Edith Wharton: Ethan Frome

(3119 words)

In her biography of Edith Wharton, Hermione Lee observes that “Ethan Frome comes as a great shock” (375). Wharton had ventured into areas such as the industrial novel in her 1907 work, The Fruit of the Tree, but her literary reputation was largely based on her successful representations of wealthy American society as seen, especially, in The House of Mirth of 1905. Ethan Frome, published in 1911, turns from the old moneyed urban world of Wharton’s background to embrace instead the landscapes and inhabitants of rural New England with its range of physical and psychological impoverishments.

The “shock” (Lee 375) of Wharton’s shifting focus from urban, sophisticated social scenes to the …
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Bode, Rita. "Ethan Frome". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 13 September 2012
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=5284, accessed 25 September 2016.]