Hard Cover. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1920. 1st Edition. Very Good / Dust Jacket Included.
First edition, first printing. Publisher's deep red cloth, lettered in black; in the original white dust jacket, lettered in blue, with nine lines of text to the spine, quote from a review by William Lyon Phelps to the rear panel. Very good, with some light wear to the extremities, minor toning to the spine, former owner's inscription to the front pastedown, a hint of offsetting to the endpapers, otherwise bright and clean pages; unclipped dust jacket, with some light wear and minor nicks to the extremities, bright spine, a few short closed tears to the top edges of the panels, small chip to the bottom corner of the front panel, a few minor smudges, else bright and clean. Overall, a beautiful and unsophisticated copy in the extremely scarce dust jacket. Housed in a custom quarter morocco folding box. Garrison A30.I.aI. Notably, there are three states of the dust jacket for The Age of Innocence, two of which are of indeterminate priority but are both decisively prioritized over the third. Later state dust jackets are distinguished by the substitution of "by the author of 'The House of Mirth'" for a six line announcement of the Columbia (Pulitzer) Prize (which the book won in 1921). The two earlier states of the dust jacket are differentiated by the author of the review blurbs on the rear panel, with one being a quotation from Percy Lubbock and the other an excerpt from an article by William Lyon Phelps. In his bibliography, Garrison explains that "evidence suggests that bounds copies of the first Appleton printing were imported for sale in England, in lieu of an English printing or issue" and notes that it was customary for Appleton to distinguish between its English, Canadian, and "Colonial" editions (this copy has no such distinction.) Furthermore, the two earlier versions of the dust jacket likely reflect the publisher's intention to cater to its respective marketplaces, as Phelps was an American reviewer for The New York Times, and Lubbock was an English essayist. Neither author would have garnered much support outside of his home nation. Indeed, Sarah Baldwin of E. Wharton & Co. argues that the Lubbock jacket was produced for copies exported for sale in England. Originally published serially in the Pictorial Review in 1920, The Age of Innocence is Wharton's twelfth novel. It tells the story of Newland Archer and his fiancé May Welland as they prepare for their upcoming marriage, a joyous occasion that is threatened by the appearance of the bride's dramatic cousin Countess Ellen Olenska. Like many of Wharton's novels, The Age of Innocence features the upper-class society of New York City in the 19th century. Although she moved to Paris in 1913 and spent much of the remainder of her life in France, Wharton notably continued to write about New York City and its social elite and drew much inspiration from her own childhood experiences living on Washington Square Park. Interestingly, Wharton revives some of this novel's characters, including Mrs. (Catherine) Manson Mingott, Sillerton Jackson, Mrs. Lemuel Struthers and Henry van der Luyden, in her 1924 set of novellas Old New York. Notably, The Age of Innocence won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, making it the first book by a female author to win the prestigious award.