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The age of innocence : authoritative text, background and contexts, sources, criticism
2003
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Awards
1921 - Pulitzer Prize for Fiction winner
Characters
Newland Archer (Male), Businessman, Married, Upper class, Proper; wants to break away from society's rules; longs for freedom; intrigued by Ellen's nonconformity; finds himself falling in love with Ellen; must decide if he should become a social outcast and run away with Ellen or stay in his safe, dull life and marriage
May Welland (Female), Socialite, Married, Newland's wife; unimaginative; shallow; knows how to behave and conform to the rules of society
Ellen Olenska (Female), Married, May's cousin; left her husband; wants a divorce; defies convention; finds herself falling in love with Newland
Genre
Classic
Literary
Fiction
Topics
Man-woman relationships
Cousins
Forbidden love
Victorian society
Weddings
Socialites
Love triangles
Life choices
Courtship
Marriage
Scandal
New York society
Upper classes
Hypocrisy
Setting
New York - Mid-Atlantic States (U.S.)
Time Period
1870s -- 19th century
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Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

A handful of Wharton's standards get the "Everyman's Library" upgrade. These are more expensive than paperback alternatives but still reasonably priced, and the hardcover quality is worth the extra bucks if you can afford it. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Summary
"Contexts" constructs the historical foundation for this very historical novel. Many documents are included on the "New York Four Hundred," elite social gatherings, archery (the sport for upper-crust daughters), as well as Wharton's manuscript outlines, letters, and related writings."Criticism" collects eleven American and British contemporary reviews and nine major essays on The Age of Innocence, including a groundbreaking piece on the two film adaptations of the novel."A Chronology and Selected Bibliography" are also included.
Table of Contents
About This Seriesp. ix
Introductionp. 1
A Note on the Textp. 10
Part 1The Age of Innocencep. 11
Part 2Background Readingsp. 287
Questions of Culturep. 289
From "The Metropolitan Gentry: Culture against Politics"    Thomas Benderp. 289
From "The Genteel Tradition in American Philosophy"    George Santayanap. 294
From "Democratic Vistas"    Walt Whitmanp. 300
From "Merchants and Masterpieces: The Story of the Metropolitan Museum of Art"    Calvin Tomkinsp. 303
"The Location and Decoration of Houses in The Age of Innocence"    Ada Van Gastelp. 318
From How the Other Half Lives    Jacob A. Rhsp. 332
Marriage and Divorcep. 338
From Domestic Revolutions    Steven Mintz and Susan Kelloggp. 338
From "For the Wedding Night"    J. Foote Binghamp. 345
Travel and Sportp. 348
From the Introduction to American Travel Writers, 1850-1915    Donald Ross and James J. Schramerp. 349
From "Americans Abroad"    Henry Jamesp. 355
From "Newport"    Henry Jamesp. 357
From "The Lawn Set"    William J. Bakerp. 359
Anthropologyp. 364
From Violence and the Sacred    Rene Girardp. 364
From Primitive Culture    Edward B. Tylorp. 366
Part 3Other Writings    Edith Whartonp. 369
Writing The Age of Innocencep. 371
The Ways of Old New Yorkp. 372
The Childishness of American Womenp. 378
"The Valley of Childish Things"p. 380
Winning the Pulitizer Prizep. 381
Part 4Critical Readingsp. 385
From "The Composition of Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence"    Alan Pricep. 387
From "Cool Diana and the Blood-Red Muse: Edith Wharton on Innocence and Art"    Elizabeth Ammonsp. 393
From "Becoming the Mask: Edith Wharton's Ingenues"    Judith P. Saundersp. 404
From "Angel of Devastation: Edith Wharton on the Arts of the Enslaved"    Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubarp. 408
From "The Age of Innocence and the Bohemian Peril"    Katherine Joslinp. 411
From "Edith Wharton: The Archeological Motive"    James W. Tuttletonp. 414
From "'Hunting for the Real': Wharton and the Science of Manners"    Nancy Bentleyp. 418
From "A Note on Wharton's Use of Faust"    Linda W. Wagnerp. 430
From "The Mind in Chains: Public Plots and Personal Fables"    Gary H. Lindbergp. 432
From "American Naturalism in Its 'Perfected' State: The Age of Innocence and An American Tragedy"    Donald Pizerp. 434
From "The Scorses Interview: On Filming The Age of Innocence"    Ian Christiep. 441
"Of Writers and Class: In Praise of Edith Wharton"    Gore Vidalp. 448
Works Citedp. 454
For Further Readingp. 455
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