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Old 05-27-2008, 03:29 PM   #1
6charlong
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Wharton, Edith: Ethan Frome. eReader. 27 May 2008

From Wikipedia: "The story is set in a fictional, wintry New England town named Starkfield, where an unnamed narrator tells the story of his encounter with Ethan Frome, a man with dreams and desires that end in an ironic turn of events. The narrator tells the story based on an account from observations at Frome's house when he had to stay there during a winter storm. Ethan’s character is one that comes full circle, moving from silent desire to action to quiet submission, ordered by life’s circumstances."

This 1912 novella was originally written in French when Wharton lived in Paris and was studying French. It's one of her few stories placed in a rural setting.
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Last edited by 6charlong; 05-27-2008 at 07:36 PM. Reason: overlooked some em spaces
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Old 05-27-2008, 06:31 PM   #2
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Actually it was only part of an early draft that was originally composed in French, as Mrs Wharton makes clear in her autobiography:

‘A Backward Glance’ [1934] Chapter 12:
“I have a clearer recollection of its beginnings than of those of my other tales, through the singular accident that its first pages were written--in French! I had determined, when we came to live in Paris, to polish and enlarge my French vocabulary; for though I had spoken the language since the age of four I had never had much occasion to talk it, for any length of time, with cultivated people, having usually, since my marriage, wandered through France as a tourist. …To bring my idioms up to date I asked Charles Du Bos to find, among his friends, a young professor who would come and talk with me two or three times a week. An amiable young man was found; but, being too amiable ever to correct my spoken mistakes, he finally hit on the expedient of asking me to prepare an “exercise” before each visit. The easiest thing for me was to write a story; and thus the French version of “Ethan Frome” was begun, and carried on for a few weeks. Then the lessons were given up, and the copy-book containing my “exercise” vanished forever. But a few years later, during one of our summer sojourns at the Mount, a distant glimpse of Bear Mountain brought Ethan back to my memory, and the following winter in Paris I wrote the tale as it now stands …”
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