- Series: Enriched Classics
- Mass Market Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Enriched Classic edition (July 1, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0743487702
- ISBN-13: 978-0743487702
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 694 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #350,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Ethan Frome (Enriched Classics) Enriched Classic Edition
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About the Author
Edith Wharton was the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize, for The Age of Innocence. Born in 1862 into one of New York's older and richer families, she was educated here and abroad. Her works include Ethan Frome, The Reef, The Custom of the Country, The Glimpses of the Moon, and Roman Fever and Other Stories. As a keen observer and chronicler of society, she is without peer. Edith Wharton died in France in 1937.
Top customer reviews
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Summer was about a silly listless girl that took up with a newcomer. It was kind of creepy that the man who adopted and raised her wanted her for a lover and married her when the man who got her pregnant left her for his original fiance.
Ethan Frome is considered by many critics to be Wharton's finest work, although the rural setting and length is atypical of her output. She wrote the work in a determined effort to take a setting she felt was overly sentimentalized by her fellow female authors and strip the location of cozy `samplerism'. In this she has succeeded, for the landscape Wharton paints is uncomfortably stark. In the town of Starkfield, a young farmer, Ethan, shackled to a neurotic parasite of a wife, Zenobia, must choose between remaining faithful to his wife or succumbing to the agreeable attentions of the new servant, a distant relative of his wife's. As a conservative and religious man, I am usually unsympathetic to literary arguments against middle-class marital propriety, but Wharton has created such a monstrous witch in the character of Zenobia, and made the charming Mattie so thoroughly sweet, if not particularly skilled, that one can hardly blame Ethan for wavering, although acknowledging that his contemplation of abandoning Zeena and escaping West with Mattie is self-centered. The central plot is cushioned by a frame story set many years after a terrible accident Ethan suffers near the end of the work, in which an educated engineer, trapped by rough weather, stays with an aged, embittered Ethan at his decrepit farmstead. The exact details of this accident and its horrific aftermath are only revealed in the latter bookend of the frame story that closes this riveting tale of jealousy, illness, inertia, and constraint. The portraiture of the landscape and the psychology of three of its inhabitants is exquisitely rendered; Wharton knows her stuff.
Wordsworth Classics never fails to produce editions of the highest possible quality, and at vastly affordable prices. This edition, with a fairly strong introduction by Pamela Knights, a professor at the institution where I took my master's degree, reproduces the `asterisk clouds' and chapter separations found in the original release and often deleted in modern reprintings of the novella. The cover art is excellently suited to the contents, the back cover material is well written and accurate, and the scholarly notes at the end are helpful without becoming pedantic. Hats off to one of my favorite publishers for another job well done!
I recommend this book to those who enjoy pastoral and anti-pastoral, as there are arguments for this book belonging to both camps. Wharton fans, American literature buffs, appreciators of realism, and readers with shorter attention spans would also be encouraged to pick up Ethan Frome and hole up alongside of Ethan, Zeena, and Mattie in their claustrophobic farmhouse.