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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »Daisy Miller«

Daisy Miller

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Daisy Miller is a novella by Henry James. Annie "Daisy" Miller and Frederick Winterbourne first meet in Vevey, Switzerland, in a garden of the grand hotel where Winterbourne is allegedly vacationing from his studies (an attachment to an older lady is rumored). They are introduced by Randolph Miller, Daisy's 9-year-old brother. Randolph considers their hometown of Schenectady, New York, to be absolutely superior to all of Europe. Daisy, however, is absolutely delighted with the continent, especially the high society she wishes to enter.

Winterbourne is at first confused by her attitude, and though greatly impressed by her beauty, he soon determines that she is nothing more than a young flirt. He continues his pursuit of Daisy in spite of the disapproval of his aunt Mrs. Costello, who spurns any family with so close a relationship to their courier as the Millers have with their Eugenio. She also thinks Daisy is a shameless girl for agreeing to visit the Château de Chillon with Winterbourne after they have known each other for only half an hour. Winterbourne then informs Daisy that he must go to Geneva the next day. Daisy feels disappointment and chaffs him, eventually asking him to visit her in Rome later that year.

In Rome, Winterbourne and Daisy meet unexpectedly in the parlor of Mrs. Walker, an American expatriate. Her moral values have adapted to those of Italian society. Rumors about Daisy meeting with young Italian gentlemen make her socially exceptionable under these criteria. Winterbourne learns of Daisy's increasing intimacy with a young Italian of questionable society, Giovanelli, as well as the growing scandal caused by the pair's behavior. Daisy is undeterred by the open disapproval of the other Americans in Rome, and her mother seems quite unaware of the underlying tensions. Winterbourne and Mrs. Walker attempt to persuade Daisy to separate from Giovanelli, but she refuses any help that is offered.

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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »Beast in the Jungle«

Beast in the Jungle

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The Beast in the Jungle is a novella by Henry James. Almost universally considered one of James' finest short narratives, this story treats appropriately universal themes: loneliness, fate, love and death. The parable of John Marcher and his peculiar destiny has spoken to many readers who have speculated on the worth and meaning of human life.

John Marcher, the protagonist, is reacquainted with May Bartram, a woman he knew ten years earlier, who remembers his odd secret: Marcher is seized with the belief that his life is to be defined by some catastrophic or spectacular event, lying in wait for him like a "beast in the jungle." May decides to buy a house in London with the money she inherited from a great aunt, and to spend her days with Marcher, curiously awaiting what fate has in store for him. Marcher is a hopeless egoist, who believes that he is precluded from marrying so that he does not subject his wife to his "spectacular fate".

He takes May to the theater and invites her to an occasional dinner, but does not allow her to get close to him. As he sits idly by and allows the best years of his life to pass, he takes May down as well, until the denouement where he learns that the great misfortune of his life was to throw it away, and to ignore the love of a good woman, based upon his preposterous sense of foreboding.

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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »The Golden Bowl«

The Golden Bowl

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The Golden Bowl is a novel by Henry James. Set in England, this complex, intense study of marriage and adultery completes what some critics have called the "major phase" of James' career. The Golden Bowl explores the tangle of interrelationships between a father and daughter and their respective spouses. The novel focuses deeply and almost exclusively on the consciousness of the central characters, with sometimes obsessive detail but also with powerful insight. The title is a quotation from Ecclesiastes 12:6, "…or the golden bowl be broken, …then shall the dust return to the earth as it was".

In the broadest sense of the term, The Golden Bowl is a novel of education. Maggie gradually sheds her childish naivete and grows into a capable woman who saves her marriage by dexterous handling of a potentially explosive situation. She realizes that she can't remain dependent on her father but must accept adult responsibilities in her marriage.

Amerigo is portrayed as a European snob and far from scrupulous. But he comes to respect Maggie as she works to save their marriage. He had previously regarded Maggie and Adam as little more than "good children, bless their hearts, and the children of good children."

