The Ambassadors (Paperback)

Author: James, Henry

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Product Overview


Publisher Sterling Pub Co Inc
Mfg Part# 9781593083786
SKU 204522781
Format Paperback
ISBN10 1593083785
Release Date 8/13/2012
Dimensions (in Inches) 7.75H x 5.25L x 1.25T
Author Info
Henry James
Henry James was born into a wealthy Irish-American family who settled mainly in New York City's Greenwich Village and in Albany, New York, but lived and traveled extensively in Europe while Henry was growing up. Educated at a variety of schools in the U.S. and abroad, Henry spent a year at Harvard Law School, which he loathed, and used his time haunting the library and attending James Russell Lowell's lectures at Harvard College. Soon after, he began publishing short stories and reviews. When he was in his late teens, he spent much of his time on his own in Europe--chiefly England, France, and (his favorite) Italy--and, as he approached his 30s he became a virtual resident of Europe, returning to the U.S. only for brief periods. James became increasingly successful, wealthy, and respected as a writer of fiction and as a critic; his brilliantly insightful prefaces to his novels have influenced many writers. His attempts to write plays were all sad failures: To be a successful dramatist was a lifelong dream for James, but he seemed to lack the ability to dramatize action anywhere but on the printed page. In 1896 he settled at Lamb House, in Sussex, where he lived until his death in 1916. Reactions to James's work range from scorn and impatience (H. G. Wells called him "a hippopotamus resolved at any cost...upon picking up a pea") to reverence. Despite his increasing mannered and challenging style, James's work endures as great literature because of his humane sensibility, his insight into American and European culture, his moral clarity, his delicate wit, and the lucid subtlety of his language.
'If one starts selecting from James there is no end; it is like choosing an Alp; he dominates the Anglo-American scene for fifty years. The 'Ambassadors; is one of his few novels in which European values are clearly show as preferable to American....Besides being his supreme offering to Paris, his renunciation of Puritian America, it is a book in which he considered the form most completely weeded to the content."
From the Publisher
First Line Strether's first question, when he reached the hotel, was about his friend: yet on his learning that Waymarsh was apparently not to arrive till evening he was not wholly disconcerted.
Annotation Lambert Strether is dispatched to Paris by the widowed Mrs. Newsome--his fianc?e--to bring back her son Chadwick. It is rumored that Chad has fallen under the spell of a Frenchwoman of dubious reputation, and his mother wants him to return to take over the running of the Newsome Mills, in Massachusetts. Once in Paris, Strether undergoes a personality change. Not only does he advise Chad to remain there with his lover--the charming Mme. de Vionnet--but he comes perilously close to succumbing to the city's magic himself. The ending is both unexpected and deeply ironic; Strether's situation illustrates James's lifelong preoccupation with the differences in culture, morality, and the concept of the good life in a city like Paris vs. a New England mill town. It is, of course, no secret where the author's sympathies lie. As the aging Strether expresses it in a word of advice to a younger character: "Live all you can....Don't miss things out of stupidity. Live!" James considered this novel to be his masterpiece, and--despite its extreme length, slowness, and quiet absence of action or real suspense--critical opinion generally agrees with him.
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