Sent from Massachusetts by the formidable Mrs. Newsome to recall her son, Chad, from what she assumes to be a corrupt life in Paris, Strether finds his...more
I was impressed by his elegent prose, his literary techniques like the way he wrote the dialouge, how the writer/narrator came in to the story. "our friend Mr Strether" here and there. I could appreciate intelligently what what he was doing technically but his storytelling in this novel didnt work for me. The surface story was weak to me and the themes,ideas he wrote about have been done better.
Its a novel imho that haven't dated nearly as...more
I finish reading this novel feeling exalted and cowed by what a man may accomplish in a work of fiction. Human relationships, so various, so changing, so beautiful, are so variously, changeably and beautifully conceived here that they constitute a cause for moral uplift and terror. Flying from an apparent bedrock of ethical certainties, fine discriminations flutter in the air, and cannot find a sure place to land. All (a word that punctuates the novel like an orgasmic cry) is gu...more
Everything he wanted was comprised moreover in a single boon--the common unattainable art of taking things as they came. He appeared to himself to have given his best years to an active appreciation of the way they didn't come; but...more
My warning: Not an easy read! It took me two weeks.
My advise: Read the Preface *after*...more
The only reason to write such shite in the era of early Picasso, Freud, Einstein and many other giants of early 20th century is to try to carve out some sort of semblance of a reason to exist...when there really is none. It's one idiot writing about his brethren and sisters for his brethren and sisters. It was published as a serial in The North American Review for minor (read: wannabe) intellectuals in New England in 1903.
Truly an example of the b...more
Introduction by Colm Tóibín
One of the final masterpieces from one of the world’s greatest authors, Henry James’s The Ambassadors is now available for the first time in a Modern Library edition, with a new Introduction by acclaimed novelist Colm Tóibín. A keenly observed tale of a man’s awakening to life, this dark comic novel follows Lewis Lambert Strether, a middle-aged widower, on a mission to Europe to convince his fiancée’s wayward son to forsake the pleasures of Paris and return to Amer
One of James' late novels, The Ambassadors is in some ways an experiment in minimalism. The plot is rudimentary (a rich woman sends emissaries from Wollett, USA to Paris to disentangle her son from an unsuitable relationship), background virtually non-existent (most chapters are principally dialogue), and the characters ciphers. It is only the interactions between the characters which are interesting - and even these tell us virtually nothing abo...more
Two impressions came to mind as I was reading. One was remembering as a young man my friends telling me I just had to meet these certain people who were oh so interesting and advanced. Meeting them never lived up to expectations. They were always just ordinary - or worse utter bores f...more
Strether’s own perception must be copied by the reader to notice and appreciate the minutae of inferences and unspoken languages. Marie (Madame de Vionnet) is a mesmerizing figure simply because we see he...more
His reputation for inscrutable obtuse one-paragraph sentences is well deserved. I find his styl...more
This is the general view of what this book is about; it...more
January 25, 2008
If James were to get paid, say, a dime for every comma, and a quarter for every semicolon that he ever wrote, I’m sure that he would have made more money off this fictitious punctuation propriety than he ever got paid for all of his books. Check this out (form the second page of the novel):
“There were people on the ship with whom he had easily - so far as ease could, up to now, be imputed to him – consorted, and who for the most part plunge...more
I do get it. James is a master of providing depth of character, pointing out the delicate relational details between different people and examining social mores. But damn that's boring! It takes forever to go anywhere and when it does, it's not th...more
The Ambassadors is the first written of James's last three novels. The book is humorous, and it is indeed a lively commentary on the mores and morals of small town New England when placed in opposition to Parisian life. It is a period piece and should be read as such. It is also biased towards the Parisians, perhaps to be expected.
While I enjoyed the book for the most part, there was a distinct moment where the story could/should have ended,...more
This is Daisy Fuentes Miller, reporting to you live from the set of MTV’s “Real World Gay Paree”. Six strangers, from totally different backgrounds, thrown together, forced to live under the merciless glare of the Hankcam, which documents their every move for posterity. Let’s see what happens when the gloves come off, and things get real.
Strether: Hi. I’m Strether. I’m engaged to Chad’s mom. She’s pissed at him, and sent me over to bring him back to Connecticut...more