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The Outcry   By: (1843-1916)

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In "The Outcry," Henry James weaves a captivating tale of social conventions, personal desires, and the clash between tradition and modernity. Set in the early 20th century, the novel follows the story of a renowned English collector who embarks on a daring mission to reclaim a significant piece of art from its American owner.

From the very beginning, James displays his remarkable ability to delve into the complexities of human relationships. Through his meticulously crafted characters, he explores the underlying tensions between the British and American cultures, highlighting the contrasting perspectives and values that define each society. The clash of these two worlds becomes a central theme as the narrative unfolds.

One of the most remarkable aspects of James' writing is his keen sense of observation and attention to detail. The nuances of social interactions, including the subtle gestures and dialogues, are beautifully captured, revealing the characters' inner thoughts and motivations. This careful exploration of human psychology adds depth and authenticity to the story, making it both relatable and thought-provoking.

"The Outcry" also delves into the art world, examining the significance of artistic masterpieces and the cultural impact they can have. James' descriptions of the artwork and the passion it ignites in the characters create a vivid and compelling narrative. The novel raises questions about the true nature of art, its commercialization, and the importance of preserving cultural heritage.

While the pace of the story may feel slow at times, James' prose is undeniably rich and immersive. His elegant writing style, characterized by elaborate sentences and intricate syntax, may require some patience from the reader. However, for those willing to invest their time, the novel offers a rewarding exploration of the human condition and the complexities of societal norms.

"The Outcry" is a riveting exploration of the often hidden tensions between different cultures and the clash between tradition and progress. Henry James' profound insights into human psychology, his rich descriptions of art and culture, and his subtle exploration of social dynamics make this novel a true gem. Despite its initial challenge, the book ultimately leaves a lasting impression and serves as a testament to James' mastery of the literary craft.

First Page:


By Henry James




"NO, my lord," Banks had replied, "no stranger has yet arrived. But I'll see if any one has come in or who has." As he spoke, however, he observed Lady Sandgate's approach to the hall by the entrance giving upon the great terrace, and addressed her on her passing the threshold. "Lord John, my lady." With which, his duty majestically performed, he retired to the quarter that of the main access to the spacious centre of the house from which he had ushered the visitor.

This personage, facing Lady Sandgate as she paused there a moment framed by the large doorway to the outer expanses, the small pinkish paper of a folded telegram in her hand, had partly before him, as an immediate effect, the high wide interior, still breathing the quiet air and the fair pannelled security of the couple of hushed and stored centuries, in which certain of the reputed treasures of Dedborough Place beautifully disposed themselves; and then, through ample apertures and beyond the stately stone outworks of the great seated and supported house uplifting terrace, balanced, balustraded steps and containing basins where splash and spray were at rest all the rich composed extension of garden and lawn and park. An ancient, an assured elegance seemed to reign; pictures and preserved "pieces," cabinets and tapestries, spoke, each for itself, of fine selection and high distinction; while the originals of the old portraits, in more or less deserved salience, hung over the happy scene as the sworn members of a great guild might have sat, on the beautiful April day, at one of their annual feasts... Continue reading book >>

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