The Ambassadors.

"Live all you can; it's a mistake not to": First American Edition of Henry James' The Ambassadors

The Ambassadors.

JAMES, Henry.

$1,750.00

Item Number: 55023

New York : Harper & Brothers, 1903.

First American edition of this dark comedy, which Henry James considered his finest work. Octavo, original cloth, gilt topstain. Fine in a near fine dust jacket with light toning to the spine. A nice example.

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 portray Paris as a faultless paradise for culturally stunted Americans. Strether learns about the reverse side 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, anywhere, but to rely upon his own observation and judgment. Named by Modern Library as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

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If you are interested in an item from one of our catalogues or our website and would like more information before ordering it, please give us a call; one of our salespeople will be happy to speak with you and answer any questions that you might have. For some items, we can also email digital photographs.

All of our items are guaranteed as described and are shipped on approval. We accept MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover, checks and wire transfer. For first-time buyers, we prefer a credit card and we will only ship to the billing address on the card. We do ask that if you are not satisfied with the item, you contact us by phone as quickly as possible and return the item within ten days.

We ship worldwide and all packages will be sent via UPS or Federal Express unless another carrier is requested. Next-day or second-day air service is available upon request. Shipping and insurance charges are additional.