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Chautauqua pays tribute to Edith Wharton

When Edith Wharton was 4, her favorite game was "making up."

She would pace around with an open book and make up stories about real people. Her parents couldn't understand her and thought she was strange. They would not give her paper to write her stories because it was "too expensive to waste on girls' scribbles," Wharton later wrote. She used the brown wrapping from packages and wrote stories, poems and dramas.

When she was 11, she wrote a novel. In 1905, she wrote her first best-selling novel, "The House of Mirth," and by 1910 she was earning $200,000 a year from the sales of her books.

Chautauqua scholar Karen Vuranch will portray the famous author of "Age of Innocence" and other novels at 7 p.m. today in the Lawton City Hall auditorium.

"As a kid, I read Ethan Frome and loved it, and had admired Wharton for some time." Vuranch said. "I went to the National World War I Museum last year and was mesmerized by Wharton and her war work."

When Wharton was selected for a Chautauqua portrayal, Vuranch thought, "this is my chance."

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