1920. New York | London: D. Appleton and Company, 1920. Original deep red cloth lettered in black. First Edition, first printing, of Edith Wharton's best-known book -- the tale of a love triangle bound by the conventions of New York society -- between Newland Archer, his fiancée and then wife May Welland, and her cousin Ellen Olenska (newly separated from a Polish count).~Edith Wharton's evocation of the New York of her girlhood, with its rigid conventions and adherence to form, is brilliantly drawn and it is here that she comes closest to the work of her friend Henry James. The narrative is clear and the prose impeccable. The characters are acutely observed and, while the author's sympathies are inevitably on the side of Ellen, she succeeds in being objective about May, who for all her limitations is a sympathetic character. [CGEL]~In 1921 THE AGE OF INNOCENCE won the Pulitzer Prize for Novels (the first won by a woman), in 1928 it was dramatized by Margaret Ayer Barnes, and in 1993 it was placed on the silver screen by Martin Scorcese with considerable success (starring Daniel Day Lewis, Winona Ryder and Michelle Pfeiffer).~This copy is from the first printing (with a "(1)" at the end of the text, and with the many original text points enumerated by Garrison, which were altered in subsequent 1920 printings). Its condition is very good-plus, perhaps near-fine (very minor rubbing at the extremities, slight darkening of the cloth, one tiny mark on the spine); the spine ends remain intact --unusual, as a very delicate cloth was unfortunately used for this binding. With all of its popularity in recent decades, THE AGE OF INNOCENCE has become a rather scarce title. Garrison A30.I.a; one of the Modern Library "100 Best Novels in the English Language since 1900." (Inventory #: 13461)
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