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.
But I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - J.D. Salinger ^(;,;)^
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.
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.
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.
Lots of dull listening to get to the interesting and satisfying end. Prefer Tolstoy because the characters are so rich and even those so tragically flawed, one can't help but love. These characters are flat.
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.
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
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