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By: Henry james (1843-1916)

Book cover Awkward Age

Nanda Brookenham is coming of age, and thus 'coming out' in London society - which leads to complications in her family's social set in London's fin de siècle life. James presents the novel almost entirely in dialogue, an experiment that adds to the immediacy of the scenes but also creates serious ambiguities about characters and their motives.

Book cover London Life

A devoted sister attempts to check her sibling's scandalous behavior in the world of British high society. A delightful comedy of Anglo-American manners and a fascinating glimpse of late Victorian London.

Book cover Chaperon

What on earth is a girl to do when London society has convicted her mother of a dreadful sin and has ostracized her? If blood is thicker than water, and the daughter remains loyal to her erring parent, how far will affect her own standing in society (and most important, of course) in the marriage market that is controlled by that society? This is the problem facing Rose Tramore and it will take all her charm -- and perseverance -- to solve it. (Nicholas Clifford)

Book cover Liar

A successful painter reconnects with the woman he once loved during a visit to an English country house. His surprise is great when he learns that her husband is susceptible to a very peculiar habit.

Book cover Lord Beaupre

What is a young man to do, when because of his pleasant disposition, and (of course) his considerable wealth, he finds himself besieged by bevies of eligible young women, some beautiful, some less so (some, even, his own cousins)? How on earth is he to protect himself from their onslaught and that of their mothers?

Book cover Owen Wingrave

A young man of good family with a long distinguished military tradition indicates that he will not follow his ancestors' path into the army. Dire results ensue. Benjamin Britten in 1970 wrote an opera based on this story. (

Book cover Lady Barbarina

Rich and beautiful American girls heading to England to find themselves noble titles through marriage, and using their New World wealth to prop up the waning strength of the aristocracy, was almost a staple of late Victorian literature. "The Buccaneers," Edith Wharton called them, and their day is not over yet (think of Downton Abbey's Earl of Grantham, and his American heiress countess). In Lady Barbarina, however, Henry James explores the obverse of this old tale: what if the wealth is in the hands...

Book cover Collaboration

It is Paris sometime after the Franco-Prussian War (1870--Germany won--the French Second Republic collapsed--France embittered). A French poet and a German composer come to admire one another's work and decide to collaborate on an opera. There are costs to pay. ( david wales)

Book cover Princess Casamassima

Princess Casamassima can be read on several levels: first, as a political and social novel, exploring the anarchistic and revolutionary underground of London in the 1880s; secondly as a psychological study of such a movement on a young man (the protagonist, Hyacinth Robinson) who may or may not be descended from the aristocracy, but whose artistic nature shines out in the midst of the London slums; and thirdly, as an examination of the conundrum whether the world of art and culture is necessarily built on the abject poverty of others...

Book cover Third Person

The Third Person is an amusing spoof on spooking. The 'ghostly man about the house' in whom two increasingly competitive maiden ladies come to take a proprietary interest is as unlikely to inspire terror as the wraith in one of James's earliest tales. The anticlimactic crisis may need a footnote for younger readers: a Tauchnitz was an unauthorized continental paperback edition of a british or american book which, purely for copyright reasons, was not supposed to be brought back to England. To think of this as smuggling certainly placed, for James's contemporaries, the crimes of the ghostly third person in a hilarious perspective.

Book cover Turn of the Screw (version 2)

Henry James' classic ghost story comprises the written testimony of a young governess, charged with looking after two small children at an isolated country estate, who believes they are being haunted. As the story progresses, the governess' increasingly frenetic narration provokes the question: is she insane, or are the ghosts real?

Book cover Wheel Of Time

Fanny Knocker is a very, very plain young woman. She is introduced to the extremely handsome, thoroughly impoverished, younger son of an old family. What will transpire? (David Wales)

Book cover Papers

Today the world is awash with “celebrities” whose only accomplishment is being celebrated by the media in all its various forms. Henry James, of course, long pre-dates the multiplicity of media in today’s world, when the press was the main source of adulation, and he was famously averse to giving newspaper interviews himself. For those interested in the sources of celebrity worship, however, his story, “The Papers,” showing how two aspiring London journalists worked with those who were famous simply for being famous, helps to give some idea of how such worship was practiced a century ago. (Nicholas Clifford)

Book cover Portrait of a Lady (version 2)

The Portrait of a Lady is a novel by Henry James, first published as a serial in The Atlantic Monthly and Macmillan's Magazine in 1880–81 and then as a book in 1881. It is one of James's most popular long novels, and is regarded by critics as one of his finest. The Portrait of a Lady is the story of a spirited young American woman, Isabel Archer, who "affronts her destiny" and finds it overwhelming. She inherits a large amount of money and subsequently becomes the victim of Machiavellian scheming by two American expatriates...

Book cover Lesson of the Master

A promising young writer meets an older man whose works have inspired him, as well as a highly intelligent and attractive young woman, at a gathering in a country house. Anxious to learn all he can from the older writer, the young man seeks his views not only about art, but also the way in which a serious artist should live. By the end of the work, he has indeed learned his lessons, albeit not quite those that he was expecting. It's not giving anything away to say that this work bears some resemblance to James's later novel, The Ambassadors, which in many ways engages the same questions.

Book cover Daisy Miller: A Study in Two Parts (version 2 dramatic reading)

Daisy Miller is an 1878 novella by Henry James first appearing in Cornhill Magazine in June–July 1879, and in book form the following year. It portrays the courtship of the beautiful American girl Daisy Miller by Frederick Winterbourne, a sophisticated compatriot of hers. His pursuit of her is hampered by her own flirtatiousness, which is frowned upon by the other expatriates when they meet in Switzerland and Italy.


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