The Great American Novel podcast is an ongoing discussion about the novels we hold up as significant achievements in our American literary culture. Additionally, we sometimes suggest novels who should break into the sometimes problematical canon and at other times we’ll suggest books which can be dropped from such lofty consideration. Your hosts are Kirk Curnutt and Scott Yarbrough, professors with little time and less sense who nonetheless enjoy a good book banter.
This episode focuses on Edith Wharton’s Pulitzer Prize winning 1920 novel The Age of Innocence. We consider this classic novel of manners and discuss Edith Wharton’s life, including her troubled marriage to an abusive husband and her friendship with writer Henry James. We contrast her novel to Sinclair Lewis’ Main Street, her competition for the Pulitzer Prize that year. Ultimately, we ask: what are we to make of the novel and its characters?
The intro song is “Old Ralley” by Lobo Loco; the outro is “Inspector Invisible,” also by Lobo Loco. The film trailer clips are from the trailers for Martin Scorcese’s 1993 adaptation of the novel, starring Michelle Pfeifer and Daniel Day Lewis.