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The Wings of the Dove
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Group Reads > June Group Read - The Wings of the Dove

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message 1: by Tiffany, Administrator (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tiffany | 1891 comments Mod
Hello everyone! One of our group reads for June will be The Wings of the Dove by Henry James.

You don't need to read the exact edition shown here -- I'm actually reading Wings of the Dove -- but Henry James is notorious for his revisions and edits (including major wording changes and, if I recall correctly, even switching where entire sections go), so we'll try to keep this in mind as we discuss what we've read.

My edition is broken up into books and chapters, so I assume most versions have books and/or chapters. So, my proposed reading schedule would be:
June 1 - 9: Books 1-3 (chapters 1-6)
June 10 - 16: Books 4-6 (chapters 7-21)
June 17 - 23: Books 7-8 (chapters 22-28)
June 24 - 30: Books 9-10 (chapters 29-38)

Feel free to discuss a week's reading at any time during that week or after, but please try to refrain from spoilers (but again, *if* he moved entire sections around, we may not know we're spoiling upcoming sections for others).

While we're easing into the first 9 days of reading, please post here if you're planning on reading along. Have you read any Henry James before? Are you looking forward to this book? Daunted by it?

message 2: by Tiffany, Administrator (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tiffany | 1891 comments Mod

If anyone is reading along, or planning to, please say hi! (Otherwise, I tend to feel like I'm talking to myself here!)

At the end of our first chunk of reading (through chapter 6), what do you think?

One thing that gets me about Henry James' style is his, sometimes unecessary, oftentimes overly excited, use of commas. It's enough, one thinks, if one is like me, to drive oneself mad. (See what I did there? My tribute to James and his commas.)

Also, his writing is so dense, packed with SO MUCH information in long sentences, with all those commas, that I sometimes have to re-read a sentence -- maybe even a few times -- to actually understand what he's saying. But sometimes when I do, I then appreciate his language and style. You just have to go *really* slow sometimes, and parse each sentence out, phrase by comma-filled phrase.

message 3: by Tiffany, Administrator (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tiffany | 1891 comments Mod
Well, halfway through the month now, and over halfway through the book.

What do you think of our main characters?

I feel like Milly and Kate are both sneaky, and maybe even conniving. What do you think?

Given what I've read in other James novels and short stories, I'm under the impression that Milly is a hypochondriac, or sees life as if there *must* be something wrong with it or her. Then she's sneaky because she's trying to get some clinical reason for it, and sneaking around behind Mrs. Stringham's back to get this medical opinion.

Kate, meanwhile, is SO sneaky/tricky/conniving/manipulating. All this playing about whether she's seeing Mr. Densher, and whether Milly knows him, and whether he's back in town, and whether he likes her and/or Milly, and whether Aunt Maud knows... Oh my God! She gives females a bad name!

And of course Aunt Maud is sneaky and conniving too, trying to get this Kate/Densher relationship to go her way, even passing him off onto Milly.

What do others here think? Are they all so manipulative, or am I reading them wrong?

And come to think of it... Notice how it's just the females who are like this? I think this says something about Henry James' view of women!

message 4: by Tiffany, Administrator (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tiffany | 1891 comments Mod
As week 3 and Books 7 & 8 come to an end, what are your thoughts now?

Me, I'm struggling to continue. I just want to smack Kate upside the head, and even Milly, and Densher for going along with their silliness, and Aunt Maud and Mrs. Stringham! Everyone needs a good shaking!

message 5: by Tiffany, Administrator (last edited Jun 29, 2018 11:49AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tiffany | 1891 comments Mod
With the end of the month comes the end of the book. Thoughts?

If anyone is reading this now, or reads this in the future, feel free to still leave your comments about the book, either related to the questions asked here or not. Throw out new ideas, new comments, new questions! Just because the official group read has ended doesn't mean the discussion needs to. :)

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