The Age of Innocence (Collins Classics) [NOOK Book]

Overview

HarperCollins is proud to present a range of best-loved, essential classics.'I want – I want somehow to get away with you into a world where words like that – categories like that – won't exist. Where we shall be simply two human beings who love each other, who are the whole of life to each other; and nothing else on earth will matter.’Newland Archer, a successful and charming young lawyer conducts himself by the rules and standards of the polite, upper class New York society that he resides in. Happily engaged ...
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The Age of Innocence (Collins Classics)

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Overview

HarperCollins is proud to present a range of best-loved, essential classics.'I want – I want somehow to get away with you into a world where words like that – categories like that – won't exist. Where we shall be simply two human beings who love each other, who are the whole of life to each other; and nothing else on earth will matter.’Newland Archer, a successful and charming young lawyer conducts himself by the rules and standards of the polite, upper class New York society that he resides in. Happily engaged to the pretty and conventional May Welland, his attachment guarantees his place in this rigid world of the elite.However, the arrival of May’s cousin, the exotic and beautiful European Countess Olenska throws Newland’s life upside down. A divorcee, Olenska is ostracised by those around her, yet Newland is fiercely drawn to her wit, determination and willingness to flout convention. With the Countess, Newland is freed from the limitations that surround him and truly begins to ‘feel’ for the first time.Wharton’s subtle exposé of the manners and etiquette of 1870s New York society is both comedic, subtle, satirical and cynical in style and paints an evocative picture of a man torn between his passion and his obligation.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780007424580
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/4/2010
  • Series: Collins Classics
  • Sold by: Harper Collins UK
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: ePub edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 412,365
  • File size: 2 MB

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-Forêt, France

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 297 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(123)

4 Star

(76)

3 Star

(51)

2 Star

(21)

1 Star

(26)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 301 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 13, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Age of Innocence

    The Age of Innocence is a thought provoking literary piece which I enjoyed immensely. It is written in a simple, accessible style, yet deeply portrays human emotions and interactions in late 19th century New York City. This novel represents an account of high society life of the 1870s. The events of this novel are wrapped around a prevailing lifestyle of jealousy, shame, and excessive pride which colors the main characters. Not unlike many other segments of the society, then and now, the characters of this novel attempt to disguise these feelings through hypocrisy and deception.
    In a time where keeping appearances is everything, the protagonist, Newland Archer, is at conflict with himself. He is engaged to May Welland, who represents stability and the traditional high society life. He begins to fall in love, however, with May's cousin, Countess Ellen Olenska. After seeing Ellen and her freedom and spontaneity, he begins to question his life and why he feels the need to conform. He realizes how dull his life is and how materialistic and fake the high society aristocrats are. He loves May, but cannot stand the idea of living such a predictable life with no deeper meaning. In the end, he must choose between living the life he is expected to live with May, or being happy with Ellen, yet ruining the family name.

    24 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2008

    Worthy Classic

    So, I have to admit: this was not my favorite classic novel. However, I understand why it is a classic and I do feel it is well worth reading. I have a few issues with some of the characters and I wasn't as moved with the love story as many others were. To me, Newland did not have to marry May...he knew before he married her that he really wanted Ellen. So, I guess I don't pity him too much and I really don't know what he expected to happen other than the fact that he would never be happy with May. I'm really glad Ellen didn't allow him to cheat on May with her either. At least she showed some class. Overall, I loved seeing what old New York was like--wow, has it ever changed. Also, I loved the themes and dialogue of the novel. Follow your heart and don't live for others.

    8 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 13, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Easy to See Why It's A Classic...

    Loved this book. It gives an incredible view into New York society circa 1890's - all it's rules and duties. Newland Archer's conflict between what he wants to do and what he should do is engaging. It's heartbreaking to see him try to flap his wings only to have them clipped each time. One could say he should have had more character - the character to shun his duty and follow his heart. But it's hard to fault him for being an honorable man.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I know it's a classic, but...

    I had a hard time getting through this book. I kept having the feeling that I was missing parts of conversations; it seemed so much was implied. I would re-read paragraphs and still not get it.

    The characters are shallow & prissy; I didn't like anyone.

    If you're looking for beautifully written classics with wonderful characters, read Jane Eyre & The Scarlet Letter.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2006

    The Age of Innocence

    Newland Archer, a refined gentleman in the strict society of New York City, follows the expectations of others by deciding to lead a life of no excitement or adventure. In order to adhere to the rules of society, Archer decides to marry May Welland, a naïve, uncreative, and ignorant woman who firmly follows the rules of society. However, when May¿s cousin, Countess Olenska, comes to New York to flee from her husband, her rebellious freedom and zealous consciousness of life draw Newland Archer to her. Soon, Archer and the countess develop strong feelings for each other, but they must resist these feelings for social responsibilities. Unexpected meetings continuously occur between the two and the question of whether they will act upon their love is the main plot for this novel. As the wedding of Archer and May approaches, Countess Olenska and Archer decide to never be more than friends for the sake of May and their families. With the forgotten love and the unbearable struggle between Archer and the countess, Edith Wharton illustrates that sacrificing happiness to protect others is not an act of charity or goodness but an act of foolishness for what one loses through sacrifices cannot be regained. With the many ironic situations of uncertainty and captivating passion, The Age of Innocence powerfully portrays ¿a disturbingly accurate picture of men and women caught in a society that denies humanity while desperately defending civilization¿.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    A Five Star Ending I've had this book for years but finally got

    A Five Star Ending

    I've had this book for years but finally got around to reading it, spurred on by the sense that I haven't read enough American classics. I'm awarding 'The Age of Innocence' 4.5 stars and rounding to 4 for practical purposes, although, I must say, I think the ending of the novel is worthy of 5 stars.

