Monday, March 17, 2008

A Gorgeous Restoration

From a supporter in Nebraska:

I attended the Edith Wharton Society conference at The Mount in 1997, its one hundred year anniversary. Even though the restoration had not been done and the house was shrouded in scaffolding, the spirit of Edith Wharton was palpable and magical. This is the place where she wrote The House of Mirth and entertained luminaries such as Henry James. Everything was intact despite the deterioration and you could see the outline of what now is reality -- a gorgeous restoration, including the gardens and Wharton's library back where it belongs.

A short walk away, Lenox provides more Wharton milestone moments, such as the setting for Ethan Frome, especially the hill on which he and Mattie Silver embark on their tragic sled ride. The Lenox Library contains Wharton notes to the young woman who inspired Mattie's character as she was injured badly on the real sled ride at the heart of the novel. There is much more than this in Lenox and at The Mount, bringing one of the greatest American writers to life for contemporary readers. We need to save this treasured literary and historical site.