Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence: A Cultural Studies Reading

Pirnajmuddin Hossein, Fatemeh Shahpoori Arani

Abstract


The Age of Innocence, a novel written by Edith Wharton in 1920, demonstrates the polished outward manners of powerful wealthy families of the 1870s New York. The novel offers a good opportunity for cultural studies of an American society at the end of the nineteenth century. Through language, Edith Wharton has turned social and individual behaviors of New Yorkers into a text which makes reading and interpretation of those people possible. Given that the word culture has, and has had, myriad meanings and changing significance for different societies and in different periods, for a study of this kind a variety of factors (like capitalism, class, gender, city, and family) are considered crucial. This study focuses on some cultural concepts dominant in The Age of Innocence: high art, capitalism, city and citizenship, family, and marriage.Key words: Cultural studies; Edith Wharton; The Age of Innocence; High art; Capitalism; City; Family; Marriage.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968%2Fj.sll.1923156320110201.015

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