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.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Candace Waid's authoritative edition of The Age of Innocence is accompanied by a collection of exceptionally illuminating biographical, critical, and historical texts. In particular, her richly researched assemblage of period comments on 'old New York' (including an astonishing recipe for 'Roman Punch' and some sardonic analyses of 'Manners for the Metropolis') wonderfully captures the often nearly lunatic ferocity of the society in which Wharton's great novel is so brilliantly set. --Sandra M. Gilbert, University of California, Davis"