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The Europeans

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  2,935 Ratings  ·  189 Reviews
Eugenia, the daughter of American expatriates, is the morganatic wife of a German prince, who is being urged to divorce her in favor of a state marriage. She and her artist brother, Felix, travel to Boston to meet distant cousins relatives, partially in hopes of making a wealthy marriage.

Its wit, gaiety, and what Rebecca West calls its "clear sunlit charm" have made this
Paperback, 192 pages
Published 1996 by Penguin Books (first published 1878)
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Jul 20, 2014 Paul rated it really liked it
Shelves: henry-james
3.5 stars; rounded up.
A brief novella, which is effectively a comedy of manners, in which, on the surface, little happens. It reminded me of Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence. The plot is simple; Felix Young and his sister Eugenia are the Europeans. Felix is a painter, who lives a bohemian lifestyle. He is incessantly (nauseatingly) cheerful. His sister Eugenia is in a morganatic marriage and her husband’s family want a divorce. They lead a wandering, essentially frivolous lifestyle. They dec
Oct 05, 2016 Annelies rated it really liked it
What makes Henry James so special? You take one setting, place a few persons in it and what it ends in is a really spectacular story consisting only of dialogues and a very good insight in the world and thinking of his personages.

Also this story is almost a comedy on the social behaviour of europeans versus americans. The dialogues are pretty fast written; like they are spoken in a theater. It makes his works so lively.

I don't know when it was written but I guess it's a rather early James. I th
All I can type down now is, read this overlooked Henry James classic , watch the movie of the same name by the film makers Merchant And Ivory made in 1979 starring Lee Remick. Henry James is considered a literary master for a reason. If you watch the film you won't be able to get the beautiful music out of your head.
Jul 10, 2011 Wayne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Americans of every variety
Recommended to Wayne by: The English Reading List of 1967 at Adelaide Uni.
Deceptively slight, this early James packs a punch full of complexity and resonating depths.It is sad to see so many students on this site dismissing it as an easy, and therefore a boring and unchallenging read.
God Help America!!!!

Adelaide University!!
Miss Sweetapple doing my first Henry James!!
They were both terrifying!!!
I LOVED Gertrude Wentworth, the most gutsy, rebellious and unsung of all James' heroines, as far as I'm concerned.

But what is happening??
The subtlety is suffocating...b
Gary Inbinder
May 11, 2012 Gary Inbinder rated it it was amazing
This short novel is a delightful introduction to Henry James, especially so for readers who have avoided this author because they’ve heard he’s “difficult” or “obscure.” The story is set in mid-nineteenth century Boston and it incorporates what’s sometimes referred to as James’s “International Theme,” the dramatic conflict between American innocence and European experience.

Two expatriate Americans, Felix, a happy-go-lucky artist and his sister Eugenia, a baroness married to a minor German princ
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
The Europeans is an absolutely delightful novel! Fun from the first page through the last. Also, it is really more of a novella and can easily be read in one or two sittings.

The Europeans is actually a 'flip', if you will, in the normal Jamesian plot-line. In other words, rather than the story of an American expatriate in Europe, this is the tale of two American expats who come back to visit family in New England. This is the story of Eugenia, the Baroness Munster, and her younger brother Felix
Yair Ben-Zvi
It's a funny thing (to start review/thought like someone much older and, presumably, more East Coast than I actually am) but I'd actually forgotten how much I love Henry James' use of language. Now, it's been years, maybe half a decade, since I last read James. The book in question was his "The American" which in typical James fashion illustrates the growing chasm of difference between two ostensible (and superficially similar) counterparts: white Americans of the New World juxtaposed with white ...more
Dec 30, 2008 Alfred rated it liked it
I read this bad boy in no time over Holiday Break; it's light as a feather. Short little novella, a romance that takes place in the "Arcadian setting of the New England countryside in mid-nineteenth century America."

Felix Young and his sister the Baroness Munster come from Europe to visit their American cousins. The deal is that the Baroness' "morganatic" marriage to some German nobleman is about to be annulled because his family has decided he needs to hitch up with royalty. So she is here see
Michaela Wood
Apr 22, 2008 Michaela Wood rated it really liked it
Clever little book by James. I am more interested since I read the essay by Richard Poirier at the end, and learned that this was one of James' earlier books although published later, and that the influence of James' feelings about Hawthornes' writing is throughout. I have never cared much for Hawthorne myself, but learning of James' specific criticisms, I found myself bristling under a supposed slight on the culture of the states as compared to Europe (I make fun of the states, not you H. ...more
Michael Neno
Jul 13, 2014 Michael Neno rated it it was amazing
Shelves: henry-james
The Europeans is the most entertaining James novel I've read so far in my quest of reading all his novels in chronological order. It's a sort-of reversal of The American; instead of a financially successful American attempting to marry into European aristocracy, The Europeans concerns mid-19th century visitors from across the pond staying with and somewhat preying upon, plain-living New Englanders of various types, with marriage as the ultimate goal.

