The Age of Innocence (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century)

The Age of Innocence (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century)

by Cynthia Wolff (Introduction), Laura Quinn (Editor), Edith Wharton (Author)

Synopsis

The return of the beautiful Countess Olenska into the rigidly conventional society of New York sends reverberations throughout the upper reaches of society. Newland Archer, an eligible young man of the establishment is about to announce his engagement to May Welland, a pretty ingenue, when May's cousin, Countess Olenska, is introduced into their circle. The Countess brings with her an aura of European sophistication and a hint of scandal, having left her husband and claimed her independence. Her sorrowful eyes, her tragic worldliness and her air of unapproachability attract the sensitive Newland and, almost against their will, a passionate bond develops between them. But Archer's life has no place for passion and, with society on the side of May and all she stands for, he finds himself drawn into a bitter conflict between love and duty.

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More Information

Format: Paperback
Pages: 368
Edition: Revised ed.
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Published: 30 May 1996

ISBN 10: 014018970X
ISBN 13: 9780140189704
Prizes: Winner of Pulitzer Prize Novel Category 1921.

Media Reviews
Is it--in this world--vulgar to ask for more? To entreat a little wildness, a dark place or two in the soul? --Katherine Mansfield

There is no woman in American literature as fascinating as the doomed Madame Olenska. . . . Traditionally, Henry James has always been placed slightly higher up the slope of Parnassus than Edith Wharton. But now that the prejudice against the female writer is on the wane, they look to be exactly what they are: giants, equals, the tutelary and benign gods of our American literature. --Gore Vidal

Will writers ever recover that peculiar blend of security and alertness which characterizes Mrs. Wharton and her tradition? --E. M. Forster

Author Bio
Edith Wharton was born Edith Newbold Jones on January 24, 1862, during the American Civil War. Wharton published her first short story in 1891; her first story collection, The Greater Inclination, in 1899; a novella called The Touchstone in 1900; and her first novel, a historical romance called The Valley of Decision, in 1902. The book that made Wharton famous was The House of Mirth, published in 1905. She died in 1937.