The Aspern Papers (Paperback)

The Aspern Papers By Classics Factory (Editor), Henry James Cover Image
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The novelette is based on the posthumous pursuit of Shelley's papers from his former very close friend (and possibly lover), Claire Clairmont. In The Aspern Papers an unnamed editor of the papers of deceased poet Jeffrey Aspern weasels himself into the home of Aspern's former mistress and subject of many of his poems, seeking to obtain from her papers (the nature of which is not given but presumably means letters, diaries, unpublished poems, or the like) which she has and has for years refused to sell or give scholarly access to.

The former mistress, Juliana Bordereau, now a very old woman, lives in Venice with her niece, Miss Tina. The editor, under a false name, rents rooms in her house hoping to get access to the women and the papers.

The center of the story is the development of the relationships among the three characters.

The descriptions of Venice are perhaps the most interesting and a bonus that come with the story. The writing is excellent, not surprising for Henry James.

It's quite fascinating to follow the narrator's progress, seeing him plot, attempt to justify his actions, pity himself and check himself whenever he's aware that he is about to do something which may ruin his chances.

He's a calculating monster, but in a way you want him to succeed, both because you feel he deserves something for his efforts and because he has to put up with two very difficult women to get at the papers.

It's an intense and suspenseful novella with a few short bursts of melodrama, some near-gothic moments and an impressive, well-written ending.

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About the Author

Henry James (15 April 1843 - 28 February 1916) was an American-born writer. He is regarded as one of the key figures of 19th-century literary realism. He was the son of Henry James, Sr. and the brother of philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James. He is best known for a number of novels showing Americans encountering Europe and Europeans. His method of writing from a character's point of view allowed him to explore issues related to consciousness and perception, and his style in later works has been compared to impressionist painting. His imaginative use of point of view, interior monologue and unreliable narrators brought a new depth to narrative fiction. James contributed significantly to literary criticism, particularly in his insistence that writers be allowed the greatest possible freedom in presenting their view of the world. James claimed that a text must first and foremost be realistic and contain a representation of life that is recognisable to its readers. Good novels, to James, show life in action and are, most importantly, interesting. In addition to his voluminous works of fiction he published articles and books of travel, biography, autobiography, and criticism, and wrote plays. James alternated between America and Europe for the first twenty years of his life; eventually he settled in England, becoming a British subject in 1915, one year before his death. James was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1911, 1912, and 1916.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781546694595
ISBN-10: 1546694595
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: May 14th, 2017
Pages: 108
Language: English