The Age of Innocenceis author Edith Wharton's 12th novel. It won the1921 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, making it the first novel written by a woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and thus Wharton the first woman to win the prize. The story is set in upper-class New York City in the 1870s.
The Age of Innocencecenters on an upper-class couple's impending marriage, and the introduction of a woman plagued by scandal whose presence threatens their happiness. Though the novel questions the assumptions and morals of 1870s New York society, it never devolves into an outright condemnation of the institution. In fact, Wharton considered this novel an "apology" for her earlier novel, The House of Mirth, which was more brutal and critical.
The novel is noted for Wharton's attention to detail and its accurate portrayal of how the 19th-century East CoastAmerican upper classlived,and the social tragedy of its plot. Wharton was 58 years old at publication; she had lived in that world and had seen it change dramatically by the end ofWorld War I.