The Age of Innocence (Collector's Library)

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As the scion of one of New York's leading families, Newland Archer has been born into a life of sumptuous privilege and strict duty. A sensitive, intelligent young man, he still respects the rigid social code by which his class live: and as he complacently contemplates his forthcoming marriage to the striking and equally well-born May Welland, he gives thanks that she is "one of his own kind." But the arrival of the Countess Olenska, a free spirit who breathes clouds of European sophistication, makes him question...
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The Age of Innocence

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Overview

As the scion of one of New York's leading families, Newland Archer has been born into a life of sumptuous privilege and strict duty. A sensitive, intelligent young man, he still respects the rigid social code by which his class live: and as he complacently contemplates his forthcoming marriage to the striking and equally well-born May Welland, he gives thanks that she is "one of his own kind." But the arrival of the Countess Olenska, a free spirit who breathes clouds of European sophistication, makes him question the path on which his upbringing has set him. As his fascination with her grows, he discovers just how hard it is to escape the bounds of the society that has shaped him. Edith Wharton's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is at once a poignant story of frustrated love and an extraordinary vivid, delightfully satirical record of a vanished world.

Edith Wharton was born in 1862 to a prominent and wealthy New York family. In 1885 she married a Boston socialite; the couple traveled frequently and settled in France in 1907, but the marriage was unhappy and they divorced in 1913. On her trips to Europe Wharton became a close friend of the novelist Henry James. Her first major novel was The House of Mirth (1905); many short stories, travel books, memoirs and novels followed, including Ethan Frome (1911), The Reef (1912) and The Age of Innocence (1920). Wharton was decorated for her humanitarian work during the First World War. She died in France in 1937.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780760757703
  • Publisher: Sterling Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/30/2004
  • Series: Barnes & Noble Collector's Library
  • Edition description: Pocket-Sized Unabridged Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 3.94 (w) x 6.18 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Edith Wharton
One of America's most important novelists, Edith Wharton was a refined, relentless chronicler of the Gilded Age and its social mores. Along with close friend Henry James, she helped define literature at the turn of the 20th century, even as she wrote classic nonfiction on travel, decorating and her own life.

Biography

Edith Newbold Jones was born January 24, 1862, into such wealth and privilege that her family inspired the phrase "keeping up with the Joneses." The youngest of three children, Edith spent her early years touring Europe with her parents and, upon the family's return to the United States, enjoyed a privileged childhood in New York and Newport, Rhode Island. Edith's creativity and talent soon became obvious: By the age of eighteen she had written a novella, (as well as witty reviews of it) and published poetry in the Atlantic Monthly.

After a failed engagement, Edith married a wealthy sportsman, Edward Wharton. Despite similar backgrounds and a shared taste for travel, the marriage was not a success. Many of Wharton's novels chronicle unhappy marriages, in which the demands of love and vocation often conflict with the expectations of society. Wharton's first major novel, The House of Mirth, published in 1905, enjoyed considerable Literary Success. Ethan Frome appeared six years later, solidifying Wharton's reputation as an important novelist. Often in the company of her close friend, Henry James, Wharton mingled with some of the most famous writers and artists of the day, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, André Gide, Sinclair Lewis, Jean Cocteau, and Jack London.

In 1913 Edith divorced Edward. She lived mostly in France for the remainder of her life. When World War I broke out, she organized hostels for refugees, worked as a fund-raiser, and wrote for American publications from battlefield frontlines. She was awarded the French Legion of Honor for her courage and distinguished work.

The Age of Innocence, a novel about New York in the 1870s, earned Wharton the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1921 -- the first time the award had been bestowed upon a woman. Wharton traveled throughout Europe to encourage young authors. She also continued to write, lying in her bed every morning, as she had always done, dropping each newly penned page on the floor to be collected and arranged when she was finished. Wharton suffered a stroke and died on August 11, 1937. She is buried in the American Cemetery in Versailles, France.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of The Age of Innocence.

