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Old 05-27-2008, 06:31 PM   #2
Patricia
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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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