'The apparition had reached the landing half-way up and was therefore on the spot nearest the window where, at the sight of me, it stopped short'The Turn of the Screw tells the story of a young governess sent to a country house to take charge of two orphans. Unsettled by a sense of intense evil in the house, she soon becomes obsessed with the idea that something malevolent is stalking the children in her care.Includes a new introduction by David Bromwich examining the novel's dark ambiguity.
After her parents' bitter divorce, young Maisie Farange finds herself shuttled between her selfish mother and vain father, who value her only as a means for provoking each other. Maisie - solitary, observant and wise beyond her years - is drawn into an increasingly entangled adult world of intrigue and sexual betrayal, until she is finally compelled to choose her own future. What Maisie Knew is a subtle yet devastating portrayal of an innocent adrift in a corrupt society. Part of a relaunch of three James titles.
"I'm a fearful, frightful flirt! Did you ever hear of a nice girl that was not?"This edition contains two of Henry James's most popular short works. Travelling in Europe with her family, Daisy Miller, an exquisitely beautiful young American woman, presents her fellow-countryman Winterbourne with a dilemma he cannot resolve. Is she deliberately flouting social convention in the outspoken way she talks and acts, or is she simply ignorant of those conventions? In Daisy Miller Henry James created his first great portrait of the enigmatic and dangerously independent American woman, a figure who would come to dominate his later masterpieces.Oscar Wilde called James's chilling The Turn of the Screw 'a most wonderful, lurid poisonous little tale'. It tells of a young governess sent to a country house to take charge of two orphans, Miles and Flora. Unsettled by a sense of intense evil within the houses, she soon becomes obsessed with the belief that malevolent forces are stalking the children in her care.The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.
"Why, you must take me or leave me ... You can't please your father and me both; you must choose between us"
When timid and plain Catherine Sloper acquires a dashing and determined suitor, her father, convinced that the young man is nothing more than a fortune-hunter, decides to put a stop to their romance. Torn between her desire to win her father's love and approval and her passion for the first man who has ever declared his love for her, Catherine faces an agonising dilemma, and becomes all too aware of the restrictions that others seek to place on her freedom. James's masterly novel deftly interweaves the public and private faces of nineteenth-century New York society; it is also a deeply moving study of innocence destroyed.The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.
'She knew of no wrong that he had done; he was not violent, he was not cruel; she simply believed that he hated her'
When Isabel Archer, a beautiful, spirited American, is brought to Europe by her wealthy aunt Touchett, it is expected that she will soon marry. But Isabel, resolved to enjoy her freedom, does not hesitate to turn down two eligible suitors. Then she finds herself irresistibly drawn to Gilbert Osmond. Charming and cultivated, Osmond sees Isabel as a rich prize waiting to be taken. In this portrait of a 'young woman affronting her destiny', Henry James created one of his most magnificent heroines, and a story of intense poignancy.The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.
'Something or other lay in wait for him, amid the twists and turns of the months and the years, like a crouching beast in the jungle.'Henry James's devastating and profoundly moving novella is the story of John Marcher, a man who, for as long as he can remember, has been obsessed by the feeling that some life-changing - even catastrophic - event lies in wait for him like a jungle animal. Then the tragic day arrives on which the terrible true nature of the beast is revealed.
'Did she know and if she knew would she speak?'The story of an unsolved literary mystery that explores what James referred to as "troubled artistic consciousness" Introducing Little Black Classics: 80 books for Penguin's 80th birthday. Little Black Classics celebrate the huge range and diversity of Penguin Classics, with books from around the world and across many centuries. They take us from a balloon ride over Victorian London to a garden of blossom in Japan, from Tierra del Fuego to 16th-century California and the Russian steppe. Here are stories lyrical and savage; poems epic and intimate; essays satirical and inspirational; and ideas that have shaped the lives of millions.Henry James (1843-1916). James's works available in Penguin Classics are The Portrait of a Lady,
The Europeans, What Maisie Knew, The Awkward Age, The Figure in the Carpet and Other Stories, The Turn of The Screw, The Aspern Papers and Other Tales, The Wings of The Dove, Washington Square, The Tragic Muse, Daisy Miller, The Ambassadors, The Golden Bowl, Selected Tales, Roderick Hudson, The Princess Casamassima and The American.
The American Henry James's descriptions of the countryside, monuments, universities, cathedrals, castles, customs and manners of the English are filled with elegant charm and good humour. Here he delights in the hidden corners of ancient Chester streets, marvels at the drunken jollity of Epsom Derby day and savours the calm shadows of Glastonbury abbey, in a hymn to stained-glass windows, crumbling cottages, Norman towers, weather-beaten gables and the English genius.Generations of inhabitants have helped shape the English countryside - but it has profoundly shaped us too.It has provoked a huge variety of responses from artists, writers, musicians and people who live and work on the land - as well as those who are travelling through it.English Journeys celebrates this long tradition with a series of twenty books on all aspects of the countryside, from stargazey pie and country churches, to man's relationship with nature and songs celebrating the patterns of the countryside (as well as ghosts and love-struck soldiers).
