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The Age of Innocence Summary
Edith Wharton

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The Age of Innocence Summary


Already a successful novelist in 1920 when she completed The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton anticipated best-selling status for her new novel. The Age of Innocence, set in late nineteenth-century New York society, did indeed become a best-seller and won the Pulitzer Prize the following year. Wharton was the first woman to receive this high literary honor. The novel is both nostalgic and satirical in its depiction of old New York, with its often-stifling conventions and manners and its insistence on propriety. Wharton had written about old New York before in The House of Mirth and The Custom of the Country, but in The Age of Innocence she is less caustic in her criticism of its culture. Having worked diligently in relief efforts during World War I, Wharton recalled her formative years in New York society as a time of stability, even though that stability was the product of strict...

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