The Europeans are a broke and devil-may-care b
Paul The Uncommon Reader
Mar 22, 2014 Paul The Uncommon Reader rated it liked it
Shelves: classical
Henry James – light

Before tackling the heavier James stuff (“The Portrait of a Lady”, “The Ambassadors” and “The Golden Bowl” are on the list), I wanted to start with something lighter and was not – in that regard, at least – disappointed by this compact observation of late 19th Century Euro-American social comparisons and differences.

As a European myself, with some American friends and experience, it was fascinating to see how attitudes have shifted, mainly, I think, due to the shift of power a

Nov 10, 2013 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For a short book, this one moves slowly, however, it does hail from the 19th century, when people spent more time concentrating on the written text.

James captures beautifully the New England landscape, from the bleak spring rains of the Boston Public Gardens to the bright blue skies over fields in the countryside. It's been a long time since I have read a book that takes so much time to establish the ambience, from what a room looks like to how the weather impacts a character's mood.

The story i
Os Europeus era o último dos três livros que tinha deste autor cá por casa; Daisy Miller e Washington Square não se revelaram leituras memoráveis e para ser muito sincera não esperava que este fosse, mas ainda assim decidi lê-lo e perceber se à terceira era de vez que decidia que este autor clássico não era propriamente a minha praia.

Não acontece muita coisa em Os Europeus. Ao contrário do que sucede em Daisy Miller, aqui a “ação” decorre na América com a visita de dois irmãos europeus: a barone
Jul 12, 2012 Eric rated it liked it
Shelves: themaster, ficciones
A charming bagatelle. Hardly a 'masterpiece of major quality,' as F.R. Leavis claims on the back of my edition (do other 1970s Penguins, say of Austen and George Eliot, bear pedagogic blurbs from 'The Great Tradition'?), but funny and well-executed. The American characters are a bit pallid and vague, perhaps intentionally, but the titular Europeans are brought off with great vividness: Felix Young is hilarious, particularly in his exchanges with Mr. Wentworth, and the Baroness Munster presents a ...more
Oct 31, 2011 Andrea rated it it was amazing
So far so good! I enjoyed Portrait of a Lady immensely, so I thought I'd give another of James' books a try. It has the same lengthy narrative style which, fortunately, I enjoy, and it has some highly developed characters whose fates I'm very curious about.

Okay - Now I've finished reading! I am, once again, amazed by Henry James. He's not so big on gripping plots, but he IS big on gripping characters and the workings of their minds. I found this book a little heavy at times, as I was weighed do
May 24, 2011 Craig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A brother and sister (the sister being a married but alienated Baroness) travel to America to seek their fortunes among their distant relations in Massachusetts. As with other of James' novels, this is a brilliant charater study (all of James' characters are strongly painted) which also pits (rather puts at odds) the diverse culture differences between the provincial European and upstart America societies. Social status and standing predominate. James is his usual brilliant self in word ...more
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Aug 12, 2015 Sooj rated it really liked it
As is so common with Henry James, the characters who serve as a catalyst to the plot are Americans raised in Europe. However, the set-up is unusual for James: these European Americans return to America, namely the countryside outside Boston, to meet their cousins, the Wentworths. The difference between Europe and America, be it values, culture or experience, is exquisitely drawn out in using the two European American siblings as the site of fascination, trepidation, and romance for their ...more
Oct 07, 2015 Dayla rated it it was amazing
This is a great book. So knowing is the author of the European personality. One can see that he clearly loves all things continental. For your use to enhance your reading, I have written all the French phrases used and underneath their English translations. Let me know if I have missed one or if I have translated the phrase poorly.

The French
1) A la bonne heure
2) Ah, comme vous devez avoir raison!
3) Bonte divine
4) How comme il faut she is!
5) C'est bien vague
6) C'est de son age
7) C'est fini
8) Comm
Jan 11, 2015 Jo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars
The last time I read a Henry James novel was over a dozen years ago and although I remember enjoying the few I did read, I also seem to remember they were hard going –lots of concentration required to get through some of his ten line sentences. ‘The Europeans’ therefore, was actually a pleasant surprise; relatively easy to read and accessible with still his wonderful use of language. Of course, it is a very slight book where very little happens but then James’ novels are not characteri
Dec 21, 2014 Helle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-lit
This was a Henry James ‘light’: more a gentle comedy of manners than an in-depth exploration of characters’ lives. Unlike many of his novels, in which Americans find themselves in Europe and feel somehow nationally estranged, this one has a pair of American expatriates visiting their cousins in New England. The ‘Europeans’ find their American cousins kind but joyless and somber. The picture would no doubt be the reverse today, but the comparisons between the old and the new worlds are relatively ...more
Mar 05, 2014 Chris rated it liked it
The Europeans was James’s fourth novel which I enjoyed reading a good deal. It is easy going, short and fun to read without being over simplistic.

