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The Altar of the Dead

The Altar of the Dead by Henry James
By: (1843-1916)

A fable of literally life and death significance, the story explores how the protagonist tries to keep the remembrance of his dead friends, to save them from being forgotten entirely in the rush of everyday events. He meets a woman who shares his ideals, only to find that the past places what seems to be an impassable barrier between them. Although James was not religious in any conventional sense, the story shows a deep spirituality in its treatment of mortality and the transcendent power of unselfish love.

First Page:

THE ALTAR OF THE DEAD

BY HENRY JAMES

[Picture: Graphic]

LONDON: MARTIN SECKER NUMBER FIVE JOHN STREET ADELPHI

This edition first published 1916

The text follows that of the Definitive Edition

CHAPTER I.

He had a mortal dislike, poor Stransom, to lean anniversaries, and loved them still less when they made a pretence of a figure. Celebrations and suppressions were equally painful to him, and but one of the former found a place in his life. He had kept each year in his own fashion the date of Mary Antrim’s death. It would be more to the point perhaps to say that this occasion kept him : it kept him at least effectually from doing anything else. It took hold of him again and again with a hand of which time had softened but never loosened the touch... Continue reading book >>


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