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Comment: Hardcover with dust jacket that has some cover and edge wear, the spine is tight and the pages are well attached. The interior pages where without underlining, highlighting or notes upon inspection but there is some writing on the title page; this is a good reading copy. This book has been shrink wrapped to better protect it in the warehouse.
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My Dear Governess: The Letters of Edith Wharton to Anna Bahlmann Hardcover – June 5, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0300169898 ISBN-10: 0300169892

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (June 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300169892
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300169898
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #756,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Making these previously unknown letters available would in itself be a valuable service, but Goldman-Price has gone far beyond that in her general introduction, introductions to each letter, and notes. The letters in this book will change the way in which we read Wharton’s early life and intellectual development.”—Donna Campbell, Washington State University
(Donna Campbell)

"One of the most astonishing instances of literary eavesdropping in the history of American letters. A moving and illuminating revelation."—Alberto Manguel (Alberto Manguel)

“This skillfully edited collection sheds new light on Wharton’s childhood and early career and provides important insights into her artistic and emotional life. Goldman-Price’s lucid introduction and commentary situate the letters in a compelling biographical narrative that introduces us to the little-known Bahlmann and encourages us to reassess our understanding of Wharton’s approach to personal relationships and class differences.”—Gary Totten, President, Edith Wharton Society
(Gary Totten)

“This extraordinary collection reveals a young Wharton with a voracious intellectual appetite, and a woman, who, throughout her life, is by turns cheeky, exuberant, adventurous, and compassionate. Wharton’s lifelong relationship with Bahlmann is as intricate as the lives of Wharton’s finest fictional characters, and Goldman-Price’s illuminating commentary masterfully weaves the backdrop against which this remarkable friendship unfolds.”—Susan Wissler, executive director of The Mount, Edith Wharton’s Estate and Gardens
(Susan Wissler)

"The 135 letters in this volume. . . are especially valuable because they represent a period for which little primary Wharton documentation is known to exist. . . Essential for Wharton scholars as well as informed general readers interested in Wharton or her literary and social circles."—Library Journal (Library Journal)

"Goldman-Price's wide knowledge of Wharton's life is revealed in her nuanced, trenchant narrative. . . The early letters. . .have a wonderful freshness, as we see an eager, confident Edith revealing an abundance of literary and personal details. . . One of the most fascinating aspects of My Dear Governess is that although there are no letters from Bahlmann, she comes alive . . . It is all interesting, a terrific addition to Wharton scholarship."—Roberta Silman, Boston Globe (Roberta Silman Boston Globe)

"…a valuable addition for scholars and completists…"—Sarah Churchwell, The New Statesman
(Sarah Churchwell The New Statesman 2012-06-25)

"The letters provide penetrating insights into the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist who chronicled old New York and developed a close friendship with another aristocratic Gotham native, Henry James."—Sam Roberts, New York Times
(Sam Roberts New York Times)

"From cover to cover, the book is a pleasure for those interested in literature, visual art, travel, dogs, female friendship, and life as it was lived from the Gilded Age through the Great War. For scholars of Wharton, this is a must-read, as the letters reveal a new—in many cases tender, affectionate, vulnerable, hopeful—side of Wharton and challenge previously held conceptions of the writer and her biography."—Emily Orlando, American Book Review
(Emily Orlando American Book Review)

"Eloquently introduced and meticulously annotated by Goldman-Price, this book is a gem on many levels. Offering insight into the formation of the artist and the adolescent female mind, in particular, it is trove not only for fans and scholars of Edith Wharton but also for anyone interested in childhood and gender studies, and the shaping forces of class and age."—Carol J. Singley, Women's Review of Books
(Carol J. Singley Women's Review of Book)

About the Author

Irene Goldman-Price has taught literature and women's studies at Ball State University and Penn State University. She serves on the editorial board of the Edith Wharton Review and has consulted and taught at The Mount, Edith Wharton's house museum in Massachusetts. In 2010–2011 she was a visiting fellow at Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, where the Wharton letters are held.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. E. Fields on June 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover
For Edith Wharton fans, this book will be a wonderful revelation into the mind and heart of a very young Edith Wharton, and a tender, thoughtful older one. Wharton's close relationship with her governess, then literary secretary is an insight into her voracious curiosity and love of literature. The letters Edith wrote to her "Tonni" show a vulnerable side to Wharton few know. Goldman-Price's frequent notes and comments are prodigiously researched and so finely written, we could not have found a better guide. This book is a must for anyone who appreciates Wharton.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge on June 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
On May 31st, 1874, twelve-year-old Edith Wharton (then Edith Jones) wrote to her beloved twenty-five-year-old governess, Anna Bahlmann, inviting her to come to the Jones' summer home in Newport, Rhode Island: "...we shall have a room ready for you and be very, very glad indeed to see you." It was the first of 135 letters, tenderly written over forty-two years, and unknown to Wharton scholars until they surfaced at auction in 2009. Their publication provides a rare, unguarded picture of young Edith and corrects several misconceptions, most notably the negative picture of her mother that Edith herself painted in her published and unpublished autobiographies. Equally as interesting is the editor's research on Anna Bahlmann, which brings the proud but self-effacing governess out of the shadows. The letters themselves are infinitely readable and profuse annotations make them accessible to those unfamiliar with Wharton's life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gary James on September 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are a fan of Edith Wharton and her writings, this is a must read. Through Wharton's letters to her former governess, sometime secretary and life long friend, Anna Bahlmann, you will view the breadth of Wharton's interests - Europeon history, architecture, poetry - and a life style that included frequent travels throughout Europe. Wharton, of course, was fluent in both German and French languages.

The author adds commentary outside the letters to reveal more of Wharton's life - her unsatisfactory marriage, her friendship with contemporary writers such as Henry James, and her charitable works in France during the horrors of World War I. The book tells much of the life of this amazing woman, born of a period when women of her class were expected to do little more than marry well. Wharton's descritptive powers are on full view through her many letters. A book worth reading.
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