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An Age of Anxiety,
This review is from: The Age of Innocence (Penguin Popular Classics) (Paperback)
Like her elder contemporary Henry James, Edith Wharton deals with the blood battles of gilded age aristocracy. American and British readers will find much common ground in THE AGE OF INNOCENCE. Here are the transatlantics who gave us the Astors and Winston Churchill and, indeed, Henry James and Edith Wharton.
Reading THE AGE OF INNOCENCE is a bit like reading a fashion magazine edited by a tragic genius. The descriptions of clothing, food and architecture are as dazzling as can be, but the agony of the main characters is just slightly veiled.
It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1928 and the reason is clear. This novel is an indictment of a society which values surface to the point of suffocation.
H. L. Mencken, of all people, failed to notice Wharton's almost subversive theme. He thought she was a portrait painter, and an increasingly sentimental one at that.
THE AGE OF INNOCENCE is not a pretty picture. It's a perfect picture, but pretty it isn't.