New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1908. First Edition. First printing, in the rare dust jacket. Fine book, with exceptionally bright gilt and clean covers, inner rear hinge cracked, but holding. The dust jacket is Good only, with scattered foxing, missing chips across the top of the panels and spine, with separation starting along the rear flap, and some reinforcement and repairs to the verso. Jacket not listed in Garrison.
Written shortly after the release of Wharton's first major novel, The House of Mirth (1905), and within the first year of her expatriation to Paris, A Motor Flight Through France captured the romance and excitement of modern travel. Wharton's first French travel book, it has been termed "perhaps the best of Edith Wharton's always superior and original travel books. Based on three automobile journeys taken in 1906 and 1907, the book points up the perfections of France during the Belle Époque...The years 1906-7 are regarded by Wharton's biographers Shari Benstock and R. W. B. Lewis as the decisive time of Wharton's final expatriation. Her physical residence in the elite Faubourg section of Paris began in 1907, when she and her husband sublet the apartment of the George Vanderbilts in a stately town house at 58 rue de Varenne. In January 1910, the Whartons moved into their own apartment at 53 Rue de Varenne; she was to live in this apartment there until 1920, when she acquired the Pavillon Colombe just outside Paris” (Wright). During this time, Wharton's fascination shifted away from Italy toward France, and her love of Paris and the countryside would shape her future writing. Only 7 years later, Wharton’s beloved country would become war-torn, leaving Motor-Flight as a lasting testament to the beauty and romance of pre-war France. Fine in Good dust jacket. (Item #2171)