Probably the most famous of Edith Wharton's novels, "Ethan Frome" contrasts sharply with the rest of her work. She usually wrote of the New York society to which she herself belonged. Ethan, the gaunt, patient New Englander, imprisoned by bitter futilities, makes one desperate attempt to escape from his bondage, if not in life, at least in death. His failure produces only a long anticlimax of pain and despair, with his implacable wife presiding over the deterioration of the bright passion which had once warmed Ethan and her cousin Mattie. His story, with its tragic implications of what might have been, has had an irresistible fascination for countless readers. EDITH WHARTON was born in New York City in 1862. As a child she traveled widely and at an early age tried her hand at poetry and fiction. After her marriage, bored with a stuffy social milieu, she turned to a career of writing. Her first major work, "The House of Mirth," was published in 1905. Her best known work, "Ethan Frome," was published in 1911. "The Age of Innocence" appeared in 1921. In addition to several volumes of short stories, plays, poetry, and travel, Mrs. Wharton wrote 17 novels. She died in 1937.