21 October 2009

we'll always have Edith Wharton

Subscribing to The New Yorker always intimidates me. I can't keep up with all of the articles I want to read, to say nothing of just skimming the issues. When I went up to campus to get my daily Times, I decided to stop in at the main library to look at magazines. I've done that at the Scholes Ceramics Library but hadn't done it yet at Herrick, the main library. I was in the periodicals stacks and decided to skim the contents of the unbound issues of The New Yorker. A bit of this, a bit of that, found quite a few things to actually go to the article for a brief visit.

Imagine my delight when I came across "The age of innocence: early letters from Edith Wharton" by Rebecca Mead in the June 29 issue (p. 32-38). The letters were addressed to Anna Bahlmann, a governess employed by the Joneses from 1874 to 1915 or thereabouts. Most of Miss Jones's letters were when she was not at home, and they describe what she was reading and doing. The letters were to be sold at Christie's on June 24th and let's hope someone prepares an edition ... soon! According to what I could find on the web, the letters sold to an unnamed academic institution. Her archive at the Beinecke Library at Yale already has twenty boxes of correspondence, mostly written after her marriage, so I hope it's Yale.

This Wharton amusement (pronounced as in French) came after reading this morning the article in last Sunday's travel section: "Edith Wharton always had Paris" by Elaine Sciolino. There we trace Wharton's steps, including points of assignation with her lover Morton Fullerton. They met under the Diana at the Louvre and Sciolino notes that it still is a fairly untraveled gallery. Hmm. Next time I'm to meet my lover in Paris, I might suggest the Diana. It's way more romantic than the clock in Grand Central or the "meeting point" at some international airport, or maybe it depends on who you're meeting.

20 October 2009

city / country / Hockney

Many people have asked me how I'm doing in Alfred. Yes, it's small town to New York City's urban. In Sunday's Times, there's an article about David Hockney who has been spending much of his time over the past couple years in Yorkshire, doing landscapes. He still considers himself a Californian and has his green card but he's making hay in the country. The last four paragraphs of the article read thus:

“People have asked me,” he said, “ ‘Isn’t it boring in Bridlington, a little isolated seaside town?’ And I say: ‘Not for us. We all think it’s very exciting, because it is in my studio and it is in my house.’ ”

Mr. Hockney is now working toward a mammoth show of these landscapes for the Royal Academy in London, to open in January 2012. “They came to me,” he said. “I went to look at the rooms and thought: ‘My God, what an opportunity. We’ll do it!’ So I need this great big studio.”

Yet he also has no intention of giving up California. He still has his house in the Hollywood Hills, he said, not to mention his office and archives on Santa Monica Boulevard and his green card.

“I would say I’m on location here,” he said, laughing wryly. “That’s what we say in Hollywood.”