The Age of Innocence

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What to expect

Winner of the 1921 Nobel Prize for Literature and Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, “The Age of Innocence” is Edith Wharton’s masterful portrait of desire and betrayal during the splendid Golden Age of Old New York. Everything in Newland Archer’s easy life seems to be perfectly on track; he has a comfortable position in society, a high-powered job and a beautiful and well-bred fiancée, May Welland. But when May’s mysterious cousin Countess Ellen Olenska returns to New York after leaving a terrible marriage, Newland soon falls deeply in love with her. Torn between duty and passion, expectation and scandal, Newland struggles to make an impossible decision. Against a backdrop of a New York on the cusp of modernization, Wharton’s classic skewers the orchestrated customs and inflexible mores of the 1870s high society. Among the novel’s many film adaptations, Martin Scorsese’s 1993 film stands out, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Winona Ryder and Richard E. Grant.

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