The Bostonians

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Oxford University Press, 1998 - Fiction - 457 pages
10 Reviews
From Boston's social underworld emerges Verena Tarrant, a girl with extraordinary oratorical gifts, which she deploys in tawdry meeting-houses on behalf of 'the sisterhood of women.' She acquires two admirers of a very different stamp: Olive Chancellor, devotee of radical causes, and marked out for tragedy; and Basil Ransom, veteran of the Civil War, with rigid views concerning society and women's place therein. Is the lovely, lighthearted Verena made for public movements or private passions? A struggle to possess her, body and soul, develops between Olive and Basil.

The exploitation of Verena's unregenerate innocence reflects a society whose moral and cultural values are failing to survive the new dawn of liberalism and democracy. The Bostonians (1886) was not welcomed by James's fellow countrymen, who failed to appreciate its delicacy and wit; but a century later, this book is widely regarded as James's finest American fiction, and perhaps his comic masterpiece.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - magicians_nephew - LibraryThing

I must admit I’m not a huge fan of Henry James. I can read his jewel-like short novels like “The Turn of the Screw”, but his longer works just take more patience than I have in me. But my reading ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - stillatim - LibraryThing

Not quite sure what to make of this. It has a few Jamesian qualities: the enormous significance of details, general tragic view of life etc... But this is surrounded by mind-numbing detail and a set ... Read full review

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About the author (1998)

Henry James (1843-1916), son of Henry James Sr. and brother of the philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James, was an American-born author and literary critic of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He spent much of his life in Europe and became a British subject shortly before his death. He is primarily known for novels, novellas and short stories based on themes of consciousness and morality.

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