The Age of Innocence
By Edith Wharton
Why this book?
Before there were Daniel Day Lewis and Michelle Pfeiffer, there was the book that brought them together (in the movie): Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, Wharton’s lush, sepia-toned tale of the New York haut ton of the 1870s. Gilded Age society at its best; it won the 1921 Pulitzer for fiction, making Wharton the first woman to win the prize. Read it first, then stream the movie. I loved its opulent portrayal of the well-heeled society of upper-class New York and its spot-on portrayal of moral hypocrisy. The battles that nineteenth-century women of all classes fought to live their lives with integrity and honesty seem to me to echo today in the ongoing injustices perpetrated against society’s powerless.
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