The Mount, Home and Garden of Edith Wharton, Launches First Annual Literary Festival, Berkshire Wordfest
From the “Grand Dame” of Champagne
to the “Dark Lady” of American literature, eight intriguing and
influential figures are the focus of this summer’s Lecture Series at The Mount.
The series, now in its seventeenth season, brings acclaimed biographers and
memoirists to Edith Wharton’s estate for fascinating talks exploring an array
of cultural icons–and a few notable iconoclasts. The talks are held every
Monday from July 12 through August 30 at 4 p.m. in The Mount’s Stable
auditorium. Tea and a book signing follow each talk. Tickets
are $18 for members of The Mount, $20 non-members. They may be
purchased by calling (413) 551-5113.
“Our annual Lecture
Series has become one of The Mount’s signature summer offerings,” said
Susan Wissler, Executive Director. “And with good reason: these popular
talks are invitations into the lives and lore of some truly captivating
figures. We are so pleased to welcome this year’s line-up of distinguished
authors to The Mount, and excited to bring another season of talks to Berkshire audiences.”
2010 Lecture Series Line-Up
“The Widow Clicquot:
The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman
Who Ruled It”
Tilar J. Mazzeo, author of
“The Widow Clicquot”
Cultural historian and
biographer Tilar J. Mazzeo tells the sparkling tale of Champagne’s “Grand Dame,” the
visionary and legendary young widow who built a champagne empire among the
chaos of the Napoleonic Wars, and showed the world how to live with glamour,
style, and luxury.
“The First Tycoon: The
Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt”
T.J. Stiles, author of
“The First Tycoon”
2010 Pulitzer Prize winner
T.J. Stiles captures the extraordinary life of American icon Cornelius
Vanderbilt: brutally competitive, founder of a dynasty, creator of an
impossibly vast fortune.
“How to Be a Movie
Golden Age with Katherine Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor”
William J. Mann, author of
“How to Be a Movie Star”
The biographer of Katherine
Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor talks about the business of star-making and the
merchandizing of fame during Hollywood’s
studio era. William J. Mann has “set new standards in movie
biography,” according to historian and critic David Thomson.
“Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu”
Laurence Bergreen, author of
Biographer and historian
Laurence Bergreen creates an enthralling portrait of how Marco Polo was able to
get to thirteenth-century China—and
what he saw, felt, and did when he arrived. The lecture will be accompanied bypan>
color reproductions of medieval miniatures as well as spectacular photographs
of the Silk Road.
“A Mountain of Crumbs:
Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain”
Elena Gorokhova, author of
“A Mountain of Crumbs”
In this intimate and deeply
moving story, called the “the Russian equivalent of Angela’s Ashes,”
Elena Gorokhova re-creates her youth in the Soviet Union
of the 1960s—a world that both oppressed and inspired her. Through
Gorokhova’s captivating voice, we learn the story of one rebellious citizen
whose love of a foreign language finally transports her to a new world.
“On Garden Design:
Beatrix Farrand and Edith Wharton”
Judith Tankard, author of
historian and author Judith Tankard will explore the various roles Edith
Wharton played in helping to shape the career of her famous niece, Beatrix
Farrand. Although Wharton and Farrand’s lifestyles and personal gardens were
quite different, they shared a mutual love of gardening.
Lecture to be announced
“The Talented Miss
Highsmith and Her Secret Life in Lenox”
Joan Schenkar, author of
“The Talented Miss Highsmith,” with dramatic readings by Kathleen
Chalfant. Our final lecture is based on the long-awaited literary biography of
the “Dark Lady” of American literature, Patricia Highsmith, whose own
life was often as twisted as that of her antihero Tom Ripley. Joan Schenkar,
award-winning playwright and biographer, will illuminate how Highsmith’s demons
played out on the page and in real life. The Talented Miss Highsmith has
received rave reviews across the United States.
For Tickets and More
All lectures begin at 4 p.m.
and are followed by a tea and book signing. Tickets are $18 for Mount members,
$20 for non-members. Students with valid identification receive a $5 discount.
Discounts are also available when purchasing tickets to multiple lectures.
Please call (413) 551-5113 to purchase tickets or visit EdithWharton.org for
more information. Seating is limited; early ticket purchase is highly
About The Mount
The Mount is both a historic
site and a center for culture inspired by the passions and achievements of
Edith Wharton. Designed and built by Edith Wharton in 1902, the house embodies
the principles outlined in her influential book, The Decoration of Houses
(1897). The property includes three acres of formal gardens designed by
Wharton, who was also an authority on European landscape design, surrounded by
extensive woodlands. Programming at The Mount reflects Wharton’s core interests
in the literary arts, interior design and decoration, garden and landscape
design, and the art of living. Annual exhibits explore themes from Wharton’s
life and work. On July 23-25, 2010, The Mount launches its first annual literary
festival, Berkshire WordFest, bringing together acclaimed writers and
passionate readers in one of the most beautiful settings in the Berkshires.
Learn more at www.EdithWharton.org.
About Edith Wharton
Edith Wharton (1862-1937)
was born into the tightly controlled society of Old New York at a time when
women were discouraged from achieving anything beyond a proper marriage.
Wharton broke through these strictures to become one of America’s greatest writers. Author
of The Age of Innocence, Ethan Frome, and The House of Mirth, she wrote over 40
books in 40 years, including authoritative works on architecture, gardens,
interior design, and travel. Essentially self-educated, she was the first woman
awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, an honorary Doctorate of Letters from
Yale University, and a full membership in the American Academy of Arts and