The Age of Innocence Turns 100!

The Age of Innocence is Edith Wharton’s twelfth novel, initially serialized in four parts in the Pictorial Review magazine in 1920, and later released by D. Appleton and Company as a book in New York and in London. It won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, making Wharton the first woman to win the prize.

2020 marks the centennial of this extraordinary novel.  Its central theme-the pitting of individual aspiration against the silent, crushing authority of the social tribe-is as important and relevant as ever. BBC’s Sounds Arts & Ideas podcast recently aired, The wealth gap, #MeToo and Edith Wharton, which  showcases how relevant Wharton’s novel is today.

Roxanne Gay, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Dennis Lehane have all cited The Age of Innocence as one of their favorite novels and they are not alone. The novel continues to be recognized as one of America’s greatest works of literature.

We hope you join us in celebrating this anniversary. Here are some ways you can be involved:

(Re)Read it or (Re)Watch it!

Pick up copies of new centennial editions of The Age of Innocence. The Scribner edition features an  introduction by Colm Toibin and the Penguin Classics edition features an introduction by Elif Batuman, which was featured in the New York Times Book Review.

Choose The Age of Innocence for your next Book Club pick and have one our interpreters lead a discussion for your Club, here at The Mount. For more information, call 413-551-5100 or email

Host a screening of Martin Scorsese’s 1993 film adaptation starring Michelle Pfeiffer as Countess Ellen Olenska, Daniel Day-Lewis as Newland Archer, and Winona Ryder as May Welland Archer. Ryder won a Golden Globe Award for her performance, and the film won an Academy Award for costume design.

Centennial Celebrations at The Mount

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak The Mount is currently closed. We are working on a schedule of online events to commemorate the centennial. Check back for updates.

Writing The Age of Innocence
In this new exhibit, we look behind the finished page to follow Edith Wharton’s creative process, as she turned rough notes into a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.

Researching The Age of Innocence
Wednesday, July 1, 4:00 PM
Anne Schuyler, Director of Interpretation and Nicholas Hudson, Curatorial Assistant, share insights from their research in preparation for of the centennial celebration of Wharton’s Pulitzer prize-winning novel.

100 Years of Innocence: A Conversation with Arielle Zibrak and Sarah Blackwood
Thursday, July 9 at 4:00 PM
Authors and Wharton scholars Arielle Zibrak and Sarah Blackwood will discuss changing reactions to The Age of Innocence over the last 100 years. This is an online event.

Telling Two Stories with Elif Batuman and Jennifer Haytock
Thursday, August 6, 4:00 PM
Author Elif Batuman and Wharton scholar Jennifer Haytock will share how their own multiple readings of The Age of Innocence has informed their understanding of social norms, class and privilege, from Wharton’s old New York through today.

Recent & Upcoming Publications by Wharton Scholars

Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence: New Centenary Essays

The New Edith Wharton Studies

Women Adapting: Bringing Three Serials of the Roaring Twenties to Stage and Screen

Edith Wharton and the Modern Privileges of Age

Please check back often as we continue to add more centennial news and events.  Media inquires looking for additional information please contact:

Rebecka McDougall, Director of Communications & Community Outreach