"Contexts" constructs the historical foundation for this very historical novel. Many documents are included on the "New York Four Hundred," elite social gatherings, archery (the sport for upper-crust daughters), as well as Wharton’s manuscript outlines, letters, and related writings. "Criticism" collects eleven American and British contemporary reviews and nine major essays on The Age of Innocence, including a groundbreaking piece on the two film adaptations of the novel. “A Chronology and Selected Bibliography” are also included.
The text of Wharton’s richly allusive Pulitzer Prize–winning 1921 novel of desire and its implications in Old New York has been rigorously annotated by a prominent Wharton scholar.