Novels 1881–1886: Washington Square / The Portrait of a

Novels 1881–1886: Washington Square / The Portrait of a

Novels 1881–1886: Washington Square / The Portrait of a Lady / The Bostonians [PDF / Epub] ✅ Novels 1881–1886: Washington Square / The Portrait of a Lady / The Bostonians By Henry James – Written in London and Italy between 1879 and 1885 the novels in this Library of America volume portray American women confronting crises of independence and possession Studies in the exercise of power Written in London and Italy between Washington Square PDF/EPUB ¿ and the novels in this Library of America volume portray American women confronting crises of independence and possession Studies in the exercise of power that marks relations between sexes classes and cultures they show James’s special solicitude for the young heroines who occupy the center of his fictional worldWashington Suare examines the life of Catherine Sloper a plain sweet Novels 1881–1886: PDF/EPUB or young woman who lives imprisoned by the selfishness of those close to her her lover who cares only for her fortune; her aunt who meddles for the sake of romantic intrigue; and her protective father who repays her adoration with irony and wit Set in the New York of the s Washington Suare evokes the still intimate city of James’s childhood while presenting a frightening moral lesson in the 1881–1886: Washington Square PDF ↠ human conseuences of manipulation and indifferenceThe Portrait of a Lady is the story of Isabel Archer a beautiful idealistic and inexperienced American woman who is made wealthy by her uncle at the instigation of her dying cousin Surrounded by the seductive pleasures of nineteenth century Europe she preserves her idealism despite involvement with some who would divert her life to uses of their own—Caspar Goodwood virile American captain 1881–1886: Washington Square / The PDF \ of industry; Lord Warburton scion of British aristocracy; Gilbert 1881–1886: Washington Square / The PDF \ Osmond connoisseur and collector of beautiful objects; Madame Merle subtle and charming expatriate of unknown connections and indomitable Henrietta Stackpole roving journalist and steadfast friend James’s many layered masterpiece concerns the perilous American pursuit of individual freedomThe Bostonians presents an unusual contest for the affections of Verena Tarrant the lovely naïve and pliant daughter of a mesmerist lecturer She is courted by two cousins Basil Ransom an impractical Mississippi landowner now pursuing a meager New York legal practice and Olive Chancellor a rich young Boston feminist Against the richly textured backdrop of Boston and New York society they enact a drama of confused identity and willful calculation that demonstrates the power and the perils engendered by the refusal of self knowledge.

10 thoughts on “Novels 1881–1886: Washington Square / The Portrait of a Lady / The Bostonians

  1. Henry Sturcke Henry Sturcke says:

    Washington Suare is famously the novel beloved of those who don’t like Henry James The author in turn thought so little of it that he omitted it from the New York edition that canonized his works for posterity So there is a certain correspondence between the author’s relation to this text and the feelings of Dr Sloper toward his daughter Catherine It is a charming tale well worth a readPortrait of a Lady is considered the masterpiece of James’s middle period and I would not dispute that The lady whose portrait is here presented is one of the most fully realized characters I’ve run across in fiction ranking with those in War and Peace and Crime and Punishment This is a particular achievement since James depicts Isabel Archer as a young woman highly eligible men fall in love with at first sight Yet the portrait is so rounded that the reader is inclined to find her as irresistibly charming faults and all as the author intended At any rate I feel as if I’ve known at least one young lady a lot like herThe inciting incident in the plot is that she has the misfortune to be made an heiress and to be thrust into the stratum of society whose members run into each other unexpectedly in Rome simply because May is the best month to be thereYet Portrait is peopled with a host of other characters such as Madame Merle One of the most enjoyable chapters to me was 19 when Isabel and Madame Merle have their first in depth conversation The opening of another chapter 22 a depiction of the Florentine villa in which Gilbert Osmond has his apartment is a masterly example of James’s virtuosityMasterly as well is the comic intrigue in Chapter 26 James is often witty but in this set piece of exchanges between and about the various characters the effect is hilarious albeit in his ornate latinate way I laughed even louder over the opening of Chapter 44 his portrait of Isabel’s sister in law Countess GeminiLike the other two novels The Bostonians has a female protagonist at the center Verena Tarrant said to be so vivaciously beautiful that at least two characters one male and one female fall in love with her at first sight Unlike Catherine Sloper and Isabel Archer however there is less of a center in her character The daughter of a mesmerist her appeal hovers on hypnosis as well while she seems to exist as a surface for the projections of others Coupled with her seemingly passive malleability whenever exposed to the conflicting ideals of Olive Chancellor and Basil Ransom she never comes alive for this reader in the way the others did This book contains fine Jamesian writing with a plot that unfolds slowly and dialectically I particularly enjoyed the way that the attempts of Olive and Basil to sway Verena often had an effect opposite from that intended Still if I were to rate each of these novels individually I would give the first two five stars and the final novel fourOne limitation of this Library of America edition is that it settles on one text which in its opinion is authoritative In the case of Portrait this is very close to that published in the first edition 1881 James however revised many of his books for the New York edition not always improving them but in the case of this book for the better Readers wanting to compare for themselves can find the text of the NY edition online

