The Golden Bowl
'A thing to marvel at, a thing to be grateful for.'
A rich American art-collector and his daughter Maggie buy in for themselves and to their greater glory a beautiful young wife and noble husband. They do not know that Charlotte and Prince Amerigo were formerly lovers, nor that on the eve of the Prince's marriage they had discovered, in a Bloomsbury antique shop, a golden bowl with a secret flaw. The superstitious Amerigo, fearing for his gilded future, refuses to accept it as a wedding gift from Charlotte. 'Don't you think too much of "cracks,"' she is later to say to him, 'aren't you too afraid of them? I risk the cracks...' When the golden bowl is broken, Maggie must leave the security of her childhood and try to reassemble the pieces of her shattered happiness.
In this, the last of his three great poetic masterpieces, James combined with a dazzling virtuosity elements of social comedy, of mystery, terror, and myth. "The Golden Bowl" is the most controversial, ambiguous, and sophisticated of James's novels.
The text of this World's Classics paperback is that of the first English edition (1905). James's Preface is included, and a new introduction, notes, and selected variant readings.
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Note on the Text
THE GOLDEN BOWL