The Age Of Innocence Author: Novelist, short story writer, and designer Edith Wharton (born Edith Newbold Jones; January 24, 1862–August 11, 1937) was an American author. It was Wharton’s intimate understanding of the New York “aristocracy” that allowed her to Accurately portray Gilded Age society and morals. For her novel The Age of Innocence, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature for the first time in 1921.
Infancy: George Frederic Jones and Lucretia Stevens Rhinelander gave birth to Edith Wharton on January 24, 1862, in their brownstone at 14 West Twenty-third Street in New York City. “Pussy Jones” was her nickname among her friends and family. Frederic Rhinelander, who was 16 years older, and Henry Edward, who was 12 years older, were her two elder brothers. Grace Church baptized her on Easter Sunday, April 20, 1862. Her family’s excursions to Europe after the war were prompted by the depreciation of American currency, which Wharton does not mention in her family history.
The Jones family traveled to France, Italy, Germany, and Spain from 1866 until 1872. As a child, Edith learned French, German, and Italian while traveling. She nearly died from typhoid illness at the age of nine, when the family went to a Black Forest spa. New York City was their winter home, while Rhode Island was their summer home, after returning to the United States in 1872. During her time in Europe, she received an education from governesses and tutors.
Earliest draughts of Edward’s Edith Wharton
From an early age, Wharton was a storyteller and a writer. When she was four or five years old, her family relocated to Europe, and she began what she called “making up.” It is said that she would stroll about with an open book and turn the pages as she improvised a story for her family. At the age of eleven, Wharton attempted to create her first novel after beginning to compose poetry and fiction as a young girl. After her mother’s harsh criticism, she turned to poetry as a form of self-expression. They first published work was at the age of 15, when she translated Heinrich Karl Brugsch’s poem “Was die Steine Erzählen” (“What the Stones Speak”) and was paid $50.
Later on: Wharton was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1921 for her novel The Age of Innocence (1920). Columbia University’s advisory council, chaired by conservative university president Nicholas Murray Butler, overruled the judgment of the three fiction judges to award the prize to Sinclair Lewis for his satire Main Street, and instead awarded the medal to The Age of Innocence. In 1927, 1928, and 1930, she was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature. In 1996, she was honored with a spot in the National Women’s Hall of Fame with her induction. The House of Mirth and Ethan Frome are two of her best-known novels.
Henry James, Sinclair Lewis, Jean Cocteau, and André Gide were all guests in Wharton’s home at some point in their lives, as were many other notable intellectuals. Kenneth Clark and Theodore Roosevelt were also close friends. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “one of the best known unsuccessful encounters in the American literary annals” was detailed by the editors of her letters. Many of her works were published in both French and English because she was fluent in these languages.
It wasn’t until 1934 that Edith Wharton wrote her autobiography, A Backward Glance. Judith E. Funston, writing about Edith Wharton in American National Biography, believes that she was a great American author. Her criticism of Lucretia Jones [her mother], her difficulties with Teddy, and the affair with Morton Fullerton, which only came to light in 1968 when her papers were opened in Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, are the most notable aspects of A Backward Glance, which was published in 1938.
Wharton died of a heart attack on June 1, 1937, while working on a revised edition of The Decoration of Houses at Ogden Codman’s French country estate. Le Pavilion Colombe, Saint-Brice-sous-Forêt, France, by Wharton On August 11, 1937, she died of a stroke at her home in Saint-Brice-sous-Forêt, France, in Le Pavillon Colombe, an 18th-century house on Rue de Montmorency. At 5:30 p.m., she passed away, although no one in Paris had heard of it.
There was Mrs. Royall Tyler, a longtime acquaintance, by her side as she passed away. With “all the honors given a combat hero and chevalier of the Legion of Honor,” Wharton was laid to rest in Versailles’ American Protestant part of the Cimetière des Gonards, where “some one hundred friends sung a stanza of the hymn, ‘O Paradise’…” The Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Age of Innocence, is a story of love and treachery set in 1920s New York City. Archer is a wealthy lawyer from an aristocratic family who is betrothed to May Welland, a beautiful socialite.
When May’s cousin, Countess Ellen Olenska, enters their gilded circle, the intricate social structures of their lives are thrown into turmoil. In contrast to May, Ellen, who has just lately ended her marriage to a dissolute Polish count, is free-spirited, unconventional, and artistic—all qualities that make Archer fall over over heels in love with her. Archer is torn between his feelings for Ellen and his responsibilities to May, and the decision he makes will have repercussions for the rest of their lives.
At the age of forty-one, Wharton published her first novel and went on to become a prolific author. It’s not just her 15 novels, seven novellas, and eighty-five short stories that she’s written; she’s also released a book of poetry. She wrote a short narrative in 1873 and gave it to her mother, who read it out to her in 1874. As a result of her mother’s criticisms, Wharton vowed to write solely poetry from now on. She was always looking for her mother’s approval and love, but she rarely got it.
Her mother’s relationship with her was strained from the start. When she was only fifteen, she penned Fast and Loose (1877). Writing about society was a passion of hers when she was younger. In many ways, the lessons she learned growing up were shaped by the relationships she had with her parents. She was a harsh critic of her own work, publishing public critiques in which she bemoaned the quality of her efforts. Additionally, she wrote about her own personal journey through life. Henry Stevens is the subject of “Intense Love’s Utterance.”
Lucretia Jones, Wharton’s mother, was frequently depicted in her works. One of the most devastating acts of revenge ever done by a literary daughter was revealed by biographer Hermione Lee. Wharton portrays her mother in her autobiography, A Backward Glance, as lazy, spendthrift, censorious, judgmental, shallow, chilly, dry, and sardonic in her description of her mother.
In Wharton’s boyhood home, slang-laden American children’s books were banned. Mark Twain, Bret Harte, or “Uncle Remus” were only some of the well-known authors in this category. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and Charles Kingsley’s Water Babies were the only books Wharton was allowed to read during her time at school. “I read everything else but books” was Wharton’s response to her mother’s prohibition on her reading a large number of novels. As a result, Wharton turned to her father’s extensive collection of literature, philosophy, history, and poetry, including works by Daniel Defoe.