Felix and Eugenia are siblings from Europe who arrive in America to visit their relatives in the form of the New Englander Wentworth family. The Wentworth’s behave very graciously and welcome their foreign kin to live with them in one of the cottages on their property. What ensues is part romance, part comedy as the differences between the two cultures
Corky Ringspot
Jul 11, 2016 Corky Ringspot rated it it was amazing
I find it hard to give anything by James less than five stars. I understand why for some his writing is a little impenetrable - which is an indication of temperament rather than intelligence - but re-reading (often quite big) bits of text usually pays dividends. Such a subtle understanding of human motivations, histories, institutions, emotions etc. No good reading ten pages here and there, while on the train, or before falling asleep at night. Go to bed early, wake up early, spend at least 90 ...more
Christopher Sutch
Apr 05, 2014 Christopher Sutch rated it really liked it
James's fourth novel is a very short romantic tale resembling a reversal of the usual plot in which country cousins come to the city to meet their more urbane kin. In this case, the European cousins come to America to meet their less-sophisticated family members, and James does a very nice job of portraying late 19th-century culture shock in the relations between Europeans and Americans. While the plot mainly focuses on fairly predictable romantic liaisons, I read the work as being centrally ...more
Sep 07, 2015 Celina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookbingonw2015
I picked this for the "out of my comfort zone" square in Seattle Public Library's summer book bingo challenge. My younger self at one point threw The Beast in the Jungle across the room, yelling, "Get a job!" I've grown up a little since but I still don't love James's interiority or the upper-crust settings. Still, this is probably the least uncomfortable of James's novels I could have chosen. This is more like a charming badminton match between Europe and New England than the intense spelunking ...more
Feb 21, 2007 Victoria rated it really liked it
"The Europeans" resembles, to a T, all of James' other novels. It's extremely well-written, in the near-perfect English that writers can no longer use, at the risk of sounding ridiculously old-fashioned or overly-obsessed with the language.

The story of a European brother and sister who come to visit their Bostonian cousins at the end of the 19th century, the book quickly picks up a love story. The romance, however, does not dominate the book. James constantly compares the American Puritans to t
Feb 18, 2014 Arti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A delightful novella that can counter repulsion some might feel about Henry James's works. Here's a fusion of E. M. Forster and Jane Austen. A nuanced yet non-judgemental comparison between the Europeans sister/brother visitors to their American cousins residing in the outskirt of Boston. Humorous and light-hearted descriptions, at times clever and even LOL commentaries uttered by its characters. And what do you know, these are very decent characters, some Puritans, some liberals, a Bohemian, ...more
Perhaps it's that my first experience reading James was The Turn of the Screw, but this novel struck me as surprisingly light--almost insipidly so. In this book, the titular Europeans, Eugenia Munster, morganatic spouse to a German baron, and her lighthearted, bohemian brother, Felix, visit their distant American cousins, the Wentworths, with whom, to Felix's utter delight and Eugenia's growing distaste, they have nothing in common. Comic misunderstandings and romantic entanglements abound; howe ...more
Aug 29, 2016 Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's all here. The magnificent prose; each word carefully chosen and invariably the right choice; each character brought into the dance and given enough time in the light to create shadows; and then the interplay of the characters. Elements of Jane Austen in the heavily ironical precision and the ability to split the atom of the tale with a single sentence. Elements of Restoration and Shakespearean Comedy in the way the weave works through; right up to the collection of marriages at the end.

Jul 11, 2016 natura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Muy buena descripción de caracteres, como siempre en este autor, aunque parece más una obra de relleno que otra cosa: visita rápida de parientes europeos a sus primos estadounidenses con poco choque de culturas aunque las diferencias sean notables. Matrimonio de uno y vuelta a Europa de la otra, sin mucha historia antes o después. Entretenido.
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Henry James, OM, son of theologian Henry James Sr., brother of the philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James, was an American-born author, one of the founders and leaders of a school of realism in fiction. He spent much of his life in England and became a British subject shortly before his death. He is primarily known for a series of major novels in which he portrayed the ...more
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