The Age of Innocence

The Age of Innocence

By Edith Wharton; Dover Thrift Editions

Dover Publications, Paperback, 9780486298030, 240pp.

Publication Date: July 11, 1997

Description

Edith Wharton (1862-1937) wrote carefully structured fiction that probed the psychological and social elements guiding the behavior of her characters. Her portrayals of upper-class New Yorkers were unrivaled. "The Age of Innocence," for which Wharton won the Pulitzer Prize in 1920, is one of her most memorable novels.
At the heart of the story are three people whose entangled lives are deeply affected by the tyrannical and rigid requirements of high society. Newland Archer, a restrained young attorney, is engaged to the lovely May Welland but falls in love with May's beautiful and unconventional cousin, Countess Ellen Olenska. Despite his fear of a dull marriage to May, Archer goes through with the ceremony -- persuaded by his own sense of honor, family, and societal pressures. He continues to see Ellen after the marriage, but his dreams of living a passionate life ultimately cease.
The novel's lucid and penetrating prose style, vivid characterization, and its rendering of the social history of an era have long made it a favorite with readers and critics alike.



About the Author
Edith Wharton was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, known for such classics as The House of Mirth, Ethan Frome, and The Age of Innocence, for which she won the Pulitzer Prize in 1921. A member of the New York elite, Wharton drew on her experiences as part of society to critique its inner workings and the conflict between personal desires and societal norms. Wharton died in 1937, leaving behind a rich literary legacy.