The Age of Innocence
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The Age of Innocence is Edith Wharton's twelfth novel, initially serialized in four parts in the Pictorial Review magazine in 1920, and later released by D. Appleton and Company as a book in New York and in London. It won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, making it the first novel written by a woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and thus Wharton the first woman to win the prize.The story is set in upper-class New York City in the 1870s.
exclaimed. “Ah, my dear, I always knew you were on her side; and that’s why I sent for you today, and why I said to your pretty wife, when she proposed to come with you: ‘No, my dear, I’m pining to see Newland, and I don’t want anybody to share our transports.’ For you see, my dear—” she drew her head back as far as its tethering chains permitted, and looked him full in the eyes—“you see, we shall have a fight yet. The family don’t want her here, and they’ll say it’s because I’ve been ill,
so deep that his blurring of the surface left its essence untouched; but he would have liked to keep the surface pure too. It was something of a satisfaction to find that May Welland shared this feeling. Her eyes fled to his beseechingly, and their look said: “Remember, we’re doing this because it’s right.” No appeal could have found a more immediate response in Archer’s breast; but he wished that the necessity of their action had been represented by some ideal reason, and not simply by poor
Mr. Jackson to dine; and as she honored few people with her invitations, and as she and her daughter Janey were an excellent audience, Mr. Jackson usually came himself instead of sending his sister. If he could have dictated all the conditions, he would have chosen the evenings when Newland was out; not because the young man was uncongenial to him (the two got on capitally at their club) but because the old anecdotist sometimes felt, on Newland’s part, a tendency to weigh his evidence that the
with a “modest tulle tucker” over her bosom, is too good to be true. It may be difficult for a contemporary reader to find Ellen Olenska, fated to be May’s rival, shocking in that revealing Empire dress, “like a night-gown,” according to Newland’s sister. As they set the scene, Wharton and Newland are gossips who have the scoop on who’s in and who’s out, and on intricate family histories—the Chiverses of University Place, the Dallases of South Carolina, the Rushworths, Mrs. Manson Mingott, with
looked up at him with wet lashes. “Does no one cry here, either? I suppose there’s no need to, in heaven,” she said, straightening her loosened braids with a laugh, and bending over the tea-kettle. It was burned into his consciousness that he had called her “Ellen”—called her so twice; and that she had not noticed it. Far down the inverted telescope he saw the faint white figure of May Welland—in New York. Suddenly Nastasia put her head in to say something in her rich Italian. Madame Olenska,