"IT WAS THAT NIGHT THAT I FOUND THE CLUE TO ETHAN FROME": SPLENDID FIRST EDITION OF EDITH WHARTON'S FINEST TRAGIC NOVEL
WHARTON, Edith. Ethan Frome. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1911. Small octavo, original red cloth, top edge gilt, uncut. Housed in a custom folding box. $2600.
First edition, first issue, of Wharton's greatest tragic story, a "grim tale of a bud of romance ice-bound and turned into a frozen horror in the frigid setting of a New England winter landscape" (New York Times). A lovely copy handsomely housed in a custom half-morocco box.
"There are only three or four American novelists who can be thought of as major," noted Gore Vidal, "and Edith Wharton is one." Her Ethan Frome "shows a marked departure from the ironic contemplation of aristocratic mores… the central problem is that of the barriers imposed by local conventions upon an individual whose happiness depends on rising above them" (Hart 813). First issue, with the gilded top edge found only in the first 2500 copies, and "wearily" in perfect type on penultimate line of page 135. With four pages of publisher's advertisements at rear; without very scarce original dust jacket. Garrison A19.I.a. Melish, 42.
Interior quite fresh with only small corner loss to rear ad leaf. A fine copy.