First serialized in 1920 in the "Pictorial Review" magazine, "The Age of Innocence" is Edith Wharton's Pulitzer Prize winning novel, which depicts the bygone era of 1870s New York upper class society. It is the story of Newland Archer, a lawyer and heir to one of New York's most prominent families. Newland is planning to marry the young, beautiful, and sheltered May Welland, a match, which because of May's social position, he views as highly desirable. However, when May's exotic thirty-year-old cousin, the Countess Ellen Olenska, appears on the scene, he begins to question these plans. Newland is intrigued by Ellen's exotic worldliness and begins to fall in love with her. Noted for Wharton's attention to the details of late 19th century America, "The Age of Innocence" is an incredibly accurate portrayal of how the upper class lived on the East coast during that time. A classic and romantic story, the novel brilliantly depicts the demands of society to maintain outward appearances and the reputation of the family versus the demands of the heart to pursue true love.
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