The Age of Innocence won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize. The story is set in upper class New York City in the 1870s. The Age of Innocence centers on an upper class couple's impending marriage, and the introduction of a woman plagued by scandal whose presence threatens their happiness. Though the novel questions the assumptions and morals of 1870's New York society, it never devolves into an outright condemnation. In fact, Wharton considered this novel an apology for her earlier, more brutal and critical novel, The House of Mirth.
Published: Start Publishing LLC an imprint of NBN Books on Jun 1, 1920
well-written book. newland archer seems set to condition in the path of tradition created by his well-off new york ancestors by marrying, may welland, another descendent of well-off new yorkers. that is until the arrival of her cousin, countess ellen olenska. she rocks newland's world and that of the tight-knit, upper-crust new york society. ellen is off the cuff and unconventional and she draws newland in; his love is not only for her but for that of change and throwing off the shackles that nice, conventional, duty-bound new york has chained him in. may represents all the things of that society and, therefore, doesn't make newland's heart skip a beat but makes him feel he's done what he should and that's what bothers him!wharton draws her characters well (reading the descriptions of old catherine are awesome) and makes you empathize with the deadened spiritual crisis newland fights through in wanting to strike out on his own from the path that's been laid out for him.read more
I read this rather desultorily in high school, and didn't think much of it. I still didn't greatly enjoy the bulk of it... I'm just not generally very fond of period pieces about high-society interiors, unless they're of Russian provenance. What did get me this time around is the craft... just how tightly-written it is, and how well-rendered emotions and relationships and the small gestures which serve as their currency are. And the ending was right in a torturous sort of way... not what you're rooting for as the biased reader, but ultimately true to the story and the characters.read more
Brilliant. Newland Archer, shorter after becoming engaged, falls in love with his betrothed's cousin and realizes his life will be dull and stultifying. An indictment of NY social life in the early 1900's. A brutal examination of marriage.read more
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