Good To Know

Upon the publication of The House of Mirth in 1905, Wharton became an instant celebrity, and the the book was an instant bestseller, with 80,000 copies ordered from Scribner's six weeks after its release.

Wharton had a great fondness for dogs, and owned several throughout her life.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Edith Newbold Jones Wharton (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 24, 1862
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Death:
      August 11, 1937
    2. Place of Death:
      Saint-Brice-sous-ForĂȘt, France

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 145 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(57)

4 Star

(41)

3 Star

(23)

2 Star

(11)

1 Star

(13)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 92 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 1, 2011

    One of the greatest historical romance classics ever!

    This was beautifully written, drew you into that time period, old New York, and made you feel the cultural and social pressures of that time. I love how this was seen through the guy's perspective, how Newland had to choose between what he wanted versus what was expected of him. The subtley of gestures and what was not said revealed more, expressed the underlying messages and meanings. The realism of these characters and their situation like May and Newland's conversation at the end, brilliantly represent an age in our history. For all these reasons, I think this book is wonderful. Pride and Prejudice does not compare, though probably more entertaining, but not as well written or multi-layered. This book takes the cake!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2011

    Watch out for spelling

    This is a wonderful story and a classic however this free copy was terrible many many words spelled incorrectly and symbols added inappropriately made for very difficult reading try to find another copy

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  • Posted April 18, 2011

    good table of contents

    its rare to find a nook table of contents with links to each chapter. i likey

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  • Posted December 26, 2010

    errors

    many over all errors throughout the entire book

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  • Posted December 6, 2010

    OCR Errors Galore. Don't Bother.

    Typical of Google Books, this scanned text is full of uncorrected Optical Character Recognition errors. Get a better free one or plump $1 for something readable.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2010

    Not worth your time

    I had to read this book for my book club. It was horrible and not worth my time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2006

    Great book

    Very good book in my opinon. I had to read it for English class this summer and at first was wary. The beginning was a little slow, and I had to look up many of the vocabulary used. But overall, I really liked this story. My heart broke that they couldnt be together. I used they could have, but that wasnt the way it was back then I guess. I recommnd this to people who love a good romance read, even if the ending was a tad disapointing...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2002

    The Age of Innocence

    This was an outstanding novel. I would recommend everyone to read it. The way Edith wrote this novel makes you feel just as you are a part of the story line yourself. You learn how important it is to go with what your heart tells you to and don't do what society wants you to. Newland Archer learned that the hard way he did as the New York society wanted him to and not as he wanted to. He had a great life he thought until he met the woman that changed it forever. Ellen made his life more complicated than he ever thought it could be. She was a unique individual and thats what made Newland fall in love with her. Although he was to marry May , Ellens cousin. The heartbreak this story has in it is very sad and frustrating because you aren't able to tell them what to do. You just have to sit there and read about it, but you won't want to put the book down for wondering what Newland and Ellens next move will be. Poor May was so worried about what society thought that she wouldn't even admit Newland and Ellens love for each other. May was so stubborn not to realize what was going on right before her eyes. The ending of this book was the worst part about it. It doesn't happen like you would expect it to. In all it was a wonderful novel and I would read it over and over again if I could.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2002

    The best-...even if it's just my opinion

    I've read this book a while back already- but I can say, I've been looking for simular books now ever since. The vivid writing, the overall performance Warton presents is so outstanding that I wish I had a million of copies to give away with my recommendations! I also have to include, since I read this book at the age of 18 and saw a previous opinion: I think adolescents can handle it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2002

    The Age of Truth

    'The Age of Innocence' is a book that should never be given to adolescents to read. Why disillusion them so young? Only those of us who have been trapped by convention, duty, peer pressure and financial circumstances could ever fully appreciate the bittersweet conflict in Ms. Wharton¿s book. This novel asks the question, 'Is it an easier fate to live in blissful delusion as May does rather than the torment of knowing that you are deluded but powerless to do anything against it as Newland does? Unfortunately, life, for those of us who have lived it, is rarely one of choices although every endeavour is made to make us believe it is. As the character Shirley Valentine once said in the movie of the same name, 'We don¿t do what we want. We do what we have to and pretend it is what we want.' In truth, most of us are Newland Archer. Stuck between the world which we know and that which we can see flickering just beyond the stale conversations and trite responses. How galling! How cliché! How true.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2001

