The Age of Innocence
Around 300 pages
I recently reviewed the movie version of this book on my film blog. This feels like one of those strange network crossover episodes. While I wouldn't consider this my favorite Edith Wharton novel, it is undeniably her most iconic and is definitely deserving of its place on this List. On the movie List, I'm not so sure.
Newland Archer is head over heels in love with May Welland, a sheltered, beautiful young woman who is the darling of the New York society set. That is, until he meets Countess Ellen Olenska, May's cousin, who is returning from Europe after a disastrous marriage to a Count. May and Newland attempt to reintegrate Ellen back into their world, but Newland's growing attraction to her threatens to destabilize the perfect life he had been building for himself.
Wharton is getting more daring, which is exciting to witness. She is still very structured in her writing, so I wouldn't say she is letting her hair down in that way. But the characters are making racier decisions than they would have made two novels ago.
There are some really unforgettable characters here that I really enjoy reading about. A must read for sure.
Won the Pulitzer Prize, making Wharton the first woman to win.
The inspiration behind the name apparently came from a painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds.
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