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The Outcry

3.13  ·  Rating details ·  136 ratings  ·  18 reviews
The Outcry, Henry James's final novel, is an effervescent comedy of money and manners. Breckenridge Bender, a very rich American with a distinct resemblance to J.P. Morgan, arrives in England with the purpose of acquiring some very great art; he is directed to Dedborough, the estate of the debt-ridden Lord Theign. But plutocrat and aristocrat come into unexpected conflict ...more
Paperback, 194 pages
Published March 31st 2002 by NYRB Classics (first published 1911)
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3.13  · 
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 ·  136 ratings  ·  18 reviews

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Glenn Russell
Apr 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books

"William James made the request to brother Henry: write a new book with no twilight or mustiness in the plot, with great vigor and decisiveness in the action, no fencing in the dialogue, no psychological commentaries, and absolute straightness in the style. He did just that with The Outcry – well, but some fencing in the dialogue." from Jean Strouse's Introduction to this New York Review Books edition, the very first edition of The Outcry to be published since the novel's initial printing back i
Regina Andreassen
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was ok

The Outcry disappointed me, this is Henry James's weakest work. Chapter VII is probably the most accomplished chapter. I didn't particularly enjoy earlier chapters as they felt disjointed. My advice to all readers is to read the introduction carefully before starting to read The Outcry.
Aug 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: parsley snorters
Shelves: fiction, nyrb

James wrote this book, about a wealthy American art collector visiting one of the great treasure houses of Britain hoping to buy a Sir Joshua Reynolds portrait, as a play, scheduled to premiere in the same season as works by J.M. Barrie, G.B. Shaw, Somerset Maugham, and John Galsworthy. When Edward VII died, London's theaters were closed for the season, cancelling James's premiere. He then retooled it as a novel. But just barely. It reads very, very much like a play. It's 99% dialogue, with fain
Riccardo Riboli
Risulta evidente da subito che il romanzo e' frutto di un riadattamento da quella che era pensata per essere un'opera teatrale .. i dialoghi sono il 90 % della narrazione
, scritti in pieno stile vittoriano , Il tutto , poco contornato da intermezzi , descrizioni e avvenimenti , risulta fin troppo statico e ridondante , fino ad annoiare .
míol mór
Back in 1909 Henry James had planned this as a play, which it never became. *

He had tried to become a successful playwright on the London stages since the 1890s (although being contemporary to Oscar Wilde didn't help, as Guy Domville was simply swept aside by The Importance of Being Earnest), had meanwhile given up the whole idea and moved on to write his now infamous 'major phase' trilogy, only to give the stage another go. If my memory doesn't fail me, this time he was almost through with it:
Ben Batchelder
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
The Outcry is James’s last, and slight, novel. Adapted from a play, never performed, it bristles with uppercrust dialogues from England at the turn of the prior century. As usual, it touches on James’s preferred subject of transatlantic clash of cultures and here focuses on art as national heritage. While the plot is accessible, the prose is not. Like famous art on show, one feels manipulated.

The book’s several clashes begins with the arrival of a filthy rich American art collector, named Bender
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
“Il più sorprendente e divertente dei romanzi di Henry James” riporta la copertina della Fazi Editore, citando a sua volta come fonte la New York Review of Books. Onestamente, tutto questo divertimento non l’ho colto. C’è di sicuro tanto umorismo, equamente distribuito tra l’americano desideroso di spendere il più possibile per dare prova delle proprie sconfinate risorse finanziarie e l’inglese desideroso di ricavare il meno possibile per non cedere di un millimetro dal suo aplomb da pari del re ...more
Christopher Sutch
Dec 03, 2017 rated it liked it
James's last completed novel published during his lifetime is actually one more attempt by him to convert an unsuccessful play into prose. None of these attempts by James are very successful or satisfying; they lack the imagination and scope of his more ambitious and crafted novels. Why he thought an argument about the provenance of a painting and the struggle to keep it in Britain rather than have it be bought by an artistically rapacious rich American would have made a good play is hard to fig ...more
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recentlyread
Compared to other late James novels, this one is like a Lee Child novel in its pace and entertainment value! Likely in part because it was first conceived as a play.
No Books
Back in 1909 Henry James had planned this as a play, which it never became. *

He had tried to become a successful playwright on the London stages since the 1890s (although being contemporary to Oscar Wilde didn't help, as Guy Domville was simply swept aside by The Importance of Being Earnest), had meanwhile given up the whole idea and moved on to write his now infamous 'major phase' trilogy, only to give the stage another go. If my memory doesn't fail me, this time he was almost through with it:
Jul 09, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Henry James's last novel, adapted from a play he wrote that went unproduced. Lord Theign (redundant name!) has two daughters and an estate rich in art, including an excellent Sir Joshua. In order to pay off his elder daughter's gaming debts to a neighboring duchess, he has arranged to marry his younger daughter, Lady Grace, to the duchess's son, Lord John. However he still needs cash to clinch the deal. Perhaps he could sell a painting? The American Breckenridge Bender is after anything he can p ...more
Feb 19, 2012 rated it liked it
This is James' final novel, and I thought it would be a lot better than it was. The first hundred pages or so were very slow, and that's saying something. This novel is only 194 pages long! I did get into it towards the end, but I got lost in James' very long descriptions. This novel reads like a play. However, like James' other novels, a lot of what goes on is psychological and can't be wholly conveyed through acting. It was difficult for me to relate to this one quite as much because a great d ...more
Mar 19, 2008 rated it it was ok
Written originally as a play, James continued to keep many of the stage directions in the text which made it difficult to follow. The various characters appear and leave his scenes much as they would have on the stage. It's astonishing to me that the book sold well as I found getting through it laborious. If I'd been the editor, I'd have asked him to delete all the descriptions of what was being said. The reader should have been able to figure that out from the lines themselves. The core of the ...more
Feb 12, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: nyrb
Well, it's obvious this was a play revised into a book. Each chapter is a scene, bounded by entrance and exit of characters. I'm thinking James intentionally left the struts to show us the construction.

The problem of art leaving old-monied (or really, no longer monied) Europe for new-monied America is not dominant today, so I'm not particularly interested in the main issue of the story. The characters' interests don't seem relevant to me. This is obviously influenced by my historical period and
Jan 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
I should love to be a fly on the wall to observe a classroom of modern students attempting to decipher some of the convoluted sentences which make up this work. It was great fun for me to read, but what would kids who use abbreviations for texting make of it? I do think it would be of benefit for them to study not only for the translation but the exploration of what transpired with regard to purchases of art held by English families for generations (vs donations to National Gallery).
Edgar Nunez
En estilo barroco, narra la historia de varios personajes en Inglaterra del siglo XIX en torno a la compra venta de una pintura.
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NYRB Classics: The Outcry, by Henry James 1 4 Oct 29, 2013 11:31AM  

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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