Arion Lyre

70. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, with photographs by Stephen Shore

The Age of Innocence, the novel by Edith Wharton, with an introduction by Diane Johnson, thirty-two color photographs by Stephen Shore, and with a note on the photographs by Sandra S. Phillips, 2004.

Age of Innocence Cover and Slipcase“Truly a thing of beauty” according to Forbes magazine, this edition celebrates a classic of American literature. The book has a special status as an affectionate record of the streets and buildings of New York City. At every moment of the novel the reader knows where the characters are, walking down a particular street, standing in front of a certain address, looking out the window of a familiar room.

The Arion Press edition is illustrated with images of the novel's actual setting, as they are today, captured by noted photographer Stephen Shore. Shore's work has been exhibited widely; New York Times chief art critic Michael Kimmelman raved about one exhibition: "The show is wonderful. The work’s laconic eloquence speaks of an era and a nation." Shore brought to this project a personal knowledge of the historic buildings and streets that made up Wharton's New York world. The photographer produced thirty-four color images for The Age of Innocence, two appearing on the slipcase and cover.

The Age of Innocence has an introduction by novelist Diane Johnson, who like Wharton is an American novelist who lives and writes in Paris. A note on Stephen Shore’s photographs was contributed by Sandra S. Phillips, curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Phillips writes of Shore's photographs for this book: "These are illustrations in the very best sense; they are accompaniments to this wonderful novel, and they extend our reading of it imaginatively in the present tense."

The format is octavo, 9-7/8 by 6-7/8 inches, 364 pages. The text type, Ronaldson Old Style, was chosen for its origin and use during the period of the novel. The title is set in Typo Script, with DeVinne Outline initials. The type was printed by letterpress on all cotton mouldmade Velata paper from the Magnani mill in Italy. The photographs were printed in color on paper that has been toned around the pictures to match the color of the text paper. The binding is full cloth. The slipcase has cloth edges top and bottom and is wrapped with a photograph of Central Park.

Read more about The Age of Innocence and the Arion Press edition


The edition is limited to three hundred numbered copies for sale and twenty-six lettered copies for complimentary distribution. All copies are signed by the photographer. The price is $850. Out of print.


The photographs by Stephen Shore are also offered individually as inkjet prints in editions limited to five for each of thirty-three images, the thirty-two in the book plus the photograph on the slipcase. The images are nine by twelve inches on thirteen by sixteen inch sheets. The paper is a heavy-weight all-cotton mouldmade sheet, specially treated for this process, Somerset Photo-Matte, from England. The price is $1,000 per signed print. The photographs are available for purchase separate from the book.

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In the Media

"Bibliophiles will now have to make space for Arion's latest creation – a limited edition of Edith Wharton's Pulitzer Prize-winning The Age of Innocence. The book's 34 digital images from photographer Stephen Shore take readers back to turn-of-the-century New York, as the backdrop for polite conversations masking cruel words. But it is the book as a whole, with its period Ronaldson Old Style type-from Arion's world-renowned collection, Potlatch Vintage paper for Shore's work, full-cloth binding over boards and slipcase wrapped with a photograph of Central Park that truly make it a thing of beauty. The Arion Press will print just 400 copies of this edition. Cruel words indeed."
– Stephanie Cooperman, Forbes, April 7, 2005