by Stephen Wakelam
Edith Wharton's private life was as dramatic as many of her novels.
An encounter with a journalist was to have a seismic
effect on her marriage and her work.
Edith Wharton....Fenella Woolgar
Henry James....Allan Corduner
Teddy Wharton....Nathan Osgood
Mrs Gross/French Admirer....Rachel Atkins
English Waiter/French Waiter....Simon Bubb
Directed by Sally Avens
Pulitzer prize winning author Edith Wharton had a long career, which stretched over forty years and included the publication of more than forty books, many of which have been made into films including 'The House of Mirth'. A born storyteller her novels are justly celebrated for their vivid settings, satiric wit, ironic style, and moral seriousness. Her characters are often trapped in bad relationships or confining circumstances. Her own life stands as an example of the obstacles that a woman of her time and place had to overcome to find self-realization. Stephen Wakelam's play tells the story of Edith's affair with the journalist Morton Fullerton through the eyes of her friend and fellow writer Henry James. Age 47 Edith embarked upon a relationship which made her reassess her own marriage to Teddy Wharton, a platonic relationship that did not allow her to share her intellectual and artistic interests. The affair also influenced her writing including the novella Ethan Frome which R4 has been dramatising in the Woman's Hour slot this week.
Stephen Wakelam has written many successful radio plays including 'Adulteries of a Provincial Wife' about Flaubert writing Madame Bovary and 'What I Think of My Husband' about Thomas Hardy.
By Stephen Wakelam. The story of Edith Wharton's unhappy marriage and passionate affair.