    The Passion of Innocence

    Edith Wharton's novel, The Age of Innocence, depicts late 19th century New York society. The novel is rich with cultural and historical references to the confining society of the 1870's. Wharton portrays the reality of this historical time: soical standing is of the utmost importance. A person's happiness is disregarded if it interferes with the well being of society. Wharton manifests this theme through the love affair between Newland Archer and Ellen Olenska. The couple cannot be together because of the social standards. Wharton's writing takes you there; you will truly feel the passion and excitement between the two lovers, as well as their anguish upon their ironic and harsh seperation. The movie, although true to Wharton's story, cannot capture the beauty of her words. An excellent novel for any reader.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2001

    So sad

    This was a very sad story. Newland, Ellen and May were all basically good people. Even though I felt sorriest for Newland, I also felt sad for Ellen and May. Ellen couldn't have the man that she loved and May got stuck with a man that she was hers physically but not emotionally. Each character eventually got what he/she wanted but not in the way that they expected. May got Newland in the end but he really didn't love her. Ellen got financial freedom from the Count but not Newland. Newland, who needed to feel 'cared for and safe' as much as Ellen, got a life with May that was safe and in which he was cared for, but he didn't get the woman that he loved. The ending broke my heart.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2001

    The Age of Innocence

    The Age of Innocence by: Edith Wharton, is set in old New York, in the early seventies. Newland Archer, a young man whose life consists of formal dances held in ballrooms, and brandy after dinner, is getting married. This is how life is for Newland before he gets married to May Welland. However, things change when a mysterious woman, Countess Ellen Olenska, returns from a long absence and meets Newland Archer. Newland¿s life is never the same after he meets this mystery woman. As the story progresses, Newland must make sacrifices for what is important in life, and consider the consequences. Throughout the story, passions of the heart are pouring through the pages. Edith Wharton creates the universal truth: that love never dies. A powerful novel about love and what you can and can¿t have in life. Edith Wharton uses dialogue to depict the universal truth. The characters are truly revealed when they are talking. Not only does the reader feel as if they are inside of the book, readers felt like they knew the characters. The feeling is so real, that the reader can easily relate, because of the use of dialogue. What they say and how they say reveal the characters. The characters¿ feelings of: passion, jealousy, happiness, and sadness. Edith Wharton conveys the true meaning of innocence: purity.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2001

    subtle and simple

    when i got hold of the novel, i thought it was just one of those that would really bore you to tears but i guess i was wrong. the theme was rather simple and the message was relayed with the subtlest effort. the reader is not lead into believing about fairytales and happy ending instead it gives us a peek of reality and the fact that it really bites.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2001

    A masterpiece through and through

    This story is a great one indeed. I read it willingly, and that does say alot! The romance plot is not exaggerated, really. Most of these novels that I read I expect to be mushy and not cool at all, but this is an exception. It had well-rounded characters (which I like), and a strong central character. All in all, I recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 1999

    ouch

    i suppose highschool students speak best for other highschool students, but doesn't it hurt when they slam the books we love. it makes me wonder why we bother the poor kids with literature. they don't need it, and, probably, they'd be better off without it. they'd at least be better off discovering these books on their own when they're ready for them. i didn't like them when i was in highschool either. fortunately, i went to a bad highschool where all we had to read was what was in the text book. i, a 26 yr. old guy, first read the age of innocence a few months ago. i have often heard of people crying over novels. this is the only novel that has ever made me cry. i actually reviewed this book a couple days ago, but found i had more to say. hopefully this will be the only one to get posted, but i doubt it. i'm sorry if they both appeared.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 1999

    absolutely wonderful

    i have often heard of people crying over books. this is the only one that has ever made me cry.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 92 Customer Reviews

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