British Association for American Studies


#USSObookhour with Laura Rattray

Beyond The Writing of Fiction: Other Edith Whartons

Dr. Laura Rattray

Wednesday 23 September 2020, 4 pm, UK time


We are delighted to announce that we will be relaunching #USSOBOOKHOUR at 4 pm, 23 September 2020 with Dr. Laura Rattray’s talk about her new monograph Edith Wharton and Genre – Beyond Fiction, which is the first study of Wharton’s full engagement with original writing in genres outside fiction. Laura will also kindly share with us her experiences of publishing and thoughts on publishing for postgraduates and early-career researchers.

This talk will inspire researchers who are interested in using new methods to explore transatlantic women writers or the pluralism of other versatile authors. Questions from our audience will be addressed in the Q&A session.


Edith Wharton and Genre: Beyond Fiction (Palgrave, 2020)

Based on extensive new archival research, Edith Wharton and Genre: Beyond Fiction offers the first study of Wharton’s full engagement with original writing in genres outside those with which she has been most closely identified. So much more than an acclaimed novelist and short story writer, Wharton is reconsidered in this book as a controversial playwright, a gifted poet, a trailblazing travel writer, an innovative and subversive critic, a hugely influential design writer, and an author who overturned the conventions of autobiographical form. Her versatility across genres did not represent brief sidesteps, temporary diversions from what has long been read as her primary role as novelist. Each was pursued fully and whole-heartedly, speaking to Wharton’s very sense of herself as an artist and her connected vision of artistry and art. The stories of these other Edith Whartons, born through her extraordinary dexterity across a wide range of genres, and their impact on our understanding of her career, are the focus of this new study, revealing a bolder, more diverse, subversive and radical writer than has long been supposed.


Invited Speaker: Laura Rattray

Laura Rattray (@drlaurarattray) is Reader in American Literature at the University of Glasgow. She has teaching and research interests in American literature and culture, modernism, women’s writing and gender, transatlanticism, Edith Wharton, the writer in Hollywood, editing and publishing history. Laura’s work on Wharton includes, as editor, Edith Wharton in Context (2012), The Unpublished Writings of Edith Wharton (2009), Summer (2015) and, with Jennifer Haytock, The New Edith Wharton Studies (2019). Her monograph, Edith Wharton and Genre: Beyond Fiction was published by Palgrave in August 2020. In 2016 Laura founded the series “Cultural Connections: Transatlantic Literary Women“, funded by the BAAS/ US Embassy Small Grants Programme. This summer Laura and her team-mates Lindsay Middleton and Chiara Bullen ran a series of fifteen weekly literary events #TeawithTLW during covid lockdown. Laura is currently Director of the Andrew Hook Centre for American Studies at Glasgow. She was recently elected to the BAAS executive committee and is working with Susan Barile on an edition of letters from Wharton to Bernard and Mary Berenson for Yale University Press.



We look forward to seeing you there!