive, Vance and Halo’s extramarital relationship (and Wharton’s contract with the magazine for her next novel) forced her to go back to Delineator for serialization; as Oscar Graeve explained to Wharton, “[t]he situation, that of a man and a woman unmarried and living together, is a little startling for a magazine publication but fortunately, Delineator is the most liberal-minded of the women’s magazines” (Beinecke). However, even for the book market, Jewett warned Wharton to be careful in her selection of topics to avoid potential censorship issues and thus unwanted negative publicity and weaker sales. The late 1920s were characterized by the literary market’s increasing demand for positive stories that sold well because they did not reflect the beginning of the Depression period. With her Delineator readership in mind, Wharton did not include in the magazine version of the novels any passages depicting Vance’s suicide attempt; Grandpa Scrimser’s post-mortem photograph is also mentioned only in the book version. I would argue that Wharton included a happy sentimental ending in The Gods Arrive to cater to Delineator readers and to the market’s demand for positive resolutions. Already in 1922, Jewett praised the “whimsical” 196 happy ending of The Glimpses of the Moon, which was “of especial value in serial form” (Beinecke). Whereas in her Literature draft, and even in Wharton’s short summary of Hudson River Bracketed and its sequel in her notebook at the Beinecke, Vance dies of tuberculosis or a heart attack after finishing his masterpiece and leaves his lover alone with their newborn son, at the end of The Gods Arrive (in the final version written after Wharton has adapted to the literary marketplace), Vance survives and matures so that he can function as a partner to Halo and a father to his child. The ending implies that he will live with Halo at the “Willows”, which she has just inherited and begun to renovate. Finally, although Wharton and Vance were of different class backgrounds, they were both self-taught writers who, however, were also surrounded by intelligent and educated people ready to advise them on their writing. While, for example, just as Walter Berry, Henry James, and Bernard Berenson served as Wharton’s literary and art mentors, Halo and Frenside fulfill this role for Vance. Halo functions as Vance’s guide to highbrow literature and Frenside, like Rutger B. Jewett guiding Wharton, guides Vance through the publishing world, suggesting that “it’s one of the surest signs of genius to do your best when you’re working for money” (Hudson River Bracketed 60), implying Wharton’s changing disposition about the business of writing. Wharton received her education partially through her voracious reading of books in her father’s library, just as Vance learns about real literature at the “Willows”, and they both utilized self-help guides, such as Knight’s Half-Hours with the Best Authors (1890). Both writers learned how to navigate the literary field through their magazine and book publications of fiction, but they also privately wrote poetry. Wharton also drew her knowledge about the literary marketplace (as reflected in the novels and her career) and authorship from publications such as the British The Writer (a copy of which is among her papers at the Beinecke), which contained 197 articles, such as “Short Stories That Editors Don’t Want”, explaining that the story that sells the best is a “jolly story about pleasant people.” Another column from The Writer—“Is Novel-Writing a Waste of Time?”—juxtaposed two contradictory opinions on the question, one of which is reminiscent of Frenside’s advice to Vance about writing a short story first before attempting to write a novel. The fact that Wharton was in possession of, and influenced by, a journal about writing, which openly treats authorship as a profession inseparably connected with the realm of publishing, shows that she was more in touch with the literary marketplace and its demands than she was willing to admit by the 1920s and early 1930s. Both Vance and Wharton were, in turn, willing to serve as literary advisers for other literary scholars and writers—Vance for Chris Churley in The Gods Arrive, and Wharton for her lover Morton Fullerton and for Leon Edel. For instance, after reading his manuscript, Wharton advised Fullerton on how to rewrite to make it more popular so that people would buy it: ‘[A]dopt a franker idiom!’ […] you’ve read too much French & too much Times. I can’t too strongly urge you to drop both tongues for a few weeks, & and go back to English—to what Arnold called ‘prose of the centre.’ […] Drop 30 per cent of your Latinisms […], mow down every old cliché, uproot all the dragging circumlocutions, compress, diversify, clarify, vivify & you’ll make a book that will be read & talked of not only by the experts but by the big ‘intelligent public’ you want to reach.” (Lewis, Letters 281) In other words, she advised him to make his prose less highbrow to be able to address a wider audience. Vance’s künstlerroman, especially when read in the light of the archive, reflects Wharton’s biographical development more than critics have previously acknowledged. 