Item description for The Age of Innocence (Dodo Press) by Edith Wharton...
Large format paper back for easy reading. A 19th Century story of frustrated love set amidst the contrasting cultures of Old Europe and the New World
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.98" Width: 5.98" Height: 0.87" Weight: 0.84 lbs.
Release Date Jun 30, 2005
Publisher Dodo Press
ISBN 1905432135 ISBN13 9781905432134
Availability 132 units. Availability accurate as of Oct 20, 2016 05:22.
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More About Edith Wharton
Edith Wharton (1862-1937) was born into high society in New York City. After divorcing her husband in 1913 she took up permanent residence in France. Her many stories and novels were critical successes as well as bestsellers and she won the Pulitzer Prize for The Age of Innocence in 1921.
Edith Wharton was born in 1862 and died in 1937.
Edith Wharton has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about The Age of Innocence (Dodo Press)?
"An atmosphere of faint implications and pale delicacies." Sep 4, 2005
Newland Archer, the protagonist of this ironically entitled novel set in the late nineteenth century, is a proper New York gentleman, and part of a society which adheres to strict social codes, subordinating all aspects of life to doing what is expected, which is synonymous with doing what it right. As the author remarks early in the novel, "Few things were more awful than an offense against Taste." Newland meets and marries May Welland, an unimaginative, shallow young woman whose upbringing has made her the perfect, inoffensive wife, one who knows how to behave and how to adhere to the "rules" of the society in which they live.
When Newland is reintroduced to May's cousin, Countess Ellen Olenska, who has left her husband in Europe and now wants a divorce, he finds himself utterly captivated by her independence and her willingness to risk all, socially, by flouting convention. Both Ellen and Newland are products of their upbringing and their culture, however, and they resist their feelings because of their separate social obligations. Various meetings between them suggest that their feelings are far stronger than what is obvious on the surface, and the question of whether they will finally state the obvious or act on their feelings constitutes the plot.
Wharton creates an exceptionally realistic picture of New York in the post-Civil War era, a time in which aristocrats of inherited wealth found themselves competing socially with parvenus. Her ability to show the conflict between a person's need for social acceptance and the desire for personal freedom is striking. As the various characters make their peace with their decisions--either to challenge or yield to social dictates--the novel achieves an unusual dramatic tension, subtle because of its lack of direct confrontation and powerful in its effects on individual destinies. This is, in fact, less an "age of innocence" than it is an age of social manipulation.
Wharton herself manipulates the reader--some of her best dialogues and scenes are those the characters never actually have--conversations that they imagine, confrontations which they never allow themselves to have, and resolutions which happen through inaction rather than through decision-making. Filled with acute social observations, the novel shows individuals convincing themselves that obeying social dictates is the right thing to do. Though the novel sometimes seems claustrophobic due to its limitations on action, Age of Innocence brilliantly captures the age and attitudes of the era. Mary Whipple
Not so innocent "Age" Aug 26, 2005
Nobody knew the hypocrises of "old New York" better than Edith Wharton, and nobody portrayed them as well. In "The Age of Innocence," Wharton took readers on a trip through the stuffy upper crust of 1870s New York, wrapped up in a hopeless love affair.
Newland Archer, of a wealthy old New York family, has become engaged to pretty, naive May. But as he tries to get their wedding date moved up, he becomes acquainted with May's exotic cousin, Countess Olenska, who has returned home after dumping her cheating count husband. At first, the two are friends, but then they become something more.
After Newland marries May, the attraction to the mysterious Countess and her free, unconventional life becomes even stronger. He starts to rebel in little ways, but he's still mired in a 100% conventional marriage, job and life. Will he become an outcast and go away with the beautiful countess, or will he stick with May and a safe, dull life?
There's nothing too scandalous about "Age of Innocence" in a time when J.Lo acquires and discards boyfriends and husbands like old pantyhose. Probably it wasn't in the 1920s, when the book was first published. But this isn't a book to read if you appreciate sexiness and steam -- instead it's a social satire, a bittersweet romance, and a look at what happens when human beings lose all spontaneity and passion.
Wharton brings old New York to life in this book -- opulent, beautiful, cultured, yet empty and kind of boring. It is "where the real thing was never said or done or even thought," so tied up in tradition that nobody there really lives. And even though the unattainable countess is beautiful and sweet, it becomes obvious after awhile that Newland is actually in love with the idea of breaking out of his conventional life.
Wharton's writing is a bit like a giant rosebud -- it takes forever to fully open. So don't be discouraged by the endless conversations about flowers, ballrooms and gloves. Wharton put them in to illustrate her point about New York at that time, and all the stories about different families, scandals and customs are actually very important.
Newland seems like a rather boring person, since he only has brief bursts of individuality. But he gets more interesting when he struggles between his conscience and his longing for freedom. May is (suitably) pallid and a bit dull, while the Countess is alluringly mysterious and unconsciously rebellious. The fact that she doesn't TRY to rebel makes her far more interesting than Newland.
"Age of Innocence" considered a story about a man in love with an unattainable woman, but it's also about that man straining against a stagnant, hypocritical society. Rich, intriguing and beautifully written.