It is unclear how much Adam knows of the situation, but he appears wise and understanding of his daughter's plan for the two couples to separate. Charlotte is a dazzlingly beautiful woman, but she may be a little "stupid," as the Prince pronounces in a harsh final judgment. She ultimately appears more bewildered than self-possessed.

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The Ambassadors

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The Ambassadors is a novel by Henry James. Henry James got the central idea for The Ambassadors from an anecdote about his friend and fellow-novelist William Dean Howells, who, whilst visiting his son in Paris, was so impressed with the amenities of European culture, that he wondered aloud if life hadn't passed him by; from that intriguing suggestion grew Strether's long speech to Little Bilham about living "all you can".

The theme of liberation from a cramped, almost starved, emotional life into a more generous and gracious existence plays throughout The Ambassadors, yet it is noteworthy that James does not naïvely make of Paris a faultless paradise for culturally stunted Americans. Strether learns about the reverse of the European coin when he sees how desperately Marie fears losing Chad, after all she has done for him. As one critic proposed, Strether does not shed his American straitjacket only to be fitted with a more elegant European model, but instead learns to evaluate every situation on its merits, without prejudices. The final lesson of Strether's European experience is to distrust preconceived notions and perceptions from anyone and anywhere, but to rely upon his own observation and judgment.

Mediation/Intermediation: a major theme of the novel involves Strether's position as an ambassador. Strether, when giving his final account to Maria Gostrey, justifies his decisions by connecting his intermediary position to his concerns about gaining experience (and pleasure) whilst working in behalf of others. This conflict between personal desire and duty is important to consider when thinking about Strether's psychology.

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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »The Europeans«

The Europeans

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The Europeans is a short novel by Henry James. It is essentially a comedy contrasting the behaviour and attitudes of two visitors from Europe with those of their relatives living in the 'new' world of New England.

The tale opens in Boston and New England in the middle of the 19th century, and describes the experiences of two European siblings shifting from the old to the new world. The two protagonists are Eugenia Munster and Felix Young, who since their early childhood have lived in Europe, moving from France to Italy and from Spain to Germany. In this last place, Eugenia entered into a Morganatic marriage with Prince Adolf of Silberstadt-Schreckenstein, the younger brother of the reigning prince who is now being urged by his family to dissolve the marriage for political reasons. Because of this, Eugenia and Felix decide to travel to America to meet their distant cousins, so that Eugenia may "seek her fortune" in the form of a wealthy American husband.

All the cousins live in the countryside around Boston and spend a lot of time together. The first encounter with them corresponds to the first visit of Felix to his family. Mr Wentworth’s family is a puritanical one, far from the Europeans' habits. Felix is fascinated by the patriarchal Mr Wentworth, his son, Clifford, and two daughters, Gertrude and Charlotte. They spend a lot of time together with Mr. Robert Acton and his sister Lizzie, their neighbours.

Eugenia’s reaction after this first approach differs from Felix’s. She is not really interested in sharing her time with this circle. She doesn’t like the Wentworth ladies and does not want to visit them frequently. In contrast, her brother is very happy to share his spare time with Charlotte and Gertrude, spending hours in their piazza or garden creating portraits of the two ladies.

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What Maisie Knew

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What Maisie Knew is a novel by Henry James. The story of the sensitive daughter of divorced, irresponsible parents, What Maisie Knew has great contemporary relevance as an unflinching account of a wildly dysfunctional family. The book is also a masterly technical achievement by James, as it follows the title character from earliest childhood to precocious maturity.

When Beale and Ida Farange are divorced, the court decrees that their only child, the very young Maisie, will shuttle back and forth between them, spending six months of the year with each. The parents are immoral and frivolous, and they use Maisie to intensify their hatred of each other. Beale Farange marries Miss Overmore, Maisie's pretty governess, while Ida marries the likeable but weak Sir Claude. Maisie gets a new governess: the frumpy, somewhat-ridiculous but devoted Mrs. Wix.

