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Paris Goes to War

A World War I Dispatch from France

by Edith Wharton

After a painful divorce in April 1913, at age fifty-one, Edith Wharton traveled almost compulsively for fifteen months. Her base of operations was Paris, which she had known from her early years. Her wealth and privilege aside, she was, according to her biographer R. W. B. Lewis, “one of the most intelligent American women who ever lived,” with “almost unbelievable energy” and “genuine daring.” By August 4, 1913, the Great War had begun in Europe. Wharton would later characterize France’s entry into the war as curiously idealized and abstract. Upon the order for General Mobilization, she found no panic, no tumult, not even much excitement in the streets, only a sense of political and social unity and a quiet readiness for what lay ahead. But the Paris she knew, its look and its atmosphere, was nonetheless totally and suddenly changed, as she describes below.

Paris Goes to War details:

ISBN: 978-1-937853-83-9

Words: 6,457

Pages: 14

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Tags:  World War I in France - Paris - Edith Wharton