chapter  8
13 Pages

Reifying Innocence

Material Contexts of Love in The Age of Innocence and The Museum of Innocence
ByHulya Yagcioglu

This chapter aims to look at the ways in which the material world reflects on private lives and influences romantic relationships in two novels that speak of different historical periods: Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence and Orhan Pamuk's The Museum of Innocence. It focuses on the reification of innocence in light of the material contexts of love and social constraints of feelings. The chapter explores the various shades of innocence with an attempt to show the possibilities outside social constructs and limitations that cultural materialisms impose on love. Using the theoretical framework of fetishism and Eva Illouz' sociological approach to love, it examines how the psychological world is intimately bound by the physical world. The chapter also explores how commodity culture complicates human relations and blurs categories of subject and object in love relations. In both novels, sentimental relations are conditioned by social and cultural norms and the material world is what determines human relations.