2 cassettes / 3 hours
Read by Kate Nelligan
In gas-lit 1870s New York, when society people "dread scandal more than disease", affable and affluent Newland Archer is deeply troubled. Seemingly content to live out his years in a conventional and moribund marriage to May, he is forced to confront an overwhelming passion for the bizarre and challenging Countess Ellen Olenska. To follow such a passion would ut everything at risk - his family, his name, and his position in New York society. But is not an all-consuming love worth more than the superficial values of the elite . . ?
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Somewhere in this book, Wharton observes that clever liars always come up with good stories to back up their fabrications, but that really clever liars don't bother to explain anything at all. This is the kind of insight that makes The Age of Innocence so indispensable. Wharton's story of the upper classes of Old New York, and Newland Archer's impossible love for the disgraced Countess Olenska, is a perfectly wrought book about an era when upper-class culture in this country was still a mixture of American and European extracts, and when "society" had rules as rigid as any in history.Book Description:
Cambridge Literature is a series of literary texts edited for study by students aged 14-18 in English-speaking classrooms. It will include novels, poetry, short stories, essays, travel-writing and other non-fiction. The series will be extensive and open-ended and will provide school students with a range of edited texts taken from a wide geographical spread.
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