The American

The American

Book - 2009
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`You you a nun; you with your beauty defaced and your nature wasted you behind locks and bars! Never, never, if I can prevent it!' A wealthy American man of business descends on Europe in search of a wife to make his fortune complete. In Paris Christopher Newman is introduced to Claire de Cintre, daughter of the ancient House of Bellegarde, and to Valentin, her charming young brother. His bid for Claire's hand receives an icywelcome from the heads of the family, an elder brother and their formidable mother, the old Marquise. Can they stomach his manners for the sake of his dollars? Out of this classic collision between the old world and the new, James weaves a fable of thwarted desire that shifts between comedy,tragedy, romance and melodrama a fable which in the later version printed here takes on some of the subtleties associated with this greatest novels.
Publisher: Oxford [England] ; New York : Oxford University Press, [2009]
ISBN: 9780199555208
0199555206
Branch Call Number: F JAM NVD
Characteristics: xxxiv, 400 p. ; 20 cm
Additional Contributors: Poole, Adrian

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lukasevansherman
Sep 28, 2014

James's first major novel embodies one of the key themes of his work (the differences and tensions between the New World and Old Europe) and is an accessible entry point into his formidable oeuvre. The title character is a brash, wealthy, optimistic American who comes to Europe and falls for a pretty, distant Frenchwoman from a distinguished and proud family. Her imperious mother doesn't approve of the romance and stands in their way. The strength of the novel is that James doesn't take sides, detailing the shortcoming of both parties. An excellent introduction to the Master's work. Consider reading "Daisy Miller," "Washington Square," and "The Europeans" next.

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