"The Angel at the Grave" is about a granddaughter of a major figure in literature and science who plans and tries to keep his intellectual memory alive at the expense of her own life. As one part of this, she spends years writing his biography -- and runs into a publisher who flat-out says Nope, we're not interested in publishing that. How does his reasoning sound?
He's a name still, of course. People don't exactly want to be caught not knowing who he is; but they don't want spend two dollars finding out, when they can look him up for nothing in any biographical dictionary.
Wharton likely wouldn't have been surprised that nowadays, a hundred-plus years after she wrote that, people are increasingly likely not to want to spend anything to find out or support stuff, even stuff they want to know.
Why yes, I just listened to this Cort and Fatboy episode about how hard it can be to make your living creatively and to get people to pay you for your output; are you surprised? It's on my mind.