When Isabel Archer, a beautiful, spirited American, is brought to Europe by her wealthy Aunt Touchett, it is expected that she will soon marry. But Isabel, resolved to determine her own fate, does... More > not hesitate to turn down two eligible suitors. She then finds herself irresistibly drawn to Gilbert Osmond, who, beneath his veneer of charm and cultivation, is cruelty itself. A story of intense poignancy, Isabel's tale of love and betrayal still resonates with modern audiences.< Less
Nanda Brookenham is 'coming out' in London society. Thrust suddenly into the vicious, immoral circle that has gathered round her mother, she even finds herself in competition with Mrs Brookenham for... More > the affection of the man she admires. Light and ironic in its touch, The Awkward Age nevertheless analyzes the English character with great subtlety. The Awkward Age, which has been much praised for its natural dialogue and the delicacy of feeling it conveys, exemplifies Conrad's remark that James 'is never in deep gloom or in violent sunshine. But he feels deeply and vividly every delicate shade.'< Less
Lady Agnes's idea had been that her son should go straight from the Palais de l'Industrie to the Hôtel de Hollande, with or without his mother and his sisters, as his humour should seem to... More > recommend. Much as she desired to see their brilliant kinswoman and as she knew that her daughters desired it, she was quite ready to postpone their visit, if this sacrifice should contribute to a speedy confrontation for Nick.< Less
When Chadwick Newsome, a young American favoured with fortune and independence, becomes entangled in a liaison dangereux with a Parisian temptress, his overbearing mother deploys her future husband,... More > the elderly, amiable Strether, as an ambassador to engineer his safe return. But seduced by the ambient charms of Paris and the bewitching comtesse de Vionnet, Strether soon deserts to Chadwick's side, initiating a sparkling tale of mistaken intentions, comic accident and false allegiances which culminates in the deployment of another, less fallible ambassador - the cold, glittering, ruthless Sarah Pocock.
The Ambassadors is a dark comedy initially published in 1903 and was considered by Henry James himself his best work.< Less
The Reverberator is a short novel by Henry James, first published as a serial in Macmillan's Magazine in 1888 and then as a book later the same year. Accurately described by the leading web authority... More > on Henry James as a "a delightful Parisian bonbon," this graceful comedy traces the complications that result when nasty but true stories about a Paris family get into the American scandal sheet of the novel's title.< Less
Only she can genuinely appreciate, and perhaps eventually share, Mrs. Gereth's own passion for the exquisite antique treasures she has amassed at Poynton Park. Her son Owen, though, has engaged... More > himself to be married to the embarrassingly "nouveau" philistine Mona Brigstock.A dramatic family quarrel unfolds, drawing Fleda, James's hesitating heroine, into its heart. Why is it that Fleda seems to be incapable of capturing Owen, remaining silent while her love for him is so evidently returned? Is she motivated by scruple or perversity? Is hers a true renunciation or dilemma springing fromm sexual ignorance or neurosis?< Less
The Beast in the Jungle is a 1903 novella by Henry James, first published as part of the collection, The Better Sort. Almost universally considered one of James' finest short narratives, this story... More > treats appropriately universal themes: loneliness, fate, love and death. The parable of John Marcher and his peculiar destiny has spoken to many readers who have speculated on the worth and meaning of human life.< Less
'A thing to marvel at, a thing to be grateful for.'A rich American art-collector and his daughter Maggie buy in for themselves and to their greater glory a beautiful young wife and noble husband.... More > They do not know that Charlotte and Prince Amerigo were formerly lovers, nor that on the eve of the Prince's marriage they had discovered, in a Bloomsbury antique shop, a golden bowl with a secret flaw. The superstitious Amerigo, fearing for his gilded future, refuses to accept it as a wedding gift from Charlotte. 'Don't you think too much of "cracks,"' she is later to say to him, 'aren't you too afraid of them? I risk the cracks...' When the golden bowl is broken, Maggie must leave the security of her childhood and try to reassemble the pieces of her shattered happiness.< Less
Set amid the splendor of London drawing rooms and gilded Venetian palazzos, 'The Wings of the Dove' is the story of Milly Theale, a naïve, doomed American heiress, and a pair of lovers, Kate... More > Croy and Merton Densher, who conspire to obtain her fortune.
In this witty tragedy of treachery, self-deception, and betrayal, Henry James weaves together three ill-fated and wholly human destinies unexpectedly linked by desire, greed, and salvation.< Less
The Outcry is a light comedy originally conceived as a play. James cast the material in a three-act drama in 1909, but like so many of his plays, it failed to be produced. (There were two posthumous... More > performances in 1917.) In 1911 James converted the play into a novel, which was successful with the public. The Outcry was the last novel he was able to complete before his death in 1916. The storyline concerns the buying up of Britain's art treasures by wealthy foreigners, especially Americans. While hardly a subject of life-and-death significance, James' novel treats the idea in a busy, cheerful, appealing manner.< Less