English-Jewish Author Rewrites Wharton’s Age of Innocence; To Read at The Mount

(LENOX, Mass.)  – On Wednesday, June 13, 2012, The Mount will host debut novelist Francesca Segal for a reading and discussion of her debut novel, The Innocents, a modern-day recasting of Edith Wharton’s 1921 Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Age of Innocence. The reading, discussion and book-signing will take place at 5pm. The event is free, but reservations are requested; please call 413.551.5100.

Set in the modern-day upper-crust Jewish community of North West London, a community still under the shadow of the Holocaust and where the bonds of family and tradition run deep, The Innocents is slyly humorous and deeply satisfying. It illuminates the conflict between responsibility and passion, security and exhilaration, tradition and independence.

Newly engaged and smugly self-satisfied, Adam Newman is forced to re-examine his life’s path when his fiancée’s prodigal cousin Ellie Schneider returns to London with rumors of a scandal swirling around her. Adam has been with local beauty Rachel for thirteen years, and her family adores him; he is even set to inherit her father’s business. In Rachel at age twenty-eight-sweet, innocent, conventional-he can see the home she would make for him at fifty. But Ellie-troubled, vulnerable, and fiercely independent-offers a liberation he had not known existed. Adam begins to see that he could choose for himself, but his choices will threaten the fabric of both family and community.

Francesca Segal

Francesca Segal was born in London in 1980, the daughter of a novelist and an editor. Brought up between the UK and America, she studied at Oxford and Harvard universities before becoming a journalist and literary critic. Her work has appeared in Granta, The Guardian, The Observer, The Daily Telegraph, FT Magazine, and The JC, among others. For three years she wrote the Debut Fiction Column in The Observer and was a features writer at Tatler.

The Mount is both a historic site and a cultural destination 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.

The 10 years Wharton called The Mount her home changed her forever; both as an artist and as a person. For Wharton, it was a period of self-discovery, growth, creativity, and validation, as well as agitation, in the most intimate areas of her life. While at The Mount, Wharton wrote both Ethan Frome and The House of Mirth.

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.

The Mount will honor Wharton’s contributions and achievements in 2012 with Edith Wharton, 21st Century Muse, and will host performances, special events, readings, and lectures that highlight Wharton’s longevity and continued relevancy.




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