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The Awkward Age (Penguin Classics)by Henry James
Synopses & Reviews
Nanda Brookenham is 'coming out' in London society. Thrust suddenly into the vicious, immoral circle that has gathered round her mother, she even finds herself in competition with Mrs Brookenham for the affection of the man she admires. Light and ironic in its touch, The Awkward Age nevertheless analyzes the English character with great subtlety.
The Awkward Age, which has been much praised for its natural dialogue and the delicacy of feeling it conveys, exemplifies Conrad's remark that James 'is never in deep gloom or in violent sunshine. But he feels deeply and vividly every delicate shade.'
London society takes its toll on a young girl unprepared for the corruptions of the "coming out" season.
Henry James had arrived at such mastery of the forms and uses of fiction by the time he published The Awkward Age in 1899 that this story of a young girl introduced into a casually corrupt circle of sophisticates is at once a universal drama of innocence confronting evil, a detailed examination of a social order, and a stunning picture of a civilization in crisis.
About the Author
Henry James (1843-1916), born in New York City, was the son of noted religious philosopher Henry James, Sr., and brother of eminent psychologist and philosopher William James. He spent his early life in America and studied in Geneva, London and Paris during his adolescence to gain the worldly experience so prized by his father. He lived in Newport, went briefly to Harvard Law School, and in 1864 began to contribute both criticism and tales to magazines.
In 1869, and then in 1872-74, he paid visits to Europe and began his first novel, Roderick Hudson. Late in 1875 he settled in Paris, where he met Turgenev, Flaubert, and Zola, and wrote The American (1877). In December 1876 he moved to London, where two years later he achieved international fame with Daisy Miller. Other famous works include Washington Square (1880), The Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Princess Casamassima (1886), The Aspern Papers (1888), The Turn of the Screw (1898), and three large novels of the new century, The Wings of the Dove (1902), The Ambassadors (1903) and The Golden Bowl (1904). In 1905 he revisited the United States and wrote The American Scene (1907).
During his career he also wrote many works of criticism and travel. Although old and ailing, he threw himself into war work in 1914, and in 1915, a few months before his death, he became a British subject. In 1916 King George V conferred the Order of Merit on him. He died in London in February 1916.
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