Last month I attended the Berkshire WordFest at The Mount—Edith Wharton’s Lenox, Mass., estate. Wharton (1862-1937) was a premier author of the early twentieth century, writing twenty novels and many other books including collections of poetry and short stories and works on architecture and gardens.
An expert in architecture in her own right, she designed and built the sprawling mansion in 1902, but was forced to sell the property in 1911 when her husband’s health and their marriage deteriorated. She relocated to France, where she did much of her writing.
The Mount is said to be an “autobiographical house,” reflecting the spirit of the author of such well known works as Ethan Frome, The Age of Innocence and House of Mirth. Wharton’s good friend and fellow writer Henry James said that “no one fully knows our Edith who hasn’t seen her in the act of creating a habitat for herself.” Perhaps you can catch a small glimpse of Edith Wharton’s spirit in these images taken during my visit.
In addition to the WordFest event, drawing writers and poets from the region, The Mount also hosts a biennial Coaching Weekend, featuring horse-drawn carriages to take you back to the Gilded Age; literary lectures throughout the year; and Friday night Ghost Tours, seeking out the spirits that may still linger on the grounds.
If you happen to be in the area, catch the next leg of our recent Northeast literary tour and stop by the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, Mass. For more information on Edith Wharton and the estate, visit The Mount’s website.
Post and photos by Lyla Willingham Lindquist. Used with permission.
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