The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton
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Edith Wharton

The Age of Innocence

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The Age of Innocence is Edith Wharton's twelfth novel, initially serialized in four parts in the Pictorial Review magazine in 1920, and later released by D. Appleton and Company as a book in New York and in London. It won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, making Wharton the first woman to win the prize. Though the committee initially agreed to award the prize to Sinclair Lewis, the judges rejected his Main Street on political grounds and "established Wharton as the American 'First Lady of Letters'", the irony being that the committee had awarded The Age of Innocence the prize on grounds that negated Wharton's own blatant and subtle ironies, which constitute and make the book so worthy of attention. The story is set in upper-class New York City in the 1870s, during the Gilded Age. Wharton wrote the book in her 50s, after she had established herself as a strong author with publishers clamoring for her work.
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The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton

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One of the most intricate book on relationships. I had no expectations when started this book apart from this being an American classic, but turned out to be a deep and beautifully told story of a fragile balance of social status, responsibilities, kindness and love. The storyline is perhaps another version of man’s spiritual journey as in Pushkin’s Eugen Onegin and a male version of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. The main character is an extremely well bread American gentleman who outgrew the norms of society and whose vague dissatisfaction with what life in the New York upper class of the late 19th century could give have transformed into a love to an equally intelligent and passionate woman he could never marry. The final part of the book give the novel several more layers of meaning and leave reader with an emotional aftertaste which is hard to dismiss without reflecting on one’s own life choices and their price for oneself and others close by.

She and Mr. van der Luyden were so exactly alike that Archer often wondered how, after forty years of the closest conjugality, two such merged identities ever separated themselves enough for anything as controversial as a talking-over.
She had appeared there first, in Newland Archer's boyhood, as a brilliantly pretty little girl of nine or ten, of whom people said that she "ought to be painted." Her parents had been continental wa
Untrained human nature was not frank and innocent; it was full of the twists and defences of an instinctive guile.
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