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On a January evening of the early seventies, Christine Nilsson wassinging in Faust at the Academy of Music in New York...The Age of Innocence is Edith Wharton's twelfth novel, initiallyserialized in four parts in the Pictorial Review magazine in 1920, and later released by D. Appleton and Company as a book in New York andin London. It won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, making Whartonthe first woman to win the prize. The story is set in upper-class NewYork City in the 1870s, during the so-called Gilded Age.The Age of Innocence centers on an upper-class couple's impendingmarriage, and the introduction of the bride's cousin, plagued byscandal, whose presence threatens their happiness. Though the novelquestions the assumptions and morals of 1870s New York society, itnever develops into an outright condemnation of the institution.
The title is an ironic comment on the polished outward manners of NewYork society when compared to its inward machinations.