The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

March 4, 2010 Whitney Review 3 Comments

The Age of Innocence by Edith WhartonThe Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
Published by Barnes & Noble Classic on August 26, 2004
Genres: Classic
Source: Gift

Winner of the 1921 Pulitzer Prize, The Age of Innocence is Edith Wharton’s masterful portrait of desire and betrayal during the sumptuous Golden Age of Old New York, a time when society people “dreaded scandal more than disease.”

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.

I enjoyed The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton but had a hard time feeling anything for the characters.  Both Archer’s and Ellen Olenska’s disappointments where their undoing.  The pair had no one to blame but themselves.  Although both did the honorable thing in the end.  To be honest, I only was concerned with May.  She reminded me of Melanie Wilkes, who while seeming naive knows more than she lets on, and now that I think about it the love triangle in both novels is rather similar too…


3 responses to “The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

  1. This is a beautiful novel, and one of my favorites. Edith Wharton was the first woman to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and it was for this novel in 1921. Personally, I think her novel, "The House of Mirth" is even better. Edith Wharton wrote the most wonderful short stories too; some are quite scary and macabre. I liked your perspectives on TAOI. Cheers! Chris

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