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Awkward Age

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By: (1843-1916)

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.

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By Henry James


I recall with perfect ease the idea in which "The Awkward Age" had its origin, but re perusal gives me pause in respect to naming it. This composition, as it stands, makes, to my vision and will have made perhaps still more to that of its readers so considerable a mass beside the germ sunk in it and still possibly distinguishable, that I am half moved to leave my small secret undivulged. I shall encounter, I think, in the course of this copious commentary, no better example, and none on behalf of which I shall venture to invite more interest, of the quite incalculable tendency of a mere grain of subject matter to expand and develop and cover the ground when conditions happen to favour it. I say all, surely, when I speak of the thing as planned, in perfect good faith, for brevity, for levity, for simplicity, for jocosity, in fine, and for an accommodating irony. I invoked, for my protection, the spirit of the lightest comedy, but "The Awkward Age" was to belong, in the event, to a group of productions, here re introduced, which have in common, to their author's eyes, the endearing sign that they asserted in each case an unforeseen principle of growth... Continue reading book >>

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