- Edith Wharton was 57 when she wrote The Age of Innocence.
- She was living as an expatriate in Paris after WWI and was concerned with what she saw was happening in the world as it moved toward a more modern, mechanical age.
- She grew up in New York to a very wealthy family. She enjoyed all the benefits that her station in life and wealth could afford but she still saw that her life was very confined by the societal confines put on her.
- In the book she called people, like her own family, Old New York.
- "To Wharton, Old New York imposed on its members set rules and expectations for practically everything: manners, fashions, behaviors, and even conversations. Those who breached the social code were punished, with exquisite politeness, by the other members."
- She was unhappily married to a man, thirteen years her senior. From her experiences, it is believed, she formed her character Ellen Oleska, who had to face the temptations of adultery and the horrors of divorce.
- Wharton was awarded the Pulitzer Prize under a cloud of controversy. Two of the members of the selection committee wanted to award Lewis' Main Street as the winner, but the chairman overturned their decision and gave the award to Wharton for its “wholesome atmosphere of American life and the highest standard of American manners and manhood.” Wharton wondered if they had understood the book at all (Reader's Almanac).
So now I dig in and see what the book shall reveal to me. The version I am reading is 380 pages long. I have seven weeks in which to finish it, if I am able to complete it by the deadline of May 2nd. If I stay on schedule that is 55 pages a week, a very doable goal.
I'm off to find a cozy spot for an afternoon of reading.