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The Wings of the Dove

James, Henry, 1843-1916 (Book - 1997 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Wings of the Dove
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Random House, Inc.

Of the three late masterpieces that crown the extraordinary literary achievement of Henry James, The Wings of the Dove (1902) is at once the most personal and the most elemental.

James drew on the memory of a beloved cousin who died young to create one of the three central characters, Milly Theale, an heiress with a short time to live and a passion for experiencing life to its fullest. To the creation of the other two, Merton Densher and the magnificent, predatory Kate Croy, who conspire in an act of deceit and betrayal, he brought a lifetime's distilled wisdom about the frailty of the human soul when it is trapped in the depths of need and desire. And he brought to the drama that unites these three characters, in the drawing rooms of London and on the storm-lit piazzas of Venice, a starkness and classical purity almost unprecedented in his work.

Under its brilliant, coruscating surfaces, beyond the scrim of its marvelous rhetorical and psychological devices, The Wings of the Dove offers an unfettered vision of our civilization and its discontents. It represents a culmination of James's art and, as such, of the art of the novel itself.

(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)



Baker & Taylor
Kate Croy and Merton Densher, poor and secretly engaged, try to encourage the interest of Milly Theale, a fatally ill young heiress

Authors: James, Henry, 1843-1916
Statement of Responsibility: Henry James ; with an introduction by Grey Gowrie
Title: The wings of the dove
Publisher: New York : A. Knopf, c1997
Characteristics: 508 p. ; 21 cm.
Notes: First published 1902
"Borzoi Book."
ISBN: 0679455124
Branch Call Number: FIC J
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Jan 20, 2014
  • lukasevansherman rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

As James's matured, his novels became denser and more difficult, favoring deep psychological insight, long, luxurious sentences and a complex, highly nuanced style. None of these elements make for easy reading exactly, but "The Wings of The Dove," often considered one of his greatest books, rewards those who stick with it, even if its 500 pages can exhaust the most intrepid reader. Also see "The Golden Bowl" and "The Ambassadors."

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