198 In Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive, the “Willows” is associated with both Vance’s and Wharton’s authorship. The “Willows” belongs to Halo’s upper-class family and, for Vance, symbolizes the timeless literary tradition and Romantic authorship. Its central feature is a family library that contains works of highbrow literature and first editions of the classics that the family has accumulated over the course of several generations. The present owner leaves things exactly as they were when Elinor Lorburn died, symbolizing the permanence and rigidity of high culture. For Vance, the house and Elinor stand for the past and the highbrow genteel culture to which he lacked access in Euphoria. Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan,” the last poem Elinor reads, represents the world of the big-C culture that Vance initially strives to enter. It is no coincidence that Vance bases his popular and critically acclaimed novel, Instead, on Elinor’s missed chances in life, at the “Willows”; Elinor always wanted to have a child but remained childless and alone. The fact that no one lives in the house suggests its inadequacy for, and disconnection from, modern times. It is significant that at the end of The Gods Arrive, however, Halo decides to renovate this house and to live in it with her and Vance’s unborn child, perhaps suggesting the need to update the ideal of highbrow art-for-art’s-sake authorship (and the already fading notion of literary prestige), which is no longer viable in the new interwar literary field. In addition to signifying the changing literary tradition and a new beginning for Vance and Halo, the renovation of “Willows” can be also read as a symbol of Wharton’s reimagining of authorship later in her career. Wharton had a lifelong interest in architecture and, in many of 199 her novels, interiors reflect characters’ psyches and also perhaps her own (Benert)65. The Hudson River Bracketed style in which the “Willows” is built is itself a hybrid—a combination of Tuscan and Chinese styles that can be read as representative of Wharton’s authorial strategy of plasticity. In particular, it reminds us of her employment of genre hybridity, genre renovation, and revisions, which she used in many of her postwar novels and short stories. The renovation and repurposing of the house reflect Wharton’s own navigation of the changing literary field, the adaptation of her authorship to different audiences to survive in the progressive-publishing literary arena. Writers striving to be successful in this competitive interwar publishing field had to be able to cater to different audiences, via the employment of specific styles and “publishing formats” and some authors even used different authorial personas to navigate the changing literary arena (Becnel 3).66 A comparison of the reading “planes” of magazines and books and their textual revisions shows the way Wharton’s authorial strategy of plasticity—which included genre hybridity/renovation, employment of different narrative viewpoints, consideration of the paratextual context, and book revisions—allowed her to become a strategic polybrow author. Wharton knew how to play the interwar literary field, as her publications for different venues targeted at different audiences show, to maximize her financial profit while upholding her highbrow reputation. 65 On the topic of architecture in Wharton’s work, see, for example, Benert’s The Architectural Imagination of Edith Wharton: Gender, Class, and Power in the Progressive Era (2006). 66 This focus on audience was traditionally stronger in magazine publications than in books, which were still more focused on the production than the consumption aspects of authorship (6). The Cheney Report, officially Economic Survey of the Book Industry 1930-1931, urged publishers to pay more attention to readers than to authors, which was true especially of the more traditional publishers, such as Scribner’s. 200 Charlie Tarlton, a wealthy patron in The Gods Arrive, rightly asks “What exactly does reading a book consist in?” […] “Reading the original manuscript […] or the typescript copy, or the proofs, or the published book?” (279). His question shows Wharton’s own awareness of a literary work as a process, which includes multiple revisions, rather than a single and unchangeable narrative written without any thought for the intended audience.67 In addition to the textual changes, on the paratextual level, the book versions included epigraphs chosen by Wharton, which, especially in the case of Hudson River Bracketed, reinforce a higher-brow reading of the novel by referring to the Romantic ideal of authorship: The epigraph for Hudson River Bracketed—“All things make me glad, and sorry, too” from a Victorian novel by Sara E. Sheppard in Wharton’s library—alludes “to the romantic idea that natural emotion is the source of individual artistic genius” (Killoran, Art and Allusion 163) and the epigraph for The Gods Arrive includes a quotation from William Wordsworth’s: “The gods approve/The depth and not the tumult of the soul,” stressing the traditional (highbrow) bildung aspects of Vance’s