Writing

Herman Melville through women’s eyes

The maniacal sea captain, the mad-cap whaling ship, the crewmen from New England and the Ocean Islands sleeping peacefully in a lantern-lit tavern in New Bedford … the book was a radical and visceral challenge when it came out, more than 150 years ago. Can the story hold as radical an edge today? Maybe, if women tell…

Wharton Comedies at Shakespeare & Co

Two women are sitting at an outdoor table at the cool end of a hot day in Rome. They are looking out at the ruins of the Roman forum, and they have known each other since they were teenagers. On another ridge, another woman is thinking with longing and fear of a canto of Dante’s Inferno…

Melville and Hawthorne on Monument Mountain

Arrowhead, Herman Melville’s historic house in Pittsfield, will lead a marathon reading of Moby-Dick through this Sunday, and the annual hike up Monument Mountain in Great Barrington — to commemorate Herman Melville’s meeting with Nathaniel Hawthorne — will set out on Sunday morning at 9 a.m. I have walked the loop on the mountain on…

Take a walk in Edith Wharton’s garden

The French lilac are blooming in wide arcs in the gardens at The Mount, at the end of the lime walk. Standing in the circle of bushes, I watched two swallowtail butterflies touch down for a drink. In the woods yellow iris still show in marshy places, and around the grounds artwork has come in…