The Age of Innocence (Everyman's Library)

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9780307268204: The Age of Innocence (Everyman's Library)
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The Age of Innocence, one of Edith Wharton’s most renowned novels and the first by a woman to win the Pulitzer Prize, exquisitely details the struggle between love and responsibility through the experiences of men and women in Gilded Age New York.

 

The novel follows Newland Archer, a young, aristocratic lawyer engaged to the cloistered, beautiful May Welland. When May’s disgraced cousin Ellen arrives from Europe, fleeing her marriage to a Polish Count, her worldly, independent nature intrigues Archer, who soon falls in love with her. Trapped by his passionless relationship with May and the social conventions that forbid a relationship with Ellen, Archer finds himself torn between possibility and duty.

 

Wharton’s profound understanding of her characters’ lives makes the triangle of Archer, May, and Ellen come to life with an irresistible urgency. A wry, incisive look at the ways in which love and emotion must negotiate the complex rules of high society, The Age of Innocence is one of Wharton's finest, most illuminative works.

 

With an introduction by Peter Washington

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Somewhere in this book, Wharton observes that clever liars always come up with good stories to back up their fabrications, but that really clever liars don't bother to explain anything at all. This is the kind of insight that makes The Age of Innocence so indispensable. Wharton's story of the upper classes of Old New York, and Newland Archer's impossible love for the disgraced Countess Olenska, is a perfectly wrought book about an era when upper-class culture in this country was still a mixture of American and European extracts, and when "society" had rules as rigid as any in history.

Book Description:

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.

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