Both Ida and Beale soon cheat on their spouses; in turn, Claude and the new Mrs. Farange begin an affair with each other. Maisie's parents essentially abandon her and she becomes largely the responsibility of Sir Claude. Eventually, Maisie must decide if she wants to remain with Sir Claude and Mrs. Farange. In the book's long final section set in France, the older (probably teenaged) Maisie struggles to choose between them and Mrs Wix, and concludes that her new parents' relationship will likely end as her biological parents' did. She leaves them and goes to stay with Mrs. Wix, her most reliable adult guardian.

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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »Eine Dame von Welt«

Eine Dame von Welt

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Eine vergessene große Erzählung vom Meister der weiblichen Psychologie

Die Novelle, Spiegelstück zu Henry Jamesʼ »Daisy Miller«, zählt zu den unterhaltsamsten Werken des profunden Menschenkenners: Eine unerschrockene Amerikanerin mischt die Welt der zugeknöpfte europäischen Aristokratie auf, um sich in diesen Kreisen einen Platz zu erkämpfen.

Der reiche Amerikaner Littlemore trifft in einem Pariser Theater auf Mrs. Headway, eine alte Angebetete aus San Diego. Sie bittet ihn, als ihr Fürsprecher den Edelmann Arthur Demesne ihrer »Ehrbarkeit« zu versichern. Littlemore zögert: Sie hat ein skandalträchtiges Leben geführt, eine vorteilhafte Ehe ist ihre einzige Möglichkeit auf gesellschaftliche Anerkennung. Soll er aus alter Verbundenheit lügen? Eine schwierige Frage, denn von nun an zählen Littlemore und Demesne zu den regelmäßigen Gästen im Salon Mrs. Headways. Bestechend frisch erzählt Henry James von einer unerschrockenen Amerikanerin, die die zugeknöpfte Welt der europäischen Aristokratie aufmischt, um sich gegen alle Konventionen ihren Platz zu erkämpfen.

»Dieser Schriftsteller wird Sie nicht mehr aus seinen Fängen lassen, sobald Sie eine Zeile von ihm gelesen haben.« Alexander Cammann, Die Zeit

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HENRY JAMES wurde 1843 in einer großbürgerlichen New Yorker Familie geboren. Sein Bruder war der einflußreiche Psychologe und Philosoph William James (1841-1910). Von seinem Vater als Weltbürger erzogen, pendelte Henry James viele Jahre zwischen Europa und den USA hin und her, bis er sich 1876 endgültig in England niederließ. 1915 wurde er britischer Staatsbürger. Er war befreundet mit so bedeutenden Literaten wie William Dean Howells, Iwan Turgenjew, Gustave Flaubert, Guy de Maupassant und Alphonse Daudet. Henry James gilt als der wichtigste Neuerer der Erzählkunst im Übergang zur Literatur des 20. Jahrhunderts und zur Moderne. Seine sprachlich vollkommenen Erzählwerke sind geprägt von seiner Vorliebe für die kultivierte aristokratische Lebensweise, die er in Amerika vermißte, und von einer gründlichen Analyse des Seelenlebens seiner Helden. Henry James starb 1916 in London.

Neben Erzählungen wie „Daisy Miller“ (1879) begründeten seine Romane „Die Europäer“ (1878), „Washington Square“ (1881), „Bildnis einer Dame“ (1881), „Damen aus Boston“ (1886), „Die Prinzessin Casamassima“ (1886); „Die Flügel der Taube“ (1902) und „Die Gesandten“ (1903) seinen literarischen Weltruhm.

