Edith Wharton: The Age of Innocence (2989 words)


The Age of Innocence, always accounted one of Wharton’s three or four masterpieces, is the novel which has in large degree contributed – and not accurately – to her reputation as a nostalgic evoker of a lost, genteel world embattled by high modernist tendencies in the arts, a writer unable to take her contemporary world seriously as the subject of fiction. This is, in fact, very far from the truth, but The Age of Innocence does self-consciously look back, unlike most of her work immediately before and after it, to the vanished world of her infancy, the young adulthood of her parents’ generation in the early to mid-1870s. However, it also offers a penetrating criticism of key aspects of that …

Citation: Preston, Claire, Nicolas Tredell. "The Age of Innocence". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 October 2002; last revised 23 December 2021. [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=1627, accessed 18 May 2022.]

1627 The Age of Innocence 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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