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The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

The Age of Innocence (original 1920; edition 1992)

by Edith Wharton

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9,806232294 (4.03)5 / 950
Title:The Age of Innocence
Authors:Edith Wharton
Info:Scribner (1992), Paperback, 383 pages
Collections:Your library, Read

Work details

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (1920)

  1. 62
    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (readerbabe1984)
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    The Bostonians by Henry James (jbvm)
  3. 41
    The American by Henry James (2below)
    2below: Similar plot and themes--both deal with the issue of being an outsider. I find James' prose a bit more vigorous than Wharton's.
  4. 31
    Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (roby72)
  5. 42
    Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (readerbabe1984)
  6. 31
    The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald (TineOliver)
    TineOliver: Both look at love and marriage in the upper classes of New York society (however, at different time periods)
  7. 10
    The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles (kitzyl)
    kitzyl: Man engaged to conventional society finds himself attracted to an outcast who challenges the rigidity and hypocrisy of the era.
  8. 10
    The Europeans by Henry James (thatguyzero)
  9. 01
    The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West (amanda4242)
  10. 24
    Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (readerbabe1984)
1920s (7)

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Showing 1-5 of 223 (next | show all)
Classic, depressing Wharton. The characterization is phenominal, and the passage of time well represented by. Society of 1800's New York is well represented by the juxtoposition of the "foreign" Madame Olenska and May Welland/Archer, and the struggle of Newland Archer, who must choose between the two - and the lives that they represent. Of course, the author is Wharton, and that means that the ending is depressing, if satisfying to the reader, who knows how society dictates it must end. It is interesting that this particular book is about convention to society, whereas Wharton, with her untraditional, if not entirely unhappy, endings tends to defy the society of women authors of her time. ( )
1 vote J9Plourde | Jun 13, 2017 |
Edith Wharton's Pulitzer Prize winning novel is a classic story of one man's struggle over obsessive love and his duty to his family and class.Archer Newland is a well-bred New Yorker from the best of families in the late nineteenth century. He has his calm and serene life well mapped out for him including his fiancee and future wife, May. Every thing is going along without a hitch until one night he goes to the opera to meet May and her family and meets May's older cousin Ellen, the Countess Olenska who has fled her aristocratic husband and returned to New York to find safety among her family.

Archer finds himself being drawn more and more into Ellen's orbit and also finds himself questioning the self-satisfied life of his family and friends. He is torn between wanting to follow his grand passion and his feelings of obligation towards his finance (and then wife) who more and more appears to be vapid and conventional when compared to his heart's desire.

Wharton's writing draws the reader into the closed society of New York in the 1870's -and deftly shows how society closes around May and her family and makes sure that Archer does the right thing.This is a classic story that is told magnificently. ( )
  etxgardener | May 21, 2017 |
2008: (old Pul Prize Winner)
NYC Society rituals, + ladders
what's love got to do with it

2010: so many rules / restrictions — NY in 1800's
go to Europe for a break — freer there?
people w/ new $ out — old ways etc.

