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The Author Of Beltraffio

Henry James

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Mr. Ambient."

"He will like that. He likes being admired."

"He must have a very happy life, then. He has many worshippers."

"Oh, yes, I have seen some of them," said Mrs. Ambient, looking away, very far from me, rather as if such a vision were before her at the moment Something in her tone seemed to indicate that the vision was scarcely edifying, and I guessed very quickly that she was not in sympathy with the author of Beltraffio. I thought the fact strange, but, somehow, in the glow of my own enthusiasm, I did n't think it important; it only made me wish to be rather explicit about that enthusiasm.

"For me, you know," I remarked, "he is quite the greatest of living writers."

"Of course I can't judge. Of course he's very clever," said Mrs. Ambient, smiling a little.

"He's magnificent, Mrs. Ambient! There are pages in each of his books that have a perfection that classes them with the greatest things. Th. . . Read More

Community Reviews

The Dorian Gray girlies will love this


Faulkner, Henry James, Dostoevsky and the descent of Romanticism, it appears to me.

For uni module Victorian aestheticism and decadence.

Story was interesting as was moments of suspense but was mostly confused about the narrator and who they were and how they ended up involved.

It's one of the the assigned reading for my Victorian Literature model. The lecture talks a lot about the use of "strange" as one of the symbols for Aesthetics. I paid special attention to words such as "odd" and "strange". They do occur quite frequently.

I did not get that the narrator is a gay admirer of a gay author, but there is literally no other way to understand what is going on.

Even so, the events are a bit melodramatic.

One other note- the story did remind me of Hawthorne.

Henry James m-a surprins. E drept că nu mă pot lăuda cu faptul că l-am studiat îndeajuns, deoarece nu mi-a fost dat să citesc până acum decât "Daisy Miller", "Elevul" şi "Fiara din junglă", toate trei fiind scrieri sobre, imparţiale şi obiective, aflate în sfera moravurilor vremii.
"Autorul lui Belt

This long short story, first published in the English Illustrated Magazine (1884), may appear to be little more than a "morbid" family drama (James' own word) further darkened by a melodramatic conclusion, but it is in fact something much richer and far more complicated. Unfortunately, its riches re

I much preferred this to Turn of the Screw. It has many interesting observations