In 1921 The Age of Innocence won the Pulitzer Prize, the first time this prestigious award had been won by a woman author. Widely regarded as one of Edith Wharton's greatest achievements, The Age of Innocence is not only subtly satirical, but also a sometimes dark and disturbing comedy of manners in its exploration of the 'eternal triangle' of love.
Newland Archer, soon to marry the lovely May Welland, is a man torn between his respect for tradition and family and his attraction to May's strongly independent cousin, the Countess Ellen Olenska. Plagued by the desire to live in a world where they could love each other free from condemnation and judgment, Newland views the world he lives in as a comforting security one moment, and at another, as an oppressive fiction. The Age of Innocence is at once a richly drawn portrait of the elegant lifestyles and fascinating culture of bygone New York society and a compelling look at the conflict between human passions and the social tribe that tries to control them.