journey. Contemporary literary critics commenting on the book versions of Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive described Wharton as “the Court painter of the old order” (Killoran, Critical Reception 474) and “belonging to an older school of novelists” (476). In 1925, scholar and editor Robert Morss Lovett wrote the first book-length study on Wharton and his “insistence that she was a relic who did not understand evolution or the problems of the 67 As Laura Rattray explains, during the composition process of the manuscript, Wharton heavily used the cut and paste method before she gave the work to her typist and “the typescript(s) in turn would be subject to further revisions” (The Unpublished Writings, vol.2, xvii). Many unpublished novels exist in several drafts. Rattray notes that Wharton’s “creative processes and working practices” show her willingness to experiment with (for her) unexplored genres, such as drama, and demonstrate “her intense commercial drive” (xvi). However, Rattray does not pay attention to her magazine and book revisions and the middlebrow genres Wharton experimented with in the 1920s and 1930s. 201 masses” according to Killoran, “destroyed any sense of her relevance to modern life” (Killoran, Critical Reception 4). In short, according to Lovett, she belonged to the “Victorian age” (5)—she was a ‘fossil’ who failed to develop with the changing world and the interwar literary field. However, studying the themes and different versions of Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive proves that Wharton skillfully adapted her authorship to the stratified interwar literary arena. In this view, we can read G. K. Chesterton’s stanza from GreyBeard at Play, which Wharton considered her “favorite philosophical axiom”—“The old world glows with colors clear, / And if, as saith the Saint, / This world is but a painted show, / O let us lick the paint!”—as an expression of her predicament and strategy in the American field of cultural production (qtd. in Lee 671). Until the late 1920s, she was extremely well-paid for her serials in mass periodicals, but she simultaneously strived to uphold her highbrow literary reputation (in decline by that time) and her cultural capital in the field, which was a prerequisite of monetary capital in her case, and published many literary essays and works of nonfiction, such as The Writing of Fiction (1925) and A Backward Glance (1934), promoting the highbrow prewar literary and cultural ideal that defined itself in terms of its differences from mass culture and consumerism. 202 Chapter 5: Epilogue/Conclusion Throughout the 1920s, Edith Wharton was a commercially successful writer of novels and short stories that reflected contemporary society (albeit not too honestly to sell well). However, in the early 1930s, her authorship gradually became out of sync with the American literary field, which was increasingly becoming affected by the Great Depression. The Depression market requested stories of “Sweetness and Light” to “cheer up [the] exhausted public,” as Woman’s Home Companion editor Gertrude Battles Lane wrote to Rutger B. Jewett in 1932 after not publishing Wharton’s short story “The Day of the Funeral,” despite having already purchased it (Beinecke). Similarly, The Ladies’ Home Journal considered the story “a little too strong for a popular magazine audience” (Beinecke). The Depression affected the publishing trade—magazine advertising decreased and, as Jewett explained to Wharton, editors were forced to “reduce their pages” and “as a result [were] buying fewer articles and stories, hoping that the situation would ameliorate soon (Beinecke). In the 1930s, Wharton struggled financially. Because Wharton’s “royalties plummeted from $95,000 in 1929 to $5,000 in 1930” (Lee 685), she was more willing to cater to the popular audience. For example, in 1931, Wharton begrudgingly altered the ending of her ghost story “Pomegranate Seed” for Ladies’ Home Journal to make it more straightforward (Balestra). Additionally, she revised “The Day of the Funeral” for Woman’s Home Companion after it was refused by other magazine editors because its suicide theme closely mirrored the Depression reality (Singley, “Wharton and the Great Depression” 316) and “did not promise to be popular with their subscribers” (Beinecke). Most magazine editors rejected “Joy in the House” because they were “looking for cheerful stories”; they considered the story “too ugly” and worried that it “would offend and shock readers because of [the…suicide] theme” (Beinecke). After six rejections, Jewett admitted that 203 “[s]omething was wrong with ‘Joy in the House’ for magazine serialization” and recommended Wharton save it for the next volume of short stories (Beinecke). Wharton contemplated hiring a literary agent in the late 1920s and early 1930s but was dissuaded by Jewett. Despite Appleton’s possession of less cultural capital in the literary arena than Charles Scribner before the First World War, their dealings with authors remained centered on long-term personal relationships. They comprehended the importance of maintaining balance between cultural and economic capital