'She found herself, for the first moment, looking at the mysterious portrait through tears. Perhaps it was her tears that made it just then so strange and fair ... the face of a young woman, all splendidly drawn, down to the hands, and splendidly dressed ... And she was dead, dead, dead'Emerging from the grit and stigma of poverty to a life of fairytale privilege under the wing of her aunt, the beautiful and financially ambitious Kate Croy is already romantically involved with promising journalist Merton Densher when they become acquainted with Milly Theale, a New York socialite of immense wealth. Learning of Milly's mortal illness and passionate attraction to Densher, Kate sets the scene for a romantic betrayal intended to secure her lasting financial security. As the dying Milly retreats within the carnival splendour of a Venetian palazzo, becoming the frail hub of a predatory circle of fortune-seekers, James unfolds a resonant, brooding tale of doomed passion, betrayal, human resilience and remorse.The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.
This story of the alliance between Italian aristocracy and American millionaires is "a work unique among all [James's] novels: it is [his] only novel in which things come out right for his characters ...he had finally resolved the questions, curious and passionate, that had kept him at his desk on his inquiries into the process of living. He could now make his peace with America-and he could now collect and unify the work of a lifetime." -Leon Edel in The Life of Henry James.Maggie Verver, a young American heiress, and her widowed father Adam, lead a life of wealth and refinement in London. They are both getting married: Maggie to Prince Amerigo, an impoverished Italian aristocrat, and Adam to the beautiful but penniless Charlotte Stant, a friend of his daughter. But both father and daughter are unaware that their new conquests share a secret - one for which all concerned must pay the price.
Making her debut in London society, Nanda Brookenham is being groomed for the marriage market. Thrust suddenly into the superficial and immoral circle that surrounds her mother, the innocent but independent-minded young woman even finds herself in competition with Mrs Brookenham for the affection of the man she admires. Only an elderly bachelor, Mr Longdon, is immune to this world of greed and scheming, and determines to rescue Nanda from its corrupting influences out of loyalty to the deep love he once felt for her grandmother. In The Awkward Age (1899), Henry James explores the English character, and the clash between old and new money with a light and subtly ironic touch to create a devastating critique of society and its machinations.
Throughout his life, Henry James was drawn to the short story form for the freedom and variety it offered. The nineteen stories in this selection span James's career, from brief tales to longer works, all exploring his concerns with the old world and the new, money, fame and art. 'Daisy Miller', the work that first brought him fame, depicts a bold, unsophisticated American girl abroad, and 'In the Cage' portrays a young telegraphist's romantic fantasies about customers who send telegrams from her post office. In 'The Birthplace' a Stratford tour guide embellishes the Shakespeare legend, while in the late masterpiece 'The Jolly Corner', an elderly American returns from Europe and encounters a strange apparition. Haunting, witty and beautifully drawn, James's tales are as complex and resonant as his novels.
The illegitimate and impoverished son of a dressmaker and a nobleman, Hyacinth Robinson has grown up with a strong sense of beauty that heightens his acute sympathy for the inequalities that surround him. Drawn into a secret circle of radical politics he makes a rash vow to commit a violent act of terrorism. But when the Princess Casamassima - beautiful, clever and bored - takes him up and introduces him to her own world of wealth and refinement, Hyacinth is torn. He is horrified by the destruction that would be wreaked by revolution, but still believes he must honour his vow, and finds himself gripped in an agonizing and, ultimately, fatal dilemma. A compelling blend of psychological observation, wit and compassion, The Princess Casamassima (1886) is one of Henry James's most deeply personal novels.
When wealthy Rowland Mallet first sees a sculpture by Roderick Hudson, he is astounded and pronounces it to be a work of genius, and is equally entranced by the sculptor's beauty, spirit and charisma. Wishing to give the impoverished artist the opportunity to develop his talent, he takes Roderick from America to Rome, where he becomes the talk of the city. But Roderick soon loses his inspiration and Rowland loses control of his protégé, while both fall in love with women they cannot ever have. Can Roderick be saved from the path to self-destruction he seems set on? One of Henry James's first novels, Roderick Hudson (1875) is a compelling depiction of the artistic temperament and of a young man who, like Icarus, flies too close to the sun.
You must paint her just like that ... as the Tragic Muse' Suggests one of James's characters to Nick Dormer, the young Englishman who, during the course of the novel, will courageously resist the glittering Parliamentary career desired for him by his family, in order to paint. His progress is counterpointed by the 'Tragic Muse' of the title, Miriam Rooth, one of James's most fierily beautiful creations, a great actress indifferent to social reputation, and triumphantly dedicated to her art. In portraying the conflict between art and 'the world' which is his novel's central idea, James engaged obliquely with current debates on the new aestheticism of Pater and Wilde and on the nature of the actor's performance. Through the living complexity of his protagonists he reveals how much, as Philip Horne puts it, 'to take art seriously as an end in itself ... is still a provocative course'.
