The Age of Innocence Turtleback – Jan 1996
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|Turtleback, Jan 1996||
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"Is it—in this world—vulgar to ask for more? To entreat a little wildness, a dark place or two in the soul?"—Katherine Mansfield
"There is no woman in American literature as fascinating as the doomed Madame Olenska. . . . Traditionally, Henry James has always been placed slightly higher up the slope of Parnassus than Edith Wharton. But now that the prejudice against the female writer is on the wane, they look to be exactly what they are: giants, equals, the tutelary and benign gods of our American literature."—Gore Vidal
"Will writers ever recover that peculiar blend of security and alertness which characterizes Mrs. Wharton and her tradition?"—E. M. Forster --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Cambridge Literature is a series of literary texts edited for study by students aged 14-18 in English-speaking classrooms. It will include novels, poetry, short stories, essays, travel-writing and other non-fiction. The series will be extensive and open-ended and will provide school students with a range of edited texts taken from a wide geographical spread. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
However, it is not with Madame Olenska but with Newland Archer that Wharton is closest associated. Belonging to similar social castes, both the author and Newland are able to see the foibles in their social milieu but in no way are ready to discard it totally. Whereas, in the end, both are ready to follow their individual paths from Old New York they are fully aware of what is expected of them as members of this society, and act accordingly. This is the central theme of the novel: individual desire vs. collective propriety. In the hands of a lesser author, this conflict could have resulted in a quite heavy and didactic work - and as interesting as an evening at a needlepoint demonstration. By clothing her novel in the time tested mantle of a love story, she is given rein to employ her talents to the fullest. In short, she re-creates the New York City of the 1870s and peoples it with characters that seem to be historical, not just based on historical models.Read more ›
Newland Archer, of a wealthy old New York family, has become engaged to pretty, naive May. But as he tries to get their wedding date moved up, he becomes acquainted with May's exotic cousin, Countess Olenska, who has returned home after dumping her cheating count husband. At first, the two are friends, but then they become something more.
After Newland marries May, the attraction to the mysterious Countess and her free, unconventional life becomes even stronger. He starts to rebel in little ways, but he's still mired in a 100% conventional marriage, job and life. Will he become an outcast and go away with the beautiful countess, or will he stick with May and a safe, dull life?
There's nothing too scandalous about "Age of Innocence" in a time when J.Lo acquires and discards boyfriends and husbands like old pantyhose. Probably it wasn't in the 1920s, when the book was first published. But this isn't a book to read if you appreciate sexiness and steam -- instead it's a social satire, a bittersweet romance, and a look at what happens when human beings lose all spontaneity and passion.
Wharton brings old New York to life in this book -- opulent, beautiful, cultured, yet empty and kind of boring. It is "where the real thing was never said or done or even thought," so tied up in tradition that nobody there really lives.Read more ›
This is a remarkable book. It is obvious that David Hamilton is very passionate about his subjects. He has taken his appreciation and admiration for young women and shared that enthusiasm with the world. I highly recommend this book.
"My favorite passage of the book is when Newland is sending flowers to May. He always sends her the same white lilies, which obviously represents how she is naive yet beatiful. I think of lilies as very beautiful, elegant, yet not romantic. I see them as a flower that you would give to someone you loved but not to someone you were in love with. As Newland is sending flowers to May, these powerful and beautiful yellow roses catch his eye. He first thought of sending them to May but realized they were, 'too rich, too strong, in their fiery beauty'(79). So he rashly sent them to Ellen, without signing the card. Roses are the type of flower you send to someone you are in love with, for they are a symbol of romantic love. The reason that Newland sends the roses to Ellen without signing the card is because at this point he is not ready to proclaim his love for Ellen. I also think that this further symbolizes that Newland is never really able to proclaim his love to the world. He wants to step out of the constraints of society, but he is not able to do so. He could never be with Ellen for although he may deny it; it does make a difference what people think of him. I love this passage so much because Wharton so craftily shows us the way Newland truly feels towards Ellen and May without actually telling us. This is just an amazing example of the beauty of her writing."
Most recent customer reviews
Any serious reader will have read Edith Wharton's several times.Perhaps the foremost American female writer. Read morePublished 18 months ago by jytte allen
I found this book to be interesting David Hamilton has a different style to photography.Published 19 months ago by Kevin
It was a glittering, sumptuous time when hypocrisy was expected, discreet infidelity tolerated, and unconventionality ostracized. Read morePublished on June 5 2009 by EA Solinas
Wharton's story about taboo love and social mores in New York high society puts Jane Austen's quaint, fluffy world to shame. Read morePublished on Jan. 15 2009 by Erin
It was a glittering, sumptuous time when hypocrisy was expected, discreet infidelity tolerated, and unconventionality ostracized. Read morePublished on Jan. 10 2009 by EA Solinas
"It was the old New York way of taking life "with effusion of blood"; the way of people who dreaded scandal more than disease, who placed decency above courage, and who considered... Read morePublished on Dec 27 2008 by Misfit
It was a glittering, sumptuous time when hypocrisy was expected, discreet infidelity tolerated, and unconventionality ostracized. Read morePublished on June 14 2008 by EA Solinas