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The Vintage paperback of Hermione Lee’s celebrated biography of Edith Wharton is published to tie-in with the publication of the Vintage Classics edition of The Age of Innocence

Newland Archer and May Welland are the perfect couple. He is a wealthy young lawyer and she is a lovely and sweet-natured girl. All seems set for success until the arrival of May’s unconventional cousin Ellen Olenska, who returns from Europe without her husband and proceeds to shake up polite New York society. To Newland, she is a breath of fresh air and a free spirit, but the bond that develops between them throws his values into confusion and threatens his relationship with May.

Reviews

America's greatest woman novelist

Sunday Times

I love virtually all of Edith Wharton, but this one's my favourite... I admire her prose style, which is lucid, intelligent, and artful rather than arty; she is eloquent but never fussy, and always clear. She never seems to be writing well to show off. As for The Age of Innocence, it's a poignant story that, typically for Wharton, illustrates the bind women found themselves in when trapped hazily between a demeaning if relaxing servitude and real if frightening independence, and that both sexes find themselves in when trapped between the demands of morality and the demands of the heart. The novel is romantic but not sentimental, and I'm a sucker for unhappy endings

Lionel Shriver

There is no woman in American literature as fascinating as the doomed Madame Olenska. . . Traditionally, Henry James has always been placed slightly higher up the slope of Parnassus than Edith Wharton. But now that the prejudice against the female writer is on the wane, they look to be exactly what they are: giants, equals, the tutelary and benign gods of our American literature

Gore Vidal

Will writers ever recover that peculiar blend of security and alertness which characterizes Mrs. Wharton and her tradition?

E. M. Forster

Wharton's dazzling skills as a stylist, creator of character, ironical observer and unveiler of passionate, thwarted emotions have earned her a devoted following

Hermione Lee, Sunday Times

No one has bettered Edith Wharton on the cash-sex nexus of the respectable, as well as the clashes of propriety and fashion. The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth are probably the best novels by this knowing, compassionate writer

Independent on Sunday

Wharton evocatively records the high society of New York's gilded age

Daily Mail

Wharton didn't simply reproduce the glossy surfaces of high society but probed the hypocrisy, corruption, cynicism and coldheartedness that lay just underneath

Independent

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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback

    9780307949516

    June 15, 2012

    Vintage

    RRP $16.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Paperback

    9780099511281

    April 1, 2008

    Vintage Classics

    336 pages

    RRP $14.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Paperback

    9780553214505

    September 1, 2006

    Bantam US

    RRP $10.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Paperback

    9780140189704

    May 30, 1996

    Penguin Classics

    368 pages

    RRP $17.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Hardback

    9781857152029

    December 4, 1993

    Everyman

    308 pages

    RRP $24.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781407015613

    September 1, 2010

    Vintage Digital

    336 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton
The Reckoning
The Fruit Of The Tree
The House Of Mirth
Ethan Frome, Summer, Bunner Sisters
Ethan Frome And Other Short Stories
The New York Stories Of Edith Wharton
Ethan Frome
Mod Lib Custom Of The Country
Mod Lib Ethan Frome And Summer
Mod Lib House Of Mirth
Mod Lib The Age Of Innocence
Custom Of The Country
The Reef
The Custom Of The Country
Summer

Recommendations

To Kill A Mockingbird
War and Peace
The Handmaid's Tale
Brave New World
Pride And Prejudice
Crime And Punishment
Voyager
Echo Burning
Catch-22: 50th Anniversary Edition
A Gentleman in Moscow
Best Laid Plans
Fool Me Once
Beauty in Thorns
The 7th Function of Language
The Award
For Whom The Bell Tolls
The Golden House
The Girl on the Train
The Heart's Invisible Furies
Swing Time