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
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.
Editors Note The Ambassadors, by Henry James, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics: New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars Biographies of the authors Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events Footnotes and endnotes Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work Comments by other famous authors Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations Bibliographies for further reading Indices & Glossaries, when appropriateAll editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works. One of Henry James’s three late masterpieces, and an exemplar of his complex, mature style, The Ambassadors is considered by many the author’s finest work. James himself judged it to be “frankly, quite the best, ‘all round,’ of my productions.” The story follows Lambert Strether, a staunch and stoical New Englander, as he travels abroad to rescue his employer’s prodigal son, Chad, from the seductive pitfalls of existence in Paris. Yet the social pleasures of the European capital awaken new urges in the fifty-five year old, and he begins to reconsider his own inadequately realized life. He soon beseeches Chad, “Live all you can; it’s a mistake not to. It doesn’t so much matter what you do in particular, so long as you have your life. If you haven’t had that what have you had?”  As Strether himself becomes involved in a relationship with the fascinating Maria Gostrey, a second, more determined, ambassador is dispatched. An ultimatum is delivered—and resisted—but then an accident reveals surprising truths to Strether, and he must decide whether his loyalties lie with old Europe or new America.   A bittersweet paean to the life not lived, The Ambassadors is one of the most achingly beautiful and moving novels ever written. Kyle Patrick Smith was raised in San Diego, California, and educated at Harvard. A writer and critic, he lives in Manhattan.
Annotation One of the themes to which Henry James spent most of his publishing career returning, the tug of influence between America and continental Europe, is the central matter of THE AMBASSADORS. Sent by his fiancée to seek her son who has run away with an entrancing Parisian woman, Lambert Strether finds himself nearly as bewitched by the culture and women of Europe as his would-be son-in-law. Strether gets chased or dragged across provincial France by a slew of influences intent either on drawing the pair of bachelors home to Boston or showing him the world, and winds up testing his patience along with his own illusions.
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