To date, the only scholarly attention paid to the two abandoned Wharton novels called “The Keys of Heaven” has focused on the “Praslin version,” a retelling of a murder-suicide from 1840s Paris. The “Olney-Beecher version” concerns a woman named Catherine Beecher, her would-be lover Jacob Olney, and her husband, a New England architect who sounds a lot like Ogden Codman Jr., with whom Wharton wrote The Decoration of Houses. This overlooked material evidently from the mid-1920s should be of interest to scholars for the potential light it sheds on her writing from the period and on the status of her rift with Codman. The evidence suggests that Wharton's fictional narratives moved from a place where she was writing in “one long shriek” to a space where she could imagine a lover turning the handle of that inner door and crossing the threshold into a room full of treasures awaiting discovery.

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