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Alexander Pechmann, geb. 1968, Autor, Herausgeber und Übersetzer v. a. der englischen und amerikanischen Literatur des 19. Jahrhunderts; zahlreiche Publikationen, darunter: Herman Melville. Leben und Werk (2003); Mary Shelley. Leben und Werk (2006) sowie Übersetzungen, u.a.: Herman Melville: Die große Kunst, die Wahrheit zu sagen. Von Walen, Dichtern und anderen Herrlichkeiten (2005); Mary Shelley: Frankenstein. Die Urfassung (2206). Im Aufbau Verlag erschien 2007 "Die Bibliothek der verlorenen Bücher" und 2009 "Mark Twain: Sommerwogen. Eine Liebe in Briefen", die von der Kritik gefeierte deutsche Erstübersetzung der Twain'schen Liebesbriefe.

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The Portrait of a Lady

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The Portrait of a Lady is a novel by Henry James. It is one of James's most popular long novels, and is regarded by critics as one of his finest.

The Portrait of a Lady is the story of a spirited young American woman, Isabel Archer, who in "affronting her destiny", finds it overwhelming. She inherits a large amount of money and subsequently becomes the victim of Machiavellian scheming by two American expatriates. Like many of James's novels, it is set in Europe, mostly England and Italy. Generally regarded as the masterpiece of James's early period, this novel reflects James's continuing interest in the differences between the New World and the Old, often to the detriment of the former. It also treats in a profound way the themes of personal freedom, responsibility, and betrayal.

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Washington Square

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Washington Square is a short novel by Henry James. It is a structurally simple tragicomedy that recounts the conflict between a dull but sweet daughter and her brilliant, unemotional father. The plot of the novel is based upon a true story told to James by his close friend, British actress Fanny Kemble. The book is often compared with Jane Austen's work for the clarity and grace of its prose and its intense focus on family relationships.

The bitterest irony in the story is that Dr. Sloper, a brilliant and successful physician, is exactly right about Morris Townsend, and yet he is cruel to his defenseless and loving daughter. If the doctor had been incorrect in his appraisal of the worthless Townsend, he would be only a stock villain. As it is, the doctor's head functions perfectly but his heart has grown cold after the death of his beautiful and gifted wife.

Catherine gradually grows throughout the story, ultimately gaining the ability to judge her situation accurately. As James puts it: "From her point of view the great facts of her career were that Morris Townsend had trifled with her affection, and that her father had broken its spring. Nothing could ever alter these facts; they were always there, like her name, her age, her plain face. Nothing could ever undo the wrong or cure the pain that Morris had inflicted on her, and nothing could ever make her feel towards her father as she felt in her younger years." Catherine will never be brilliant, but she learns to be clear-sighted.

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Turn of the Screw

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The Turn of the Screw is a ghost story novella written by Henry James. Due to its ambiguous content, it became a favourite text of academics who subscribe to New Criticism. The novella has had differing interpretations, often mutually exclusive. Many critics have tried to determine the exact nature of the evil hinted at by the story. However, others have argued that the true brilliance of the novella comes with its ability to create an intimate confusion and suspense for the reader.

Throughout his career James was attracted to the ghost story genre. However, he was not fond of literature's stereotypical ghosts, the old-fashioned 'screamers' and 'slashers'. Rather, he preferred to create ghosts that were eerie extensions of everyday reality—"the strange and sinister embroidered on the very type of the normal and easy," as he put it in the New York Edition preface to his final ghost story, "The Jolly Corner". The Turn of the Screw is no exception to this formula. In fact, many have wondered if he didn't intend the "strange and sinister" to be embroidered only on the governess's mind and not on objective reality. The result has been a long-standing critical dispute about the reality of the ghosts and the sanity of the governess. Beyond the dispute, critics have closely examined James's narrative technique for the story. The framing introduction and subsequent first-person narrative by the governess have been studied by theorists of fiction interested in the power of fictional narratives to convince or even manipulate readers. The imagery of The Turn of the Screw is reminiscent of the gothic genre. The emphasis on old and mysterious buildings throughout the novella reinforces this motif. James also relates the amount of light present in various scenes to the strength of the supernatural or ghostly forces apparently at work.

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