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list0n22
05-03-2006, 09:52 PM
How can people love this book. It is the useless blabber of a mentally unstable woman from the turn of the century. It shows no real themes and has no moral. I found this book to be one of the worst I've ever read.

The Unnamable
05-04-2006, 06:00 PM
How can people love this book. It is the useless blabber of a mentally unstable woman from the turn of the century. It shows no real themes and has no moral. I found this book to be one of the worst I've ever read.
Who was it that called it, “The ages and ages and ages of innocence”?

Scheherazade
05-04-2006, 08:12 PM
How can people love this book. It is the useless blabber of a mentally unstable woman from the turn of the century. It shows no real themes and has no moral. I found this book to be one of the worst I've ever read.Having read this book only recently, I am at a loss that you call it 'blabber of a mentally unstable woman' (even though I respect your right not to like it). I am not sure who this 'mentally unstable woman' is. Wharton herself or one of the characters in the book? I have not come across any sources suggesting that Wharton suffered mentally.

As for the book... To begin with, the novel's leading character is not a woman but a man, Newland Archer. The book questions many things among which are marriage and women's role in it, divorce, the stiff attitude of New York aristocracy, of which Wharton herself was a member. She writes beautifully, making use of subtle irony and sarcasm.

I will not go as far as to say that it is one of the best books I have read; however, to call it a 'blabber' would be a great injustice in my opinion and I would suggest you give it another chance and read it again.

SleepyWitch
07-17-2006, 07:35 AM
I'm reading it these days.. i've read about half of it...
so far, I've loved it... i like the style a lot... it's clear and easy to read...
i found it very interesting to learn about New York's 19th c. 'aristocracy'... i used to think only English people were particularly prudish during this era, but it turns out the Americans were even worse....
i like the way it's written because it's so much more open and direct than many novels on similar themes... (of course, it was written in 1920, so the author was not encumbered by 19th c. restrictions...)

SleepyWitch
07-17-2006, 07:37 AM
PS: it said in the preface of my Penguin edition that Wharton's husband was mentally instable.. he had a nervous breakdown, after which they got divorced

HelenB
01-18-2007, 09:36 PM
If you can't feel the impact of The Age of Innocence I suspect it would be useless to try to explain it. I have just finished reading it and it was one of the most "true" novels I ever read. And so beautifully written. I just don't know how you could not be affected by it!

amalia1985
01-13-2008, 11:54 AM
It is clear that you cannot understand the value of the book. Still, you cannot provoke the others who love it, by calling "names". HelenB is right.

mazz
02-29-2008, 04:12 AM
I liked the book too, though it took a second read to grasp it. It's such a comment on society and proper "form" of the time. You have to keep the perspective of the era in mind, otherwise you would think it was babble if you tried to relate it to now. But then some people don't particularly enjoy the delicate eroticism of a gloved hand.....

Dark Muse
03-19-2008, 12:29 PM
Though I found the book paled in comparrison to The House of Mirth, which was excellent I thought, I still enjoyed The Age of Innocence, and it was a good book, and I think a good anylisis of the way the "society" shaped people's lives, and the damage thier so called standards caused in the long run.

I did think the way the book ended was quite fabulous.

Truthlover
08-12-2009, 05:59 PM
I tried reading this book about a year ago. I got bogged down in the fourth chapter and then left it on the shelf because it was boring me to death. I came back again to it today and have begun reading it again. When I first read "listOn22"'s comment, I feel I agree with him. This is the same reaction I felt. Is all the snobbery and superficiality leading somewhere? I am waiting for any of you who are commenting on The Age of Innocence, to state clearly what transcendent value it has beyond showing us how people were trapped by social convention. Is that all the book has to communicate? Nothing more? Or is that enough?
I am willing to give the book another chance. Perhaps it's something like Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. The first half of this enormous book sounds like all the author is talking about is people's clothes, hairdos, shoe styles, etc. I started asking myself, "Is this book just a superficial account of people showing off their finery? Or is there something the author is trying to tell me?" Eventually, into the second part of the book, I realized that the author himself was speaking ironically. Apparently he was trying to elicit from me the very repugnance I felt about the superficiality and vanity of the people. Why? Because in the second half everything changes. The people who were the most superficial and materialistic (like Levin) become deeply spiritual. The ones who were spiritual (like Anna) become vane and victims of worldliness.
Does The Age of Innocence go any deeper than what first appears to the reader? Is this just a "nice" story, or does it communicate some special message we all need to know and live by? What makes this book a classic?

NickAdams
08-12-2009, 06:28 PM
Since when have morals been a requirement? If you want morals read a pamphlet.

Truthlover
08-13-2009, 01:36 PM
Thank you for your comment "Since when have morals been a requirement?" I was not aware that I was talking about morals. Actually, I don't think a novel has to communicate "morals". You are right, a pamphlet can do that. However, I am honestly looking for what this book is trying to communicate to the reader. I do not expect an author to make the message obvious. In fact, it may be better for a message to be subtly communicated. I found this to be true of the Hobbit. I only figured it out when I was done reading it. There are books that remain on the superficial level but, at the same time, have tremendous messages to relay to us.

NickAdams
08-13-2009, 01:48 PM
Thank you for your comment "Since when have morals been a requirement?" I was not aware that I was talking about morals. Actually, I don't think a novel has to communicate "morals". You are right, a pamphlet can do that. However, I am honestly looking for what this book is trying to communicate to the reader. I do not expect an author to make the message obvious. In fact, it may be better for a message to be subtly communicated. I found this to be true of the Hobbit. I only figured it out when I was done reading it. There are books that remain on the superficial level but, at the same time, have tremendous messages to relay to us.

That was for the creator of this thread. I have a bad habit of not looking at the posting date.:lol:

Truthlover
08-15-2009, 11:45 PM
Thank you NickAdams. Although I mistakenly thought your comment was addressed to me, I appreciated it very much. It made me start thinking deeply. In fact for the past three days, ever since reading your reply, I've been meditating on it. I've been asking myself what am I really looking for in a novel. My first impressions of this novel may change drastically when I get further into it. I am willing to learn from this experience, as I have done with several other novels, when I found out how wrong I was. First impressions can sometimes be quite mistaken. If the author has set it up that way, there must be a reason. Even though your remark was not meant as a critique of my own comment, it caused me to question my role as a reader. Thank you very much. (You can do lots of good even when you don't know it!)

virginiawang
04-15-2010, 05:15 AM
I was suffering tortures when I read the book. I felt a clash of my personality against that of the author, and I almost wished at times to leave off the book entirely if I had not wanted to know what happened so badly. I am really not interested in all the details of that aristocratic society, described with strange words, too many names, and above all, in a tone which I hate. Who can tell me just what happened to the man? Did he fall in love with the woman having a bad reputation? Whom did he get married with?

Silversmith
10-24-2010, 12:04 AM
I really enjoyed this book, and I find it interesting that a book I loved so much - and saw as incredibly rich and developed - others saw in a far less appealing light. I felt Archer was an extremely well crafted character, and the other people in his world were just as well molded. While the novel did spend a good deal of time on material that didn't really progress the "plot", I felt that simply added to the world in which I, as a reader, was drawn. While I realize different people have different tastes, I hope that those who disliked this book will give it another try.