The Age of Innocence (Paperback)
Penguin Classics, 9780140189704, 368pp.
Publication Date: March 1, 1996
Other Editions of This Title:
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About the Author
Praise For The Age of Innocence…
"There is no woman in American literature as fascinating as the doomed Madame Olenska. . . . Traditionally, Henry James has always been placed slightly higher up the slope of Parnassus than Edith Wharton. But now that the prejudice against the female writer is on the wane, they look to be exactly what they are: giants, equals, the tutelary and benign gods of our American literature."--Gore Vidal
"Will writers ever recover that peculiar blend of security and alertness which characterizes Mrs. Wharton and her tradition?"--E. M. Forster
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
- Why does Archer neglect to tell Countess Olenska of his engagement to May Welland, despite the fact that May has instructed him to do so?
- Why does Archer suddenly realize that marriage is "not the safe anchorage he had been taught to think, but a voyage on uncharted seas"? (p. 35)
- Why does Archer feel "oppressed" when contemplating the "factitious purity" of his betrothed? (p. 37)
- Why is Countess Olenska a threat to the social order that claims Archer as one of its kind?
- Why is the neighborhood where Countess Olenska resides a "queer quarter for such a beauty to settle in"? (p. 99)
- To what is Archer referring when he thinks about his peers that "over many of them the green mould of the perfunctory was already perceptibly spreading"? (p. 103)
- What does Archer mean when he thinks that "it was wonderful that...such depths of feeling could coexist with such absence of imagination"? (p. 154)
- How does Archer feel about May's talent with her bow and arrow? Why does he so often feel "cheated...into momentary well-being"? (p. 173)
- When Archer, at the request of Mrs. Mingott, follows the path to the shore to fetch Countess Olenska, why does he say to himself, "If she doesn't turn before that sail crosses the Lime Rock light I'll go back"? (p. 177)
- What kind of "code" exists between Archer and May? How does it work? What is its origin? (p. 219)
- Why does May decide to host the farewell dinner for the Countess Olenska? Why does Archer think of the dinner guests as "a band of dumb conspirators"? (p. 276)
- Why does Archer walk away from a potential reunion with Countess Olenska?