Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Age of Innocence

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
Barnes and Noble, 1920
293 pages
4.5/5 stars
FITG Challenge

Source: Own

Thoughts: I put this on my list because I wanted to read the first Pulitzer winning-novel by a woman; after enjoying Old New York, a collection of four short stories, I had high hopes for this.  And they were mostly fulfilled.

I loved the pictures painted by Wharton; every detail seemed carefully chosen to convey the taste and wealth of the characters although I'm sure I didn't fully appreciate those details, given my 21st century sensibilities and understanding.  I loved being enmeshed in that world and slowly journeying through it toward completion.

The part I didn't like was the character Newland Archer.  He is torn between duty to his fiancee May Welland and passion for her cousin, the scandalous Countess Ellen Olenska who left her husband.  I was caught up in that and I supported his choice.  But I hated his musings on the innocence and conventionality of May-how was she to be different? I think that he is a stand-in for Wharton who was raised in that kind of environment but obviously had a sharp intellect of her own.  Over the course of the novel though, I grew annoyed with him.  I did not want to spend as much time with him as I did; I think I would have preferred this novel from a female point of view because Archer grated on me.

I would also like to see the movie starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer (j'adore her), and Winona Ryder.

Overall: Beautifully written; I definitely consider myself a fan of Wharton now.

Cover: Pretty gallery-I'm a big fan of the Barnes and Noble editions.


  1. I intend to read this novel this year! It sounds so appealing, so I am really looking forward to reading it. I hope I'll be able to endure Archer.:)

  2. I have this with me right now. Will get to it soon.


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