This is Newland Archer’s world as he prepares to marry the beautiful but conventional May Welland. But when the mysterious Countess Ellen Olenska returns to New York after a disastrous marriage, Archer falls deeply in love with her. Torn between duty and passion, Archer struggles to make a decision that will either courageously define his life—or mercilessly destroy it.
  christinejoseph | May 15, 2017 |
A must read ( )
  Sixtravelbugs | Mar 11, 2017 |
This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.com & Bookstooge's Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge's Exalted Permission. Title: The Age of Innocence Series: ------ Author: Edith Wharton Rating: 4 of 5 Stars Genre: Classic Pages: 305 Synopsis: Newland Archer marries one woman while loving another. And while the ending isn't a horrible double murder/suicide, [ha] it is just as empty and meaningless. My Thoughts: I really enjoyed reading this. Wharton was a master wordsmith and her skill at weaving a story together just kept me tied to the pages. Each weekend that I'd read my allotted 25% was something that I looked forward to. It has been awhile since I've had a book like this. With that being said... This has to be one of the saddest, emptiest books I've read in quite some time as well. Newland is tied down with Convention, hoisted up on a cross of Ideals, that are based on Nothing. There is nothing worse than Empty Ideals. It is like seeing someone wrapped in chains and being thrown into a pool of piranhas. One little difference and those Empty Ideals can be Ideals and those chains can become Life Lines, offering escape from those piranhas. Bleh. As much as I enjoyed this, I don't think I'll be reading any more by Wharton. I do not want to fill my Mind with this depressing stuff. I also know I used a lot of Caps. I'm just in that kind of mood right now. I could write a lot about this book, but you know what? I don't want to. The above encapsulates everything I need to know so in 10 years I can remember why I didn't read anymore of Wharton. I still recommend this book. Weird, isn't it? " ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 223 (next | show all)
The appearance of such a book as "The Age of Innocence" by an American is a matter for public rejoicing. It is one of the best novels of the twentieth century and looks like a permanent addition to literature.
So how can Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence possibly be the greatest New York novel of all time? Well, it is. It builds itself, obsessively, out of all the essential New York themes.

» Add other authors (94 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wharton, Edithprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Auchincloss, LouisIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dayne, BrendaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Horovitch, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Howard, MaureenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnson, DianeIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lewis, R.W.B.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lively, PenelopeIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Negri, PietroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Orgel, StephenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pisani, TommasoIntroduzionesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Raver, LornaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shore, StephenPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, Lawrence BeallIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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On a January evening of the early seventies, Christine Nilsson was singing in Faust at the Academy of Music in New York.
And he felt himself oppressed by this creation of factitious purity, so cunningly manufactured by a conspiracy of mothers and aunts and grandmothers and long-dead ancestresses, because it was supposed to be what he wanted, what he had a right to, in order that he might exercise his lordly pleasure in smashing it like an image made of snow.
It was the old New York way of taking life" without effusion of blood": the way of people who dreaded scandal more than disease, who placed decency above courage, and who considered that nothing was more ill-bred than "scenes", except the behavior of those who gave rise to them.
When he thought of Ellen Olenska it was abstractly, serenely, as one might think of some imaginary beloved in a book or a picture: she had become the composite vision of all that he had missed.
That terrifying product of the social system he belonged to and believed in, the young girl who knew nothing and expected everything, looked back at him like a stranger through May Welland's familiar features; and once more it was borne in on him that marriage was not the safe anchorage he had been taught to think, but a voyage on uncharted seas.
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Book description
In the conformist, closed world of upper-class New York, Newland Archer anticipates his marriage to May Welland, a young girl "who knew nothing and expected everything". Into this ordered arrangement bursts May's cousin, Ellen, the mysterious and exotic Countess Olenska, on the run from an appallingly unhappy marriage. She alternately captivates and outrages the New York milieu and, as Newland's sympathy for her deepens into love, he not only gains insight into the brutality of society's treatment of women, but discovers the real anguish of loving outside its rules. Critical, compassionate, and acutely perceptive about both the individual and the defensiveness of society, The Age of Innocence is perhaps Edith Wharton's finest work.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 159308143X, Paperback)

Somewhere in this book, Wharton observes that clever liars always come up with good stories to back up their fabrications, but that really clever liars don't bother to explain anything at all. This is the kind of insight that makes The Age of Innocence so indispensable. Wharton's story of the upper classes of Old New York, and Newland Archer's impossible love for the disgraced Countess Olenska, is a perfectly wrought book about an era when upper-class culture in this country was still a mixture of American and European extracts, and when "society" had rules as rigid as any in history.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:34 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Newland Archer begins to question the values of high society in Victorian New York when he finds himself torn between two very different women--his proper young fiancee and her exotic cousin.

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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Urban Romantics

2 editions of this book were published by Urban Romantics.

Editions: 1909438820, 1909438839

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