Edith Wharton

1862 (New York) – 1937 (Saint-Brice-sous-Forêt, France)

Longfellow encouraged her teenage writings. Independently wealthy, she surrepticiously supported her close friend James (a strong influence on her own writing), took him out in her car, and promoted him unsuccessfully for a Nobel Prize. Conrad, Gide, Cocteau, Lewis and her friend Huxley all visited her in Provence. Despite reading Proust avidly and having friends in common, she never met him. Fitzgerald famously visited her outside Paris, but in nervous anticipation had apparently drunk too much beforehand; he tried to impress, she was unamused, it was a disaster.