Age of Innocence (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Table of Contents
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
Published by Barnes & Noble Books
122 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10011
 
 
 
The Age of Innocence
was first published in 1920.
 
Published in 2004 by Barnes & Noble Classics with new Introduction,
Notes, Biography, Inspired By, Comments & Questions,
and For Further Reading.
 
Introduction, Notes, and For Further Reading
Copyright @ 2004 by Maureen Howard.
 
Note on Edith Wharton, The World of Edith Wharton and
The Age of Innocence,
The Inspiration for
The Age of Innocence,
and Comments & Questions
Copyright @ 2004 by Barnes & Noble, Inc.
 
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or
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Barnes & Noble Classics and the Barnes & Noble Classics
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The Age of Innocence
ISBN-13: 978-1-59308-143-0 ISBN-10: 1-59308-143-X
eISBN : 978-1-411-43374-8
LC Control Number 2004102763
 
 
Produced and published in conjunction with:
Fine Creative Media, Inc.
322 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10001
 
Michael J. Fine, President and Publisher
 
Printed in the United States of America
 
QM
5 7 9 10 8 6
EDITH WHARTON
Edith Newbold Jones was born January 24, 1862, into such wealth and privilege that her family inspired the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses.” The youngest of three children, Edith spent her early years touring Europe with her parents and, upon the family’s return to the United States, enjoyed a privileged childhood in New York and Newport, Rhode Island. Edith’s creativity and talent soon became obvious: By the age of eighteen she had written a novella,
Fast and Loose
(as well as witty reviews of it) and published poetry in the
Atlantic Monthly.
After a failed engagement, Edith married a wealthy sportsman, Edward Wharton. Despite similar backgrounds and a shared taste for travel, the marriage was not a success. Many of Wharton’s novels chronicle unhappy marriages, in which the demands of love and vocation often conflict with the expectations of society. Wharton’s first major novel,
The House of Mirth,
published in 1905, enjoyed considerable literary success.
Ethan Frome
appeared six years later, solidifying Wharton’s reputation as an important novelist. Often in the company of her close friend Henry James, Wharton mingled with some of the most famous writers and artists of the day, including F. Scott Fitzger ald, André Gide, Sinclair Lewis, Jean Cocteau, and Jack London.
In 1913 Edith divorced Edward. She lived mostly in France for the remainder of her life. When World War I broke out, she organized hostels for refugees, worked as a fund-raiser, and wrote for American publications from battlefield frontlines. She was awarded the French Legion of Honor for her courage and distinguished work.
The Age of Innocence,
a novel about New York in the 1870s, earned Wharton the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1921—the first time the award had been bestowed on a woman. Wharton traveled throughout Europe to encourage young authors. She also continued to write, lying in her bed every morning, as she had always done, dropping each newly penned page on the floor to be collected and arranged when she was finished. Wharton suffered a stroke and died on August 11, 1937. She is buried in the American Cemetery in Versailles, France.
THE WORLD OF EDITH WHARTON AND
THE AGE OF INNOCENCE
1862
Edith Newbold Jones is born January 24 in New York City, the last of three children. Her parents are wealthy and socially well-connected.
1866
The Jones family leaves for Europe, where they will live for the next six years.
1870
In Germany, Edith falls ill with typhoid fever and for a time hovers between life and death. When she recovers, the fam ily moves to Florence. Edith begins writing stories, which she recites to her family.
1872
The Joneses return to America, where they live in New York City and Newport, Rhode Island.
1877
Edith finishes a novella,
Fast and Loose,
which will be pub lished a century later, in 1977. Henry James’s novel
The American
appears.
1878
Edith’s mother pays to publish a collection of Edith’s poems,
Verses.
1879
Edith is presented to society in New York City.
1880
A wealthy young man, Henry Leyden Stevens, proposes to Wharton. The
Atlantic Monthly
magazine publishes five of Wharton’s poems.
1881
Henry James’s novel
Portrait of a Lady
appears.
1882
Edith’s father dies in the south of France. Edith and her mother return to the United States to find that Henry Stevens’s mother disapproves of the engagement. It is broken off, and the Jones women return to France.
1883
While summering in Bar Harbor, Maine, Edith agrees to marry Edward Wharton, an independently wealthy sportsman from Massachusetts.
1885
Edith and Edward wed and over the next several years divide their time between Europe, New York, and Newport.
1889
Wharton’s poems appear in
Scribner’s Magazine
and the
At lantic Monthly.
1891
Wharton’s first published story, “Mrs. Manstey’s View,” ap pears in
Scribner’s Magazine.
1897
The Decoration of Houses
appears; it is a nonfiction work on interior design written by Wharton and architect Ogden Codman, Jr.
1898
Henry James’s
The Turn of the Screw
is published.
1901
The Whartons begin to build The Mount, their summer home near Lenox, Massachusetts. Edith’s mother dies in Paris.
1905
The House of Mirth
is published. The novel quickly becomes one of the best-selling books of the year; its popularity so lidifies Wharton’s reputation as a major novelist. Wharton and Henry James develop a close friendship. George Bernard Shaw’s play
Major Barbara
is performed in Lon don.
1908
Wharton publishes
A Motor-Flight through France,
in which she recounts her travels with her husband, Edward, and Henry James. She meets Morton Fullerton, an American journalist living in London who is a friend of Henry James, and the two begin a passionate though short-lived love af fair.
1911
Wharton’s
Ethan Frome
is published; it was inspired by the bleak New England setting the author witnessed near her home in Lenox.
1912
Wharton begins a friendship with art historian Bernard Berenson.
1913
Edith and Edward divorce. Wharton moves to France, where she will spend most of the rest of her life. Willa Cather’s
O Pioneers!
is published.
1914
Wharton travels to Tunisia and Algiers, then undertakes re lief efforts during World War I. She finds homes for hun dreds of Belgian orphans and raises money for refugees.
1916
Wharton receives the French Legion of Honor award for her war relief activities. Henry James dies.
1917
T. S. Eliot’s book of poetry
Prufrock and Other Observations
appears.
1918
Willa Cather publishes
My Ántonia.
1920
The Age of Innocence,
a novel about New York society, is pub lished to great success.
1921
Wharton becomes the first woman to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, which she receives for
The Age of Innocence.
Eugene O‘Neill’s play
Anna Christie
opens in New York City.
1922
T. S. Eliot’s
The Waste Land
is published.
1923
Yale University awards Wharton an honorary doctorate. Edna St. Vincent Millay receives the Pulitzer Prize for po etry.
1924
Wharton publishes a collection of novellas and short stories as
Old New York.
1925
Sinclair Lewis publishes
Arrowsmith,
which he dedicates to Wharton. Fitzgerald’s
The Great Gatsby
is published. Gertrude Stein publishes
The Making of Americans.
Virginia Woolf publishes
Mrs. Dalloway.
1926
Ernest Hemingway publishes
The Sun Also Rises.
1928
Edward Wharton dies. Poet Carl Sandburg’s
Good Morning, America
is published.
1930
Wharton is elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She continues to write, although her health is fail ing. Robert Frost’s
Collected Poems
is published.
1933
Wharton publishes
Human Nature,
a collection of short sto ries.
1934
Wharton publishes “Roman Fever” in
Liberty
magazine for the then-astronomical sum of $3,000; one of her best known short stories, it is based on her travels in Italy. She continues to write and publish stories and novels.
A Back ward Glance,
an autobiography, is published.
1936
The World Over,
a collection of short stories, is published.
1937
After a severe stroke, Edith Wharton dies on August 11. She is buried in Versailles, France.