The Gilded Gentleman Writers and Artists

The Age of Innocence: Celebrating Edith Wharton’s Masterpiece Novel

Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence is a perfect novel to read in the spring — maybe it’s all the flowers — so we are presenting to Bowery Boys listeners this marvelous literary-themed episode from the Gilded Gentleman.

The Age of Innocence is Edith Wharton’s most famous novel, an enduring classic of Old New York that has been rediscovered by a new generation.

What is it about this story of Newland Archer, May Welland and Countess Olenska that readers respond to today?

Noted Wharton scholar Dr. Emily Orlando joins Carl Raymond on The Gilded Gentleman podcast to delve into the background of this novel, take a deep dive into the personalities of the major characters and discuss what Wharton wanted to say in her masterpiece.  

Edith Wharton published The Age of Innocence at a very important moment in her life. 

When the novel came out in 1920, she had been living in France full-time for nearly 10 years and had seen the devastating effects of World War I up close.  

Her response was to look back with a sense of nostalgia to the time of her childhood to recreate that staid, restrictive world of New York in the 1870s. A world that, despite its restrictive, social cruelty, seemed to have some kind of moral center (at least to her). 

But it was a world in which Wharton, as a creative woman, could not live and work in. And so she transferred her life in stages to France.  

Listen today: The Age of Innocence with Dr. Emily Orlando

And subscribe to the Gilded Gentleman podcast for more fabulous tales of the Gilded Age. Find Carl on Apple, Spotify, Overcast, Simplecast or any place you get podcasts.

Orlando in front of Edith Wharton’s residence

Looking for more Edith Wharton listening? Here are a few podcast from The Gilded Gentleman and Bowery Boys catalog for you to dive into:

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