for themselves and that for their writers. Jewett perceived that literary agents were akin to salespeople (he often compared them to real estate agents [Beinecke]). In his view, literary agents were predominantly interested in economic capital and selling an author’s work at any cost—envisaging their commission instead of managing their clients’ career in a holistic way. In a letter from November 1930, Jewett expressed displeasure that Wharton had mailed a short story for potential sale to British literary agent Curtis Brown. Regarding Wharton’s early wish to avoid publication in the lowbrow Hearst periodicals, Jewett advised her to enquire with Brown about potential magazine venues because the Hearst periodicals “appear under innocent names” (Beinecke). He concluded the letter by saying that he would not “trust any literary agent to give [her] exact fact when there is a commission in sight” (Beinecke), demonstrating his view that literary agents were ruthless profiteers. Wharton’s life-long affiliation with Rutger B. Jewett, who worked for a publishing house, shows her preoccupation with the literary prestige and cultural capital associated with the book. When Jewett died in 1935, Wharton, aware of her increasing difficulty meet the literary field’s changing demands, began working with literary agent Eric S. Pinker. Wharton’s popularity and sales declined, her health was failing, and she was “asked now for introductions and forewords to reissues of her work” (Lee 731). Therefore, she desired a literary agent who 204 knew how to navigate the new terrain. In 1937, several magazines refused to publish her new ghost story, “Weekend” (the title was later changed into “All Souls”), despite her rewriting the ending to make it more “conclusive” (Beinecke). Wharton complained that the “demands [of the magazines] change[d] so incessantly that she [felt] it [was] almost hopeless to meet them” (Beinecke). She was perplexed that Pinker could not “place [Buccaneers for serialization] until it [was] finished,” something that never happened to her before (Beinecke). This shows the greater precariousness of the publishing trade in the 1930s and Wharton’s fading popularity (Beinecke). Pinker persuaded Wharton to publish her work in the Hearst periodicals, including Cosmopolitan, which she had avoided for more than a decade. Pinker knew more than Jewett regarding how Hearst functioned and was able to secure the best deal; in 1935, he negotiated $7000 for the publication of two stories—“Confession” and “The Looking Glass”—with a 10% commission. His agency, Eric S. Pinker and Adrienne Morrison Incorporated, presented itself as “Literary, Dramatic, Radio, and Motion Picture Representatives,” implying their vast range of services and ability to handle different facets of the modern field of cultural production, including film and theater adaptations and translations of Wharton’s work (Beinecke). In 1937, the industry began to recover from the Depression; however, Wharton became weak and was not able to keep up her pace. She died on August 11, 1937, and never finished her last novel, Buccaneers. American obituaries focused on “her role as a[n upper-class] social historian” and “social realist” who, in the era of literary modernism, became “a literary anachronism” (De Roche, “Obituaries” 83). This dissertation contrasts this view and has portrayed Wharton as a modern author who was business-savvy and adapted to the changing American literary field at the beginning of the twentieth century. 205 To conclude, this dissertation has studied Wharton’s authorship (her trajectory) as a series of positions in the literary arena, which were characterized by her affiliation with various periodicals and demonstrated her progressive adaptation to the modern literary marketplace. Simultaneously, the project traced Wharton’s changing disposition regarding authorial compromise—selling one’s work for money—through her depiction of artist figures and her letters with literary advisors and mentors (i.e., Charles Scribner, Edward L. Burlingame, Rutger B. Jewett, and Eric S. Pinker). This dissertation portrays Wharton as an audience-driven author who skillfully adapted her work: first, in the pre-war period to highbrow audience of Scribner’s Magazine (similar to her book readers) and next, in the 1920s, to the middlebrow audiences of women’s periodicals and, after revisions, to highbrow book readers. By employing the authorial strategy of plasticity, Wharton became a strategically polybrow author who balanced both economic and cultural capital in the post-war literary field. Wharton’s Scribner’s stage (1904-1913) reflected her genteel upbringing and was characterized by her working through the real art vs. business binary, through the purist and profiteer ideals. In the post-war period, when Wharton wrote her ghost/detective stories for Pictorial Review and serialized Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrived in Delineator, she successfully navigated the literary field and portrayed art/writing as inseparable from business. Despite Wharton’s authorship becoming out of sync with the Depression and post-Depression literary field, she