She was home schooled by private tutors and well groomed by governesses.
Background[ edit ] The Age of Innocence was a softer and more gentle work than The House of Mirthwhich Wharton had published inand which was set in the time of her childhood.
In her autobiography, Wharton wrote of The Age of Innocence that it had allowed her to find "a momentary escape in going back to my childish memories of a long-vanished America She had spent her middle years, including the whole of World War Iin Europe, where the devastation of a new kind of mechanized warfare was felt most deeply.
We frame the ending remembering the multiple losses… not only the loss of Roosevelt but the destruction of the prewar world and all that Wharton valued in it. Though the novel questions the assumptions and morals of s New York society, it never develops into an outright condemnation of the institution.
The novel is noted for Edith wharton style attention to detail and its accurate portrayal of how the 19th-century East Coast American upper class lived, as well as for the social tragedy of its plot.
Wharton was 58 years old at publication; she had lived in that world and had seen it change dramatically by the end of World War I. The title is an ironic comment on the polished outward manners of New York society when compared to its inward machinations.
It is believed to have been drawn from the popular painting A Little Girl by Sir Joshua Reynolds that later became known as The Age of Innocence and was widely reproduced as the commercial face of childhood in the later half of the 18th century.
Plot summary[ edit ] Newland Archer, gentleman lawyer and heir to one of New York City's best families, is happily anticipating a highly desirable marriage to the sheltered and beautiful May Welland. Yet he finds reason to doubt his choice of bride after the appearance of Countess Ellen Olenska, May's exotic and beautiful year-old cousin.
Ellen has returned to New York from Europe after scandalously separating herself per rumor from a bad marriage to a Polish count.
At first, Ellen's arrival and its potential taint on the reputation of his bride-to-be's family disturb Newland, but he becomes intrigued by the worldly Ellen, who flouts New York society's fastidious rules.
As Newland's admiration for the countess grows, so does his doubt about marrying May, a perfect product of Old New York society; his match with May no longer seems the ideal fate he had imagined. Ellen's decision to divorce Count Olenski causes a social crisis for the other members of her family, who are terrified of scandal and disgrace.
Living apart can be tolerated, but divorce is unacceptable. To save the Welland family's reputation, a law partner of Newland asks him to dissuade Countess Olenska from divorcing the count.
He succeeds, but in the process comes to care for her; afraid of falling in love with Ellen, Newland begs May to accelerate their wedding date, but she refuses.
Newland tells Ellen he loves her; Ellen corresponds, but is horrified that their love will aggrieve May. She agrees to remain in America, separated but still married to Count Olenski, only if they do not sexually consummate their love. Newland receives May's telegram agreeing to wed sooner.
Newland and May marry. He tries unsuccessfully to forget Ellen. His society marriage is loveless, and the social life he once found absorbing has become empty and joyless. Though Ellen lives in Washington and has remained distant, he is unable to cease loving her. Their paths cross while he and May are in Newport, Rhode Island.
Newland discovers that Count Olenski wishes Ellen to return to him, but she has refused, although her family wants her to reconcile with her husband and return to Europe.
Frustrated by her independence, the family has cut off her money, as the count had already done.
Newland desperately seeks a way to leave May and be with Ellen, obsessed with how to finally possess her. Despairing of ever making Ellen his wife, he urges her to become his mistress. Then Ellen is recalled to New York City to care for her sick grandmother, who accepts her decision to remain separated and agrees to reinstate her allowance.
Back in New York and under renewed pressure from Newland, Ellen relents and agrees to consummate their relationship. However, Newland then discovers that Ellen has decided to return to Europe.Edith Wharton Writing Styles in The Age of Innocence Edith Wharton This Study Guide consists of approximately 66 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Age of Innocence.
Walter Horatio Pater (4 August – 30 July ) was an English essayist, literary and art critic, and fiction writer, regarded as one of the great stylists.
His works on Renaissance subjects were popular but controversial, reflecting his lost belief in Christianity. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton.
Home / Literature / The Age of Innocence / Analysis / This anthropological style was useful for making sure the audience in knew what was happening, and it's even more super-useful for letting 21st century readers in on the social secrets of the s.
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. Home / Literature / Ethan Frome / Analysis / Foreshadowing is another very important element of Ethan Frome's style. One of the first things we hear Mattie and Ethan discuss is the elm tree, and its power to cause death to innocent people sledding.
There are a few ways to think about Edith Bouvier Beale, the fallen ’30 debutante–turned–head-scarf-wearing aristocratic freak who became a cult figure in “Grey Gardens,” the Nick Mele grew up in Edith Wharton’s former home, Land’s End, overlooking the crashing waves off Newport's famous Cliff Walk.
His grandmother was a legendary fixture of society in Newport and.