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The Age of Innocence
The Age of Innocence
Author: Edith Wharton
Set in turn-of-the-century New York, Edith Wharton's classic novel The Age of Innocence reveals a society governed by the dictates of taste and form, manners and morals, and intricate social ceremonies. With amazing clarity and sensitivity, Edith Wharton re-creates an atmosphere in which subtle gestures and faint implications bespeak desire ...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780020264781
ISBN-10: 002026478X
Publication Date: 9/2/1993
Pages: 384
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.

3.7 stars, based on 110 ratings
Publisher: Scribner
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

rowdyblues avatar reviewed The Age of Innocence on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
The ending caught me totally off guard and made me cry a bit. It was well worth the effort!
reviewed The Age of Innocence on + 38 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
As so often is the case, the book was much, much better than the movie. Wharton is a master at portraying the intricacies of Victorian society and the characters' inner lives.
reviewed The Age of Innocence on + 17 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A picture of desire and betrayal in Old New York.
Leigh avatar reviewed The Age of Innocence on + 378 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
*** Spoiler Alert ***

I wouldn't say this book was disappointing, but it didn't overwhelm me like some of Wharton's other works, like "Summer." I understood that Wharton was poking fun at the upper class in New York in the early 1900s and a lot of her observations were both keen and humorous; however, it became tedious to read essentially the same conversation over and over. Multiple times various characters talked of scandal within their family and how horrible it all was and how one must keep up appearances, if not for one's own sake, then for that of the family. It also seemed as if every character was somehow related to another. It lent the novel an incestuous feel.

Two people who have barely glimpsed one another and have hardly spoken in depth simply cannot fall in love. Archer's and Ellen's relationship seemed almost as cursory a relationship as Bella's and Edward's from "Twilight," all the moaning and wistful sighs about being together.

In Part II, a strange turn emerges where May, Archer's wife, is suddenly a vacuous husk of a woman in Archer's eyes. Archer comes across as a spoiled and arrogant brat.

What I did appreciate about this book most of all was the very end, where both Archer and Ellen decide to keep their 30-year old memories of each other just as they are rather than befoul them with the aged present. For the same reason, I will never read Wharton's "Summer" again.
reviewed The Age of Innocence on + 26 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Remarkably written, beautiful love story.
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jdauntless avatar reviewed The Age of Innocence on + 112 more book reviews
The basis for the brilliant movie.
reviewed The Age of Innocence on + 209 more book reviews
Yes, the classic and shall evermore be a classic. Anyone who has not read this should be ashamed.
reviewed The Age of Innocence on + 31 more book reviews
Quality Paperback Book Club (1 of 4 part set of books by Edith Wharton) - classic fiction of rich upper class gilded age.
9fordinner avatar reviewed The Age of Innocence on + 6 more book reviews
A fascinating look into the social customs of the age and their implications.
KaysCMAlbums avatar reviewed The Age of Innocence on + 97 more book reviews
"Fashionable New York in the 1870's." This book was, like many classics, a little hard to get into. Im usually not one to enjoy reading the classics as there are too many words and descriptive anecdotes that pass me by. And being a slow reader it is tedious, sometimes, to picture in my mind what the author is trying to convey, especially since I did not live during those times. However, once into the story I wanted to learn more; I wanted to see what was going to happen next and the prose didnt seem as cumbersome after that.

I cant say it was one of my most favorite books, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It was an interesting look into the society of the day and having lived in New England most of my life, visiting New York and Boston quite frequently, I can now see that money and society are still alive and well in the Big Apple, even though not as apparent unless you are looking for it. Perhaps the theater areas and around the mansions you might catch a glimpse now and then of old money society: limos, diamond-studded ladies wearing elegant furs, and every now and then someone like the Wellands and Archers with their protruding noses a little higher in the air than those around them. Ah, New York. There is no place like it. Visit sometime if you've never been there! It's a wonderful, fun look at Americana.
ednat avatar reviewed The Age of Innocence on + 4 more book reviews
Definitely got the best discussion of two years' worth of book club meetings! Challenging reading but captivating. Ending not what I would have preferred, but still enjoyed the book.
reviewed The Age of Innocence on + 41 more book reviews
One of my favorite Wharton books (I've read almost all of them) and I've read it more than once. You do have to want to read a book like this... similar to Shakespeare I think. Drink in the words slowly.
reviewed The Age of Innocence on
This book was so good it messed me up for days. Definitely worth reading
reviewed The Age of Innocence on + 4 more book reviews
Amazing love story of an older generation. I definately enjoyed the romance involved in this book. There is a movie that followed this book, so it's always fun to compare books to movies!
eadieburke avatar reviewed The Age of Innocence on + 1603 more book reviews
The Age of Innocence is a richly drawn portrait of the elegant lifestyles, luxurious brownstones, and fascinating culture of bygone New York society. It shows the atmosphere of desire and emotion and the social order that disturbs the foundation of one's identify. Newland Archer soon will wed May Welland but is attracted to May's cousin, Countess Ellen OLenska. He finds his world comfortable one moment but oppressive the next. Wharton's characters are so true to life that we feel we have certainly met them and know their hearts, souls and yearnings. The ending pacts a powerful punch and is not to be missed. Wharton was the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in 1921. I would highly recommend it to those who love classical fiction.
pindari avatar reviewed The Age of Innocence on + 38 more book reviews
this was an interesting visit to another era. A glimpse of a world as it begins to change. I was saddened that I wasn't able to see the true love blossom, but happy to see characters behaving with consideration of others.
reviewed The Age of Innocence on + 11 more book reviews
Great characters and a great picture of the social scene in New York back in an earlier time period. I really enjoyed this novel as I do all the Edith Wharton books I've read.
phillyartlovesbooks avatar reviewed The Age of Innocence on + 59 more book reviews
Edith Wharton is a wonderful writer. I recommend this one highly.
reviewed The Age of Innocence on + 23 more book reviews
great read. was not too sure about half way thru when i realized what story line was. when i got to the end i was cheering and sobbing! now i know why this story is so well loved.
reviewed The Age of Innocence on + 10 more book reviews
first copy write 1920. Interesting story of the time period.