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The Age of Innocence - Edith Wharton

The Age of Innocence

Paperback Published: 4th March 1998
ISBN: 9780684842370
Number Of Pages: 384

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‘I want - I want somehow to get away with you into a world where words like that - categories like that - won’t exist. Where we shall be simply two human beings who love each other, who are the whole of life to each other; and nothing else on earth will matter.’

Newland Archer, a successful and charming young lawyer conducts himself by the rules and standards of the polite, upper class New York society that he resides in. Happily engaged to the pretty and conventional May Welland, his attachment guarantees his place in this rigid world of the elite.

However, the arrival of May’s cousin, the exotic and beautiful European Countess Olenska throws Newland’s life upside down. A divorcee, Olenska is ostracised by those around her, yet Newland is fiercely drawn to her wit, determination and willingness to flout convention. With the Countess, Newland is freed from the limitations that surround him and truly begins to ‘feel’ for the first time.

Wharton’s subtle exposé of the manners and etiquette of 1870s New York society is both comedic, subtle, satirical and cynical in style and paints an evocative picture of a man torn between his passion and his obligation.

About the Author

Edith Newbold Jones was born into such wealth and privilege that her family inspired the phrase "keeping up with the Joneses." The youngest of three children, Edith spent her early years touring Europe with her parents and, upon the family's return to the United States, enjoyed a privileged childhood in New York and Newport, Rhode Island. Edith's creativity and talent soon became obvious: By the age of eighteen she had written a novella, (as well as witty reviews of it) and published poetry in the Atlantic Monthly.

After a failed engagement, Edith married a wealthy sportsman, Edward Wharton. Despite similar backgrounds and a shared taste for travel, the marriage was not a success. Many of Wharton's novels chronicle unhappy marriages, in which the demands of love and vocation often conflict with the expectations of society. Wharton's first major novel, The House of Mirth, published in 1905, enjoyed considerable literary success. Ethan Frome appeared six years later, solidifying Wharton's reputation as an important novelist. Often in the company of her close friend, Henry James, Wharton mingled with some of the most famous writers and artists of the day, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, André Gide, Sinclair Lewis, Jean Cocteau, and Jack London.

About This Seriesp. ix
Introductionp. 1
A Note on the Textp. 10
The Age of Innocencep. 11
Background Readingsp. 287
Questions of Culturep. 289
From "The Metropolitan Gentry: Culture against Politics"p. 289
From "The Genteel Tradition in American Philosophy"p. 294
From "Democratic Vistas"p. 300
From "Merchants and Masterpieces: The Story of the Metropolitan Museum of Art"p. 303
"The Location and Decoration of Houses in The Age of Innocence"p. 318
From How the Other Half Livesp. 332
Marriage and Divorcep. 338
From Domestic Revolutionsp. 338
From "For the Wedding Night"p. 345
Travel and Sportp. 348
From the Introduction to American Travel Writers, 1850-1915p. 349
From "Americans Abroad"p. 355
From "Newport"p. 357
From "The Lawn Set"p. 359
Anthropologyp. 364
From Violence and the Sacredp. 364
From Primitive Culturep. 366
Other Writingsp. 369
Writing The Age of Innocencep. 371
The Ways of Old New Yorkp. 372
The Childishness of American Womenp. 378
"The Valley of Childish Things"p. 380
Winning the Pulitizer Prizep. 381
Critical Readingsp. 385
From "The Composition of Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence"p. 387
From "Cool Diana and the Blood-Red Muse: Edith Wharton on Innocence and Art"p. 393
From "Becoming the Mask: Edith Wharton's Ingenues"p. 404
From "Angel of Devastation: Edith Wharton on the Arts of the Enslaved"p. 408
From "The Age of Innocence and the Bohemian Peril"p. 411
From "Edith Wharton: The Archeological Motive"p. 414
From "'Hunting for the Real': Wharton and the Science of Manners"p. 418
From "A Note on Wharton's Use of Faust"p. 430
From "The Mind in Chains: Public Plots and Personal Fables"p. 432
From "American Naturalism in Its 'Perfected' State: The Age of Innocence and An American Tragedy"p. 434
From "The Scorses Interview: On Filming The Age of Innocence"p. 441
"Of Writers and Class: In Praise of Edith Wharton"p. 448
Works Citedp. 454
For Further Readingp. 455
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780684842370
ISBN-10: 0684842378
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 384
Published: 4th March 1998
Publisher: Prentice Hall (a Pearson Education Company)
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.59 x 13.34  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.32
Edition Number: 1

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