    Why not 5 stars overall? I only award 5 stars to books that I really think will stay with me for life; things I'll want to keep coming back to to read again. 'The Age of Innocence' is such a very good, well-written novel, that the only reason I think it falls short of being in the 5 star category for me is maybe that the extent to which it is an incisive social observation of privileged society in latter-Nineteenth century New York compromises the extent to which it charts a very private and personal -and so timeless- love affair. However, the whole point of the book is an examination of how these private and public spheres of life interconnect (and, indeed, conflict), so I realise that my complaint is somewhat paradoxical!

    But I did think 'The Age of Innocence' was a great novel and I was struck by the frank modernity of Wharton's writing - perhaps due to the fact that this nineteenth century novel was published in the twentieth century.

    Towards the end of the book I became preoccupied with how the story would end. In conclusion, I found it ended in the only way it could, given what had gone before. And I thought it a truly five-star ending. I would recommend 'The Age of Innocence' to anyone who enjoys reading novels - it's a great novel.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2012

    nook book heads up

    This book is terrific and suprisingly funny. Just a heads up....in a few places the pages are jumbled so you might read all of page 118 and turn to 119 and suddenly be reading a different part of the book then a page or two later it will go back to what you were reading. Very frustrating, paper back would have been better.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2013

    The Age of Innocence

    Fantastic book. So well written. Edith Wharton was a rare gem among the authors of all time. I also highly recommend the Film adaption directed by Martin Scorsese and starring the amazing Daniel Day-Lewis! You will not be disappointed in either!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2012

    An absolute must read

    A beautiful story that will stay with you forever

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 28, 2011

    Time to Reread Wharton!

    Always a joy, now on my Nook.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended. But, beware of your own anticipation.

    The book was wonderful! It led you up to think exactly of what was going to happen. The love triangle is captivating. The entire book up until the last few chapters is wonderful! But!! Beware of the last few chapters for your own anticipation of what will happen and what the book leads you to believe will be broken. The final pieces of the story that are added at the end will make you realize that what the author was hinting at the entire time (the meaning of reality) is what wins in the end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Boring

    This book was really drawn out. The characters were boring and stuck in a time warp. The writing does not transcend time like a good book should.

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2013

    Not bad

    Although the most famous of her works, I did not find it to be as good as House of Mirth or The Custom of the Country.

    This one has much less character development than the other two.

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

    Posted January 19, 2013

    Great. One of my favorites

    Read it first in college inthe eighties and never forgot it. Reread before the movie came out and agsin after. Read it over the holidays. Just a brilliantly written tale of a remarkable time. How NYC lives and breathes in this classic novel.

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

    Posted December 19, 2012

    an absolutely delightful book by one of the most interesting authors

    I was assigned an english research paper my junior year of high school to read an American author of my choice's books and relate it to the author's life. I was surprised to find that I not only had a marvelous time reading this book, but I also found myself deeply interested in Edith Wharton's personal life and biographies. Definitely recommend!

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

    Posted July 27, 2012

    Lupe :)

    this book was well thought out and very good

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 7, 2011

    Did

    Did not like it

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 30, 2011

    Does not ship in 24 hours-will ship in 22 days!

    Just a warning to those ordering this for a fall 2011 class. Description says that this "usually ships in 24 hours." I ordered it yesterday, Aug. 29, 2011, and I received notice that it will not ship until Sept. 20, 2011. Too late for me. Hard to believe that a Mass Market paperback and a classic such as this would not be readily available. I'll just have to suck up the cost and get it from the school bookstore. (Can't afford to wait 'til 9/20 and then get a notice that they were unable to procure a copy at all-that's happened to me too.)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Satisfying So Far.

    I Was at Barnes and Noble Classics Section when i came across this book, as shallow as it seems, what attracted me to this book was the title, it sounded very interesting, i read the description and found myself buying this book, Up To The Scene where "NEWLAND ARCHER" Kisses his bethrothed "MAY WELLAND" I finally understood what they where all talking about, since it is in fact old english, & I AM 13 Years old, i decided classic novels where a good way to expand my vocabulary, and critiscism toward simple minded books. I Must say though, that i can no longer get a book, in my school's library because the words are just too easy to comprehend.

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  • Posted August 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Contemporary Classic of a Recognizable New York

    With cutting humor and sharp insight, Wharton writes a layered novel that will have you despising in turn each of the three parties involved in its central affair. Likewise, their individual sacrifices -- however much driven by vanity, self-importance, or sincerity -- make Ellen Olenska, Newland Archer, and May Welland complicated, faceted characters who are also strikingly sympathetic; each burdened by a sense of propriety that removes them so far from their own understanding of their needs, the reader probably has as clearer a line of sight on the convoluted motivations leading them to their hearts, if only for the distance. This is a novel too of a lost New York, and a naïvely separatist America, though this novel's well drawn Puritan ghost still runs, finely shod while scandal hungry, across the continent, in and out of the doors of the nation's literature, for we are nothing American without the noise of gossip to cover the lusts that we savor. This brilliant novel, with its heartbreaking, soft-handed finale, captures a country we never met, but whose behavior is completely our own. Perfect literature. (originally published at Goodreads.)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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