Mrs Gereth is convinced that Fleda Vetch would make the perfect daughter-in-law. Only the dreamy, highly-strung young woman can genuinely appreciate, and perhaps eventually share, Mrs Gereth's passion for her 'things' - the antique treasures she has amassed at Poynton Park in the south of England. Owen Gereth, however, has inconveniently become engaged to the uncultured Mona Brigstock. As a dramatic family quarrel unfolds, the hesitating Fleda is drawn in, yet she remains reluctant to captivate Owen, who seems as attracted to her as she is to him. Is she motivated by scruple or fear? In The Spoils of Poynton (1897), Henry James created a work of exquisite ambiguity in his depiction of three women fighting for the allegiance of one weak-willed man.
When timid and plain Catherine Sloper acquires a dashing and determined suitor, her father, convinced that the young man is nothing more than a fortune-hunter, decides to put a stop to their romance. Torn between her desire to win her father's love and approval and her passion for the first man who has ever declared his love for her, Catherine faces an agonising dilemma, and becomes all too aware of the restrictions that others seek to place on her freedom. James's masterly novel deftly interweaves the public and private faces of nineteenth-century New York society; it is also a deeply moving study of innocence destroyed.
Beautiful Kate Croy may have been left penniless by her relatives, but her bold, ambitious nature ensures she will not succumb meekly to a life of poverty. If the financial circumstances of Merton Densher, the man she is passionately in love with, are not sufficient to secure her future, perhaps her cunning will. So when Milly Theale arrives in Europe from America, laden with wealth but also gravely ill, Kate sees an opportunity to exploit her vulnerability and devises a plan that will see her and Merton financially provided for. Her scheming is flawed though, for it fails to take into account the inconstancies of the human heart.John Bayley's introduction examines the novel in the context of James's other late, great works.
The Turn of the Screw tells the story of a young governess sent to a country house to take charge of two orphans. Unsettled by a sense of intense evil in the house she soon becomes obsessed with the idea that something malevolent is stalking the children in her care. Meanwhile The Aspern Papers explores obsession of a more worldly kind, with its tale of a literary historian determined to get his hands on some letters written by a great poet. Such is his drive, he is quite prepared to use trickery and deception to achieve his aims...
The stories in this collection were written mostly between 1888 and 1897, a time when Henry James's writing was concerned with the art of fiction and the position of the artist in society. The motif and title story, 'The Figure in the Carpet', is an inspired joke, a masterpiece of double-entendre that demands the reader's undivided love and attention and continues to baffle its critics. Also included are 'The Author of Beltraffio', an absorbing story of family infighting, authorship and tragedy, and 'The Private Life', a spirited tale that considers the contrast between the artist alone and at work. While many of these stories appear to be elaborate Jamesian games, all employ irony and humour to allegorize artistic creation.
When Isabel Archer, a beautiful, spirited American is brought to Europe by her wealthy aunt Touchett, it is expected that she will soon marry. But Isabel, resolved to enjoy the freedom that her fortune has opened up and to determine her own fate, does not hesitate to turn down two eligible suitors. It is only when she finds herself irresistibly drawn to the cultivated but worthless Gilbert Osmond that she discovers that wealth is a two-edged sword and that there is a price to be paid for independence. With its subtle delineation of American characters in a European setting, Portrait of a Lady is one of the most accomplished and popular of Henry James's early novels.
A wonderful new collection of Henry James's short stories about the relationship between art and life, edited by Michael Gorra.This volume gathers seven of the very best of Henry James's short stories, all exploring the relationship between art and life. In 'The Aspern Papers', a critic is determined to get his hands on a great poet's papers hidden in a faded Venetian house - not matter what the human cost. 'The Author of Beltraffio', 'The Lesson of the Master' and 'The Figure in the Carpet' all focus on naive young men's unsettling encounters with their literary heroes. In 'The Middle Years', a dying novelist begins to glimpse his own potential, while 'The Real Thing' and 'Greville Fane' both explore the tension between artistic and commercial success. These fables of the creative life reveal James at his ironic, provocative best.Henry James was born in 1843 in New York and died in London in 1916. In addition to many short stories, plays, books of criticism, autobiography and travel, he wrote some twenty novels, the first published being Roderick Hudson (1875). They include The Europeans, Washington Square, The Portrait of a Lady, The Bostonians, The Princess Casamassima, The Tragic Muse, The Spoils of Poynton, The Awkward Age, The Wings of the Dove, The Ambassadors and The Golden Bowl.Michael Gorra is Professor of English at Smith College and the author of Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece (2012), a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in biography.
Concerned that her son Chad may have become involved with a woman of dubious reputation, the formidable Mrs Newsome sends her 'ambassador' Strether from Massachusetts to Paris to extricate him. Strether's mission, however, is gradually undermined as he falls under the spell of the city and finds Chad refined rather than corrupted by its influence and that of his charming companion, the comtesse de Vionnet. As the summer wears on, Mrs Newsome comes to the conclusion that she must send another envoy to Paris to confront the errant Chad, and a Strether whose view of the world has changed profoundly. James's favourite novel and one of the greatest of his late works, The Ambassadors is a subtle and often witty exploration of different American responses to a European environment.