The Age of Innocence (VMC)

by Edith Wharton | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 1844083500 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingjlautnerwing of Henderson, Nevada USA on 1/17/2015
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingjlautnerwing from Henderson, Nevada USA on Saturday, January 17, 2015
Arrived today from a fellow paperbackswap member.

Journal Entry 2 by wingjlautnerwing at San Luis Obispo, California USA on Friday, February 06, 2015
I read this years ago but didn't remember any details when I reread it recently.

The story takes place in the late 1800s in New York City. More specifically, among the upper class in NYC, a group that took care even in where in Manhattan they would be willing to tread.

There is a small set of established families, rich families, that set the tone. There are years of tone-setting to provide a base. People traveling within this society had better behave as expected.

Which is rather what Countess Olenski didn't do. She arrived on the scene, young and beautiful and separated from her ogre-like Hungarian husband (at least we are persuaded to believe he's ogre-like). Born into one of the old families but having spent most of her life in Europe, Ellen Olenska does not understand the requirements of this New York society, and therefore breaks rules without a thought.

At the opera one evening Newland Archer notices Ellen along with his fiance, May Wellend. He is anxious to be married, as he loves May very much and foresees a happy future with her. His meeting with Ellen changes everything.

Thus it is a love story. It is a society story. It is a story of a woman in the wrong place at the wrong time. Although where the right place would be is a big question.

I enjoyed Wharton's perceptive views of this society, a culture in which she herself moved effortlessly in those years. She reveals her own European point of view as well, as she too spent most of her life abroad. There is in her writing a slightly sharp edge that easily skewers her victims. There is also, often, beautiful language, though not in the least flowery (thank heaven).

It is, in the end, almost a Shakespearean tragedy, and for some of the same reasons that Shakespeare's characters came to bad ends.

Journal Entry 3 by wingjlautnerwing at San Luis Obispo, California USA on Sunday, March 15, 2015
Reserved for bookstogive's VBB.

Released 2 yrs ago (7/20/2017 UTC) at Little Free Library on Fernwood Drive in San Luis Obispo, California USA

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removed from General Lit VBB and left in Little Free Library box.

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