with an introduction by
Dept of English Studies, Durham University
On a poor farm near Starkfield in western Massachusetts, Ethan Frome
struggles to wrest a living from the land, unassisted by his whining
and hypochondriacal wife Zeena. When Zeena's young cousin Mattie Silver
is left destitute, the only place she can go is Ethan's farm.
An embittered man and an enchanting young woman meeting in such circumstances
unleash predictable consequences as passions are aroused between the
three protagonists, Edith Wharton's characterisation and deft handling
of reversals of fortune are so accomplished that Ethan Frome has remained
enduringly popular since its first publication in 1911 and is considered
her greatest tragic story.