  2. Shelby Shelby says:

    actually Washington S I'd give four stars Lady three and Bostonians two Bostonians was bizarre

  3. P.S. Winn P.S. Winn says:

    This book is actually three classic stories written by an author I enjoy I also like the fact that the writer looks into the lives of women back in time when women were not allowed many rights

  4. Sandy Sandy says:

    I found this book interesting albeit long The psychology of Isabella Madame Merle Gilbert Osmond and many of the other characters was certainly complex I am much matter of fact and straight forward than any of them and it was interesting to read about their complex motivations and behaviors When my book club read and discussed this book there were some very different opinions which turned out to be a result of the fact that there are two versions of the book the first published in October 1881 by Houghton Mifflin and Company in Boston; the second was published 27 years later when James extensively revised the book for the New York Edition Charles Scribner's Sons 1908making this final version a very different book from the one that first appeared in 1881 pg 1239 This made for considerable confusion until we figured out that we had read different editions I just finished the 1881 edition I'd like to at least read the ending of the other I'm not sure if the changes are just in the ending or throughout the bookA couple of uotes I found interesting followIsabel sat there for half an hour and Pansy entertained her like a little lady not chattering but conversing and showing the same courteous interest in Isabel's affairs that Isabel was so good as to take in herspg 515 I liked the not chattering but conversing and hope I can try and do that myselfReferring to Isabel visiting old Romeshe rested her weariness upon things that had crumbled for centuries and yet still were upright; she dropped her secret sadness into the silence of lonely places where its very modern uality detached itself and grew objective pg 723 I especially liked how she dropped her secret sadness into the silence of lonely placesAgain referring to Isabel she reflected that things change but little while people change so much pg 777Later as Isabel considered her aunt Isabel saw that her aunt was not so dry as she appeared and her old pity for the poor woman's inexpressiveness her want of regret of disappointment came back to herIt seemed to her she would find it a blessing to day to be able to indulge a regret She wondered whether Mrs Touchett were not trying whether she she had not a desire for the recreation of grief pg 779 The phrase want of regret struck me as did the recreation of griefADDITIONAL NOTES ADDED MARCH 2013 My book club just reread this book last month Feb 2013 and once again there was disagreement about the ending I had a niggling feeling that this was the book we'd read a few years back that had two endings but it wasn't until after our meeting that I looked this up on my notes in Goodreads and discovered that we were repeating what we had done 3 12 years ago aah do we ever learn?