continued to be willing to adapt until her death. This project used the print-cultural methodology (especially Pierre Bourdieu’s notions of the literary field and habitus) to study Wharton’s authorship, which allowed for the examination of her changing trajectory throughout her career. It considered how her authorship was influenced not only by the socio-economic sphere but also by her various positions in the literary 206 field, which was transformed by the mass magazine revolution and introduction of corporate style publishing in the 1890s. This dissertation added another dimension to previous feminist studies of Wharton’s authorship, which predominantly examined Wharton’s career through the prism of gender (focusing on her biography) and often employed the progressive narrative to describe her career—her evolution from a lady-novelist of manners into a professional realist author. Simultaneously, it intervened into the critical conversation about Wharton and periodicals by focusing on Wharton’s engagement with various periodicals throughout her career. This project examined the broader print-cultural background of Wharton’s authorship—including her (temporary) authorial intention—through examining her letters with publishers and literary agents and comparing manuscript, magazine, and revised book/volume versions of her fiction. This dissertation depicts Wharton as a successful businesswoman who navigated the literary marketplace, which contrasts with her image of a highbrow realist author disinterested in commercial success (promoted in her essays to maintain cultural capital in the male-dominated field). Finally, the project refutes the views of many contemporaneous critics who described Wharton as an old-fashioned aristocratic writer of Old New York, who was disconnected from the modern world. This study has focused on Wharton’s authorship within the context of her periodical publications. Consequently, the scope of this study is limited and represents only a facet of Wharton’s involvement with the field of cultural production. More studies are required to research Wharton’s complex engagement with the changing literary arena over her 60-year career. Specifically, future studies might examine her engagement with other highbrow periodicals at the beginning of her career, such as the Atlantic Monthly; other women’s periodicals in the 1920s, such as the Red Book Magazine (which published her short story 207 “Velvet Ear-Pads”); and later publications in Hearst’s International-Cosmopolitan magazine. A comprehensive study of Wharton’s relationship with Scribners, including revisions of her Scribner’s Magazine serials and their correspondence (preserved in the Princeton archive), would elucidate this formative stage of her career. Other letters to magazine editors, literary agents, and friends, which are stored at the Beinecke and other archives, would be essential for scholars to comprehend Wharton’s changing positions and dispositions in the field. In addition to Wharton’s involvement with the American field of cultural production, more studies are needed that examine her participation in other literary fields; for example, the British literary field, including, colonial editions of her work in India and Australia; the French literary field, as France was Wharton’s primary place of residence after the war; and the German literary field, which produced cheap Tauchnitz editions and later distributed the European Continental Albatross editions of her work from Hamburg. Studies of Wharton’s translations—in France, Czechoslovakia, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany—and her film and theatre adaptations would also assist in understanding her modern complex transatlantic authorship. 208 Bibliography Primary Sources: Yale Collection of American Literature. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. All the letters mentioned in this essay are from YCAL MSS 42 and are quoted in the text in the following format: (Beinecke). 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Touchstone, 1998. ---. “The Vice of Reading.” The Uncollected Critical Writings, edited by Frederick Wegener, Princeton UP, 1996, pp. 99-106. ---. The Writing of Fiction. Octagon Books, 1966. ---. “Preface to Ghosts.” The Uncollected Critical Writings, edited by Frederick Wegener, Princeton UP, 1996, pp. 270-273. ---. The Unpublished Writings of Edith Wharton, edited by Laura Rattray, Vol. 2, Pickering and Chatto, 2009. ---. ”The Great American Novel.” The Uncollected Critical Writings, edited by Frederick Wegener, Princeton UP, 1996, pp. 151-159. ---. Hudson River Bracketed. Delineator, September 1928- February 1930. ---. Hudson River Bracketed, Signet Classic, 1962. [first published in 1929] ---. The Gods Arrive. Delineator, February 1932-August 1932. ---. The Gods Arrive. Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1960. [first published in 1932] ---. A Son at the Front. 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UBC Theses and Dissertations
‘Unafraid of change’: the development of Edith Wharton’s authorship and magazines Pajot, Pavlina 2020
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