Age of Innocence

Age of Innocence

by Edith Wharton
Publisher: SeaWolf Press
Print-on-demand paperback, 281 pages
Price: $9.95

A nice edition with the first edition cover.

The Age of Innocence is a 1920 novel by American author Edith Wharton. It won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, making Wharton the first woman to win the prize. The judges established Wharton as the American ‘First Lady of Letters’. The story is set in the 1870’s, in upper-class, “Gilded Age” New York City. It is of New York Society in its Age of Innocence when it drove up Fifth Avenue in victorias. The breath of a newer day comes to it in Ellen, Countess Olenska, an American girl, who has fled under circumstances of a compromising nature from her brutal husband in Poland.

Winner of the 1921 Pulitzer Prize, The Age of Innocence is an elegant, masterful portrait of desire and betrayal in old New York. With vivid power, Wharton evokes a time of gaslit streets, formal dances held in the ballrooms of stately brownstones, and society people "who dreaded scandal more than disease." This is Newland Archer's world as he prepares to many the docile May Welland. Then, suddenly, the mysterious, intensely nonconformist Countess Ellen Olenska returns to New York after a long absence, turning Archer's world upside down.

This classic Wharton tale of thwarted love is an exuberantly comic and profoundly moving look at the passions of the human heart, as well as a literary achievement of the highest order.

Did you find this review helpful?