Edith Wharton

February 28, 2009

posted by Caroline Picard

you can read more about Edith Wharton by going here.


  • 1862 Born, New York City
  • 1878 Publishes Verses, privately
  • 1885 Marries Edward(Teddy)Wharton
  • 1889 Publishes poems in Scribner’s Magazine
  • 1897 Publishes Decoration of Houses, w Ogden Codman
  • 1899 Publishes first stories, Greater Inclination
  • 1902 Publishes first novel, Valley of Decision
  • 1905 Publishes important best seller, House of Mirth
  • 1907 Settles in Paris
  • 1908 Teddy has nervous breakdown
  • 1911 Publishes Ethan Frome
  • 1913 Divorces from Teddy
  • 1913 Publishes Custom of the Country
  • 1914-1918 Devotes time to refugee and charity work in wartorn France
  • 1917 Publishes Summer
  • 1920 Awarded Pulitzer Prize for novel, The Age of Innocence
  • 1923 Receives Yale honorary award of Doctor of Letters
  • 1930 Elected to American Academy of Arts and Letters
  • 1937 Dies of stroke in France
  • from Edith Wharton, a collection of critical essays. Edited by Irving Howe. Prentice-Hall, 1962.


an excerpt from ETHAN FROME

“‘When a man’s been setting round like a hulk for twenty years of more, seeing things that want doing, it eats inter him, and he loses his grit. That Frome farm was always ’bout as bare’s a milkpan when the cat’s been round; and you know what one of them old water-mills is wuth nowadays. When Ethan could sweat over ’em both from sun-up to dark he kinder choked a living out of ’em; but his folks ate up most everything, even then, and I don’t see how he makes out now. Fust his father a kick, out haying, and went soft in the brain, and gave away monely like Bible texts afore he died. This mother got queer and dragged along for years as weak as a baby; and his wife Zeena, she’s always been the greatest hand at doctoring in the county. Sickness and trouble: that’s what Ethan’s had his plate full up with, ever since the very first helping.'”

“The next morning, when I looked out, I saw the hollow-backed bay between the Varnum spruces, and Ethan Frome, throwing back his worn bearskin, made room for me in the sleigh at his side. After that, for a week, he drove me over every morning to Corbury Flats, and on my return in the afternoon met me again and carried me back through the icy night to Starkfeild. The distance each way was barely three miles, but the old bay’s pace was slow, and even with firm snow under the runners we were nearly an hour on the way. Ethan Frome drove in silence, the reins loosely held in his left hand, his brown seamed profile, under the helmet-like eak of the carp, relieved against the banks of snow like thr bronze image of a hero. He never turned his face to mine, or answered, except in monosyllables, the questions I put, or such slight pleasantires as I ventured. He seemed a part of the mute melancholy landscape, an incarnation of its frozen woe, with all that was warm and sentient in him fast bound below the surface; but there was nothing unfriendly in his silence. I simply felt that he lived in a depth of moral isolation too remote for casual access, and I had the sense that his loneliness was not merely the result of his personal plight, tragic as I guessed that to be, but hat in it, as Harmon Gow had hinted, the profound accumulated cold of many Starkfield winters.”

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