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The Age of Innocence (Barnes & Noble Classics) Paperback – August 26, 2004
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"It is one of the best novels of the twentieth century and ... a permanent addition to literature." -- New York Times Book Review, October 17, 1920 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
That is the Gilded Age, and nobody knew its hypocrises better than Edith Wharton.... and nobody portrayed them as well. "The Age of Innocence" is a trip back in time to the stuffy upper crust of "old New York," taking us through one respectable man's hopeless love affair with a beautiful woman -- and the life he isn't brave enough to have.
Newland Archer, of a wealthy old New York family, has become engaged to pretty, naive May Welland. But as he tries to get their wedding date moved up, he becomes acquainted with May's exotic cousin, Countess Ellen Olenska, who has returned home after dumping her cheating husband. At first, the two are just friends, but Newland becomes more and more entranced by the Countess' easy, free-spirited European charm.
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 the safe, dull life that he has condemned in others?
There's nothing too scandalous about "Age of Innocence" in a time when starlets acquire and discard boyfriends and husbands like old pantyhose -- it probably wasn't in the 1920s when it was first published. But then, this isn't a book about sexiness and steam -- it's part bittersweet romance, part social satire, and a look at what happens when human beings lose all spontaneity and passion.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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 freedom and her willingness to risk all, socially, by flouting convention. Both Ellen and Newland, however, are products of their upbringing and their culture, and they dutifully 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 either of them will finally state their feelings pervades the novel.
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, and social rules were changing. Her ability to show the conflict between a person's desire for freedom and his/her need for social acceptance is striking.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The language that Wharton uses is so lyrical. Perhaps that is true of many books written in the era. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Celia Phillips
An excellent classic novel, The Age of Innocence had me laughing and held my interest through to the end. A must read.Published 6 days ago by mapleben
Really enjoyed the intricacies of her characters. So much so that I plan to read more of her works. Great story.Published 7 days ago by Judy
Enjoyed the contrast of propriety between Archer' s parent's , his and his children's generations. The angst. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Dianne J. Jones
Wonderful period novel. The unrequited love, the social hypocrasy, and the elegant manners of a bygone era are fascinating to observe. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Abby
Just not one of my favorite books. I did not get Into this book for a long time. Sort of boring.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I saw the picture so I thought I would read the book. It gives such insight to the times. And The many many rules they lived by
that were for the rich.
I really enjoyed this book. I would recommend it to anyone who loves this time period in New York.Published 1 month ago by K. Masvidal
Wharton is one of the greatest writers of our era. Given her childhood, only pure genius can account for her amazing accomplishments. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Cnedzela