- Tapa blanda: 384 páginas
- Editor: Pomona Press (1 de enero de 2007)
- Idioma: Inglés
- ISBN-10: 1406790281
- ISBN-13: 978-1406790283
- Valoración media de los clientes: Sé el primero en opinar sobre este producto
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The Ambassadors (1903) (Inglés) Tapa blanda – 1 ene 2007
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Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. Pomona Press are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.
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Strether arrives in Paris thinking that he will find Chad debauched by women, wine, and song but is greatly surprised to find him flourishing and in fact improved from the shallow boy he once knew. He is more of a gentleman with a sophisticated mind and tastes. The harpy destroyer of his innocence, Madame de Vionnet, turns out to be an elegant and charming woman who is currently separated from her husband. Strether can't figure out if Chad is in love with Vionnet our her young daughter, or if he is in love with neither.
Ironically, the more time Strether spends in Paris hanging out with Chad and his coterie, the more Strether HIMSELF doesn't want to return home to the States! He begins to realize that he hasn't really ever had time to experience and enjoy life and maybe it's not to late to find a small bit of happiness in Paris among young minds and art.
Henry James himself ranked this novel as his best so I thought it would be a great place to try reading his work for the first time. Unfortunately, this book is from his "late period" which means its language is a lot more convoluted and dense and can be a bit hard to understand coming into it unaware as I did. The experience to me was closest to reading Shakespeare for the first time. At points all through this book I would read 2-3 pages and the realize that I had no idea what had just occurred. And I consider myself an above average reader. A casual reader would lose interest in this book in the first few pages. As you start reading you catch the broad strokes of the action and you have to use context clues not to infer meaning from individual words but whole sections of text.
The great thing was that the more of the book you read, the more beautiful it becomes because your mind starts to get used to the style and is able to decode the meaning of the text. By the end of the book, the language and sentence construction no longer bothered me and I was able to greatly enjoy it.
I would say the main conflict of the book is Strether's regret. The fact that at 55, he starts to question his life choices and for the first time, he begins to think about what he wants to do with his life. Fortunately for him, within the confines of this novel, he discovers that maybe he still has TIME to sort out his future. Does he want to go home and marry Mrs Newsome, does he want to stay in Paris and get together with one of the other women he has met, or does he want to stay single? He's ended up middle aged, repressed, depressed, and dull, but at least the author gives Strether the opportunity to make something of his inner life even at this late stage in his life. You'll have to read the book to see if Strether seizes the opportunity he's been given.
No need to summarize the plot as other reviews here have already done so (with spoilers a plenty I might add). The story had me rooting for the protagonist Strether from the start and made the book difficult to put down. It's easy to sympathize with his predicament; he's conflicted between his natural desire for self-preservation and his reluctance to force Chad to do something against his will.
Characterization is brilliant particularly after the Pococks arrive due to the clashes of personalities & motives.
The only nit I'd pick is that when contrasting Europe & America, James leaves the impression that anyone visiting France could find the right well-connected tour guide, jump into high society, and experience the Old World in that environment. The reality is this tiny stratum of French society is only accessible to very few and could not be experienced directly by most readers; the Old World in the novel isn't painted faithfully.
So, as a book worm, this book is so challenging. And, compared to great authors about the times like Charles Dickens, Henry James's plot is more adaptable to what city people think at our times, 21st century.
Not bad. But it will take you a lot of time, thought and energy once you pick up.