Edith Wharton in the News: The Age of Innocence in The New Yorker

“The Age of Innocence” at a Moment of Increased Appetite for Eating the Rich

By Hillary KellyDecember 26, 2020

Winona Rider and Daniel DayLewis riding in a carriage in The Age of Innocence.
The material excess is bait for readers who want to admire the trappings of wealth even as they root for the downfall of the wealthy.Photograph from Columbia Pictures / Photofest

When she began writing “The Age of Innocence,” in September, 1919, Edith Wharton needed a best-seller. The economic ravages of the First World War had cut her annual income by about sixty per cent. She’d recently bought and begun to renovate a country house, Pavillon Colombe, in Saint-Brice-sous-Forêt, where she installed new black-and-white marble floors in the dining room, replaced a “humpy” lawn with seven acres of lavish gardens, built a water-lily pond, and expanded the potager, to name just a few additions. She was still paying rent at her apartment at 53 Rue de Varenne, in Paris—a grand flat festooned with carved-wood cherubs and ornate fireplaces. The costs added up.

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/the-age-of-innocence-at-a-moment-of-increased-appetite-for-eating-the-rich