Higher Education

The Age of Innocence, 1st Edition

  • Edith Wharton
  • Carol J. Singley Rutgers University, Camden
  • Paul Lauter Trinity College, General Editor
  • ISBN-10: 0395980798  |  ISBN-13: 9780395980798
  • 480 Pages
  • © 2000 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $31.75



Complementing the complete text of Wharton's landmark novel, this extensive volume also includes a wealth of contextual material. "Background Readings" explores the culture of 1870s New York, as depicted in the novel, as well as views on marriage and divorce at that time. In "Other Writings by Edith Wharton," the author discusses fiction writing, old New York, women, and her winning of the Pulitzer Prize. The "Critical Readings" section features essays on the novel from a wide variety of perspectives.

Table of Contents

Editor's Introduction by Carol J. Singley
A Note on the Text
I. The Age of Innocence
II. Background Readings
Questions of Culture
Thomas Bender, from "The Metropolitan Gentry: Culture against Politics"
George Sanyayana, from "The Genteel Tradition in American Philosophy"
Walt Whitman, from "Democratic Vistas"
Calvin Tomkins, from "Merchants and Masterpieces: The Story of the Metropolitan Museum of Art"
Ida Van Gastel, "The Location and Decoration of Houses in The Age of Innocence"
Marriage and Divorce
Steven Mintz and Susan Kellogg, from Domestic Revolutions
J. Foote Bingham, from "For the Wedding Night"
Travel and Sport
Donald Ross and James J. Schramer, from the Introduction to American Travel Writers, 1850-1915
Henry James, from "Americans Abroad"
Henry James, from "Newport"
William J. Baker, from "The Lawn Set"
III. Other Writings by Edith Wharton
Writing The Age of Innocence
The Ways of Old New York
The Childishness of American Women
"The Valley of Childish Things"
Winning the Pulitizer Prize
IV. Critical Readings
Alan Price, from "The Composition of Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence"
Elizabeth Ammons, from "Cool Diana and the Blood-Red Muse: Edith Wharton on Innocence and Art"
Judith P. Saunders, from "Becoming the Mask: Edith Wharton's Ingenues"
Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, from "Angel of Devastation: Edith Wharton on the Arts of the Enslaved"
Katherine Joslin, from "The Age of Innocence and the Bohemian Peril"
James W. Tuttleton, from "Edith Wharton: The Archeological Motive"
Nancy Bentley, from "'Hunting for the Real': Wharton and the Science of Manners"
Linda W. Wagner, from "A Note on Wharton's Use of Faust"
Gary H. Lindberg, from "The Mind in Chains: Public Plots and Personal Fables"
Donald Pizer, from "American Naturalism in Its 'Perfected' State: The Age of Innocence and An American Tragedy
Ian Christie, from "The Scorsese Interview: On Filming The Age of Innocence"
Gore Vidal, "Of Writers and Class: In Praise of Edith Wharton"

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Paul Lauter

Paul Lauter is the Smith Professor of Literature at Trinity College. He has served as president of the American Studies Association and is a major figure in the revision of the American literary canon.