  5. Ben Ben says:

    The train for Marmion left Boston at four o'clock in the afternoon and rambled fitfully toward the southern cape while the shadows grew long in the stony pastures and the slanting light gilded the straggling shabby woods and painted the ponds and marshes with yellow gleams The ripeness of summer lay upon the land and yet there was nothing in the country Basil Ransom traversed that seemed susceptible of maturity; nothing but the apples in the little tough dense orchards which gave a suggestion of sour fruition here and there and the tall bright golden rod at the bottom of the bare stone dykes There were no fields of yellow grain; only here and there a crop of brown hay But there was a kind of soft scrubbiness in the landscape and a sweetness begotten of low horizons of mild air with a possibility of summer haze of unregarded inlets where on August mornings the water must be brightly blue Ransom had heard that the Cape was the Italy so to speak of Massachusetts; it had been described to him as the drowsy Cape the languid Cape the Cape not of storms but of eternal peace He knew that the Bostonians had been drawn thither for the hot weeks by its sedative influence by the conviction that its toneless air would minister to perfect rest In a career in which there was so much nervous excitement as in their they had no wish to be wound up when they went out of town; they were sufficiently would up at all times by the sense of all their sex had been through

  6. Harry Harry says:

    Early on it struck me how James writing was similar to David Foster Wallace long sentences incredible vocabulary well written However it reuired somehow concentration to stay with James This may be the difference of time period and the serious nature of the earlier writing The characters in the Bostonian are all extremely flawed It is hard to identify with anyone except the lady doctor who plays such a small part and adds little to the story Come to think of it all the characters in Infinite Jest are flawed as well It was hard to identify with many of the character actions They seemed stereotypical almost portraits of classes of people James disliked Reading the introduction finally it was interesting that the book was championed at different times both by chauvinists and women's lib It points out just how ambiguous the writing was You couldn't really tell which side James was trying to support That has to be intentional and is an example of James' skill as a writer This was mostly accomplished by showing the ugliness failure sadness of each character and their inability to do anything you could consider truly good and worthwhile Most of the elaborate scene descriptions are dark and depressing There is little in the book that is upbeat and all successes are tainted

  7. Amelia Halverson Amelia Halverson says:

    I enjoyed Washington Suare and The Portrait of a Lady but thought The Bostonians really boring and hard to get through HOwever it was a good 'before bed' read as it instantly made me fall asleep They all demonstrate varying degrees to which the female characters are susceptible and influenced by the other characters both malefemale out of sense of responsibility and duty to their roles of being a woman at that time It was well represented in female characters from various classes but the main characters all seemed to be wealthy women in society Ultimately it manifests the effects of individual freedom or the lack thereof for women of that time in very perspective and often cruel way which is interesting having been written by a male author of the time after allI also recommend the movie versions of Washington Suare starring Jennifer Jason Leigh Albet Finney The Portrait of a Lady starring Nicole Kidman as Isabel John Malkovich as Osmond and Barbara Hershey as Madame Merle I watched them both after reading the books and found them to be really good adaptations

  8. Allen Allen says:

    I determined that I would read all of James' oeuvre haven't done it yet but I read all of these his fiction has a carriage pace but there is something wonderful about how he holds time back so that he can muse there is indirection in him than in Proust but the intention to hold on moment by moment is shared and James had the odd idea of being popular in the sense of being marketable I do not know if Proust thought a market existed for the involved observations that he made Capote thought he could fake up a Proustian vortex but it was a hack job anyway following James' patiently involved divagations is a worthwhile effort

  9. James Violand James Violand says:

    These three works are his best Washington Suare The Portrait of a Lady and The Bostonians I've read nine of his novels and a book of his short stories It appears as though his earlier works were better written By the time I got to The Wings of the Dove 1902 I had grown tired of him By the end of his career there wasn't a simple action or thought that he couldn't convey in an unending stream of words His mantra seemed to be I could be succinct but why? I enjoy writing I couldn't give a damn whether I burden the reader with my verbal diarrhea A highly overrated writer maybe because he was an ex patriot

  10. Paul Jellinek Paul Jellinek says:

    Talk about a literary triple crown Three stone masterpieces between two covers including some of the most exuisite descriptive writing in American literature eg the opening lawn scene in Portrait of a Lady the Cape Cod scenes at the end of Bostonians And the characters The one thing that these three novels do have in common besides the uality of the writing is that each involves a young woman whom others seek to dominate or exploit for their own purposes But how those struggles play out varies dramatically across the three novels a reminder that while James was a master of form he was never ever formulaic

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