Via Anna Girling. Note: it’s behind a paywall, so I have no idea what’s beyond this excerpt.
Who was Edith Wharton’s father?
As research assistant to R. W. B. Lewis, the prize-winning biographer of Edith Wharton, Marion Mainwaring – assigned in 1969 to investigate Wharton’s “Parisian phase” – found herself knocking on forbidding doors in unpredictable arrondissements of Paris, in far-flung hôtels de ville and at a remote psychiatric hospital in the French countryside as she doggedly pursued every shred of information she could find about a wily, elusive American expatriate named William Morton Fullerton. Fullerton (1865–1952), a Harvard graduate and a correspondent for The Times in Paris, was a roué and conman, a cosmopolitan libertine with a proclivity for the upper crust and satyr-like propensities for bisexual romantic entanglements (a wistful Henry James opined that he was “dazzling” but “not kind”), and chronically in debt because he was being blackmailed by a former mistress. He was also briefly, but pivotally and inexplicably, Wharton’s lover.