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The Age of Innocence

Winner of the 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 scan Part of why I love The Age of Innocence so much is for the very reason my students hate it the subtlety of action in a society constrained by its own ridiculous rules and s In Old New York conformity is key and the upper crust go about a life of ritual that has no substance or meaning Both men and women are victims in this world as both are denied economic intellectual and creative outlets All the world s a stage in Wharton s New York and everyone wears a mask of society s creation Such is the norm until Newland ArcherSymbolically Newland represents an America on the cusp of modernization the awkward period of transition between the Victorian era and World War I At first a devout member of New York aristocracy Newland is awakened as one from a trance with the arrival of Countess Ellen Olenska Ellen decides to separate from her abusive husband Count Olenski and is rud to have escaped the Count by having an affair with his secretary a scandalous circumstance that brings her back home to her native New York Vibrant intellectual and free spirited when compared with the dowdy and restrained women he s known Ellen s predicament is a revelation to Newland As he himself has just ended an affair with a married woman and knows the ease with which society forgave his indiscretion when contrasted with Ellen Newland begins to acknowledge the ineuality amongst the sexes However there s a serious roadblock to Newland ever being with the captivating Ellen Ellen is the cousin of May Welland Newland s fiancee Wharton writes with cutting wit about the hypocritical and ludicrous customs of blue blood society and cunningly plots events to work against Newland the archer whose target is a new land in which he and Ellen can be together The pity is that ultimately May proves to be the cunning huntress who cleverly stalks and traps her uarry in the labyrinth of societyCross posted at This Insignificant Cinder Beyond the Pale upper crust go about a life of ritual that has no substance or meaning Both men and women are victims in this world as both are denied economic intellectual and creative outlets All the world s a stage in Wharton s New York and everyone wears a mask of society s creation Such is the norm The Black Ice Score (Parker, until Newland ArcherSymbolically Newland represents an America on the cusp of modernization the awkward period of transition between the Victorian era and World War I At first a devout member of New York aristocracy Newland is awakened as one from a trance with the arrival of Countess Ellen Olenska Ellen decides to separate from her abusive husband Count Olenski and is rud to have escaped the Count by having an affair with his secretary a scandalous circumstance that brings her back home to her native New York Vibrant intellectual and free spirited when compared with the dowdy and restrained women he s known Ellen s predicament is a revelation to Newland As he himself has just ended an affair with a married woman and knows the ease with which society forgave his indiscretion when contrasted with Ellen Newland begins to acknowledge the ineuality amongst the sexes However there s a serious roadblock to Newland ever being with the captivating Ellen Ellen is the cousin of May Welland Newland s fiancee Wharton writes with cutting wit about the hypocritical and ludicrous customs of blue blood society and cunningly plots events to work against Newland the archer whose target is a new land in which he and Ellen can be together The pity is that The Black Painting ultimately May proves to be the cunning huntress who cleverly stalks and traps her Fire and Desire uarry in the labyrinth of societyCross posted at This Insignificant Cinder

Read & Download ê PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB ß Edith Wharton

S marriage Archer falls deeply in love with her Torn between duty and passion Archer struggles to make a decision The Age PDFEPUB or that will either courageously define his life or mercilessly destroy i This book which examines lives stifled by the social conventions of 1870s Manhattan is a classic masterpiece precisely because it is anything but conventional Ironically it had me longing for the lovers to dip their toes in love story convention by finding a hotel room at least once especially with lines like this one Each time you happen to me all over again Oh Newland Archer Oh Ellen OlenskaBut no the brilliant Edith Wharton doesn t allow it She stays the course showing the follies of Old New York society the sometimes impossible and suffocating nature of marriage and the changeability of social s that seem so important in the moment but which are forgotten with the passing of a few years She also shows how both noble and tragic it is to do the right thing rather than chasing happiness where it fliesThe poignancy of resignation and missed opportunities reminds me of similar themes addressed in The Remains of the Day And though Wharton s Pulitzer Prize winning novel was written almost a hundred years ago it still feels fresh and relevant This was my second reading of this book The last time I read it was probably two decades ago so it was almost like I was reading it for the first time The only thing I can remember of my first reading was the feeling I had as I turned the last page The overwhelming sense of I loved this and must read it again I had the same experience this time I guess some things just don t change

Edith Wharton ß 6 Read

Dal 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 disastrou Appearances can be deceiving as this superb classic novel revealsNewland Archer has the perfect life rich young and good looking a member in excellent standing of New York s High Society of 1871 during the Golden Age These people feel not like prisoners but brave members of a group keeping back the barbarians at the gate Newland is engaged to a beautiful charming girl May Welland also in the exclusive association who loves him But then her mysterious cousin arrives from Europe Countess Ellen Olenska married to a brute a Polish nobleman who repeatedly degrades her showing contempt for their marriage by parading lowly women in front of the Countess Not trying to hide his transgressions letting the world know it The fleeing woman is a childhood playmate of Mr Archer and he can still remember her as she he First seeing the fugitive again at the Opera with his future bride and family in their box May loves her cousin and Ellen loves May The Countess causes uite a stir with the audience men look approvingly at the attractive lady women critical Poor Ellen as the relatives call her living with an unconventional grandmother Mrs Manson Mingott so obese she needs help to get up nevertheless the lady is the head of the family and people listen to even though she has strange ways then again very rich but stingy There is an unstated powerful attraction between Archer and Ellen still duty prevents anything unsavory from happening besides Newland believes in the proper way of doing things A self described dilettante who goes through the motions of being a lawyer in an office where he has little to do Archer lives with his widowed mother Mrs Adeline Archer she is forever saying that everything is changing for the worse in the city and spinster sister Janey they look so alike the two could be sisters both depend on each other for companionship He s a secret fanatic a bookworm receiving the latest editions from London staying in a room reading that s when the gentleman is happy Mr Archer has no close friends the only person he can feel comfortable with be himself is Ned Winsett a penniless struggling journalist but of the lower class with a sick wife Newland wants his wedding to happen earlier than is the established custom hoping temptations will end if he is married to May Even traveling to StAugustine Florida on a surprise visit where May is vacationing with her family for that purpose his boss is not elated Mr Archer is wrong clearly the gentleman loves the Countess and she returns the sentiment Boorish banker Julius Beaufort vastly wealthy an uncouth foreigner married to an influential and uite proper lady a New York society woman with a propensity to break all the rules is chasing the skittish Ellen she needs to get away They meet clandestinely in Boston the Countess and Archer away from the prying eyes of everyone the two hope just to hold each other At a family gathering in Newport Rhode Island Newland is told to fetch Ellen he goes down to the beach sees her on the pier passionately stares for a long time and retreats back to the house it would not be proper he thinks An elegy saturates the whole book from the first page to the last


10 thoughts on “The Age of Innocence

  1. says:

    “We can't behave like people in novels though can we” A few years ago I read The Age of Innocence and thought it was okay It has something of an Austen esue feel criticisms of middleupper middle class society paired with a subtle and clever humour and a love story here deliciously scandalous But it's taken me a few ye

  2. says:

    Part of why I love The Age of Innocence so much is for the very reason my students hate it the subtlety of action in a soc

  3. says:

    ‘The longing was with him day and night an incessant undefinable craving like the sudden whim of a sick man for food or drink once tasted and long since forgotten He could not see beyond the craving or picture what it might lead to for he was not conscious of any wish to speak to Madame Olenska or to hear her voice He simply felt that if he could carry away the vision of the spot of earth she walked on and the way the sky and s

  4. says:

    The blurb on GR gives a good summary so I will start with that as the first paragraphWinner of the 1921 Pulitzer Prize The Age of Innocence is Edith Wharton’s masterful portrait of desire and betrayal during t

  5. says:

    The most perfect ending in literature I'll never get over it

  6. says:

    Appearances can be deceiving as this superb classic novel revealsNewland Archer has the perfect life rich young and good looking a member in excellent standing of New York's High Society of 1871 during the Golden Age These people feel not like prisoners but brave members of a group keeping back the barbarians at the gate Newland i

  7. says:

    Myself and the Pulitzer prize have previously not always seen eye to eye but Finally I have read one worthy of giving top marks to This golden oldie captures the wholesome atmosphere of American life and the highest standard of American manners and manhood from a bygone era where modern ideas are resisted and tradition overcomes compassion

  8. says:

    “Each time you happen to me all over again” Imagine that person you love most in this world right within your grasp but somehow out of reach An invisible thin wall keeping you apart Apart but not away from each other Together yet not with each other This is the worst form of torture a torture of invisible chains and soundless screams Constantly seeing each other constantly being reminded of what cannot be Constantl

  9. says:

    This book which examines lives stifled by the social conventions of 1870s Manhattan is a classic masterpiece precisely because it is anything but conventional Ironically it had me longing for the lovers to dip the

  10. says:

    Yes indeedy what could be jejune than another early 20th century novelist choosing as her subject the problematic relations between the sexes amongst the idle rich D H Lawrence and Henry James do the same the firs

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