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The Age of Innocence | [Edith Wharton]

The Age of Innocence

Newland Archer, Wharton's protagonist, is charming, tactful, enlightened - a thorough product of this society. He accepts its standards and abides by its rules, but he also recognizes its limitations. His engagement to the impeccable May Welland assures him of a safe and conventional future, until the arrival of May's cousin Ellen Olenska.
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Publisher's Summary

The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton's most famous novel, is a love story, written immediately after the end of the First World War. Its brilliant anatomization of the snobbery and hypocrisy of the wealthy elite of New York society in the 1870s made it an instant classic, and it won the Pulitzer Prize in 1921.

Newland Archer, Wharton's protagonist, is charming, tactful, enlightened - a thorough product of this society. He accepts its standards and abides by its rules, but he also recognizes its limitations. His engagement to the impeccable May Welland assures him of a safe and conventional future, until the arrival of May's cousin Ellen Olenska.

Independent, free-thinking, and scandalously separated from her husband, Ellen forces Archer to question the values and assumptions of his narrow world. As their love for each other grows, Archer has to decide where his ultimate loyalty lies.

(P)2008 Tantor

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (151 )
5 star
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4.0 (96 )
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4.1 (93 )
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 09-08-13
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 09-08-13

    "... there are times when silence is a poem." - John Fowles, the Magus ^(;,;)^

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Masterpiece of literary construction"

    A masterpiece of literary construction. There doesn't seem to be a word, sentence, or page out of place. At its core, 'The Age of Innocence' is story that shows the strength and the orchestrated customs and mores of social upper-class society of the 1870s, but also shows its narrowness, its contradictions, and its inflexibility. Inserted into this setting is a frustrated love story (almost a love triangle). It is the this frustration that illuminates the tensions between the coming modern age and the Victorian society that is united in its desire to keep the world from spinning forward and apart.

    19 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan PEARLAND, TX, United States 06-01-09
    Susan PEARLAND, TX, United States 06-01-09 Member Since 2012
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    "Excellent reading of a marvelous classic"

    This narration of Edith Wharton's classic novel is a genuine masterpiece. The voice is so exactly right, making the most of the elegant prose. The story line may be dated, but questions raised are timeless: how much of our thinking is controlled by our desire to maintain standing with our peers, and how do we balance personal responsibility with pursuit of personal fulfillment.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary Camarillo, Ca 05-15-09
    Gary Camarillo, Ca 05-15-09
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    "Love at its most repressed"

    What if you fell in love with someone you can not have, despite the fact that she loves you in the same manner. You're married but can't get a divorce to persue your love because in this time, your social standing is more important than your personal happiness. Crazy ! I know ! but this is the time period in which the story takes place. Amazingly well written, which perfectly describes the time period and the characters. I can understand why this book is regarded as one of the finest books of the 20th century.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Celiann 04-04-11
    Celiann 04-04-11
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    "Choose a Different Narrator"

    I purchased this during a sale. The narrator sniff and smacked and read over mistakes. Choose a different narrator -- any narrator.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John 05-22-15
    John 05-22-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Great story, terrible ending."

    Nothing should be so tragic. I despise books that have tragic endings with no glimmer of hope for happiness.

    and too much detail about the rooms.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sarabellem Minnesota 04-08-15
    sarabellem Minnesota 04-08-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Great classic reading"

    The narrator did a fantastic job with this rendition of the classic. Merciless in poking at old society traditions.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brenda Lezama Athens, TN United States 03-08-15
    Brenda Lezama Athens, TN United States 03-08-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Pretty Story..."

    Learned a lot about 1800's upper class New York, and that was very interested as the Author describes it with plenty of detail. The story is a love story with a bitter crude reality about Marriage and the roles of man and women.

    Definitely worth the points.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    2 blocks down 02-09-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Great depiction of 19th century New York."

    I loved this book. the narration was top notch and the depiction of the ridged.manners of the late 19th century in all their pseudo sophistication and naivete. I fear some politicos would.like to take us back there

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah Suplee Ithaca, NY United States 04-12-14
    Sarah Suplee Ithaca, NY United States 04-12-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Very we'll done"
    What made the experience of listening to The Age of Innocence the most enjoyable?

    It was my first audio book to listen to while I was going to sleep. I've long intended to read this book, but it was much nicer to be read to.


    What about Laural Merlington’s performance did you like?

    Her voice was appealing, and she read the various roles quite well.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The terribly constricting society of the time was well defined.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wayne Temecula, CA, United States 04-07-12
    Wayne Temecula, CA, United States 04-07-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Man remorses over marriage, doesn't leave wife"
    Would you try another book from Edith Wharton and/or Laural Merlington?

    No


    What was most disappointing about Edith Wharton’s story?

    It needed serious editing. Three hours into it I wanted to stop. I was gagging on all the extraneous, unnecessary babbling. Just because you use big words doesn't mean you are saying anything.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Laural Merlington’s performances?

    No. She is too robotic.


    What character would you cut from The Age of Innocence?

    All the extraneous characters.


    Any additional comments?

    I listened to this book to the end to see if it had any redeeming qualities. When the author sticks to the relationships between Archer, Ellen, and May and the immediate family you can follow along and understand the story and their internal struggles. So I did get something from the book. But I cannot recommend this book. I don't care for the author's writing style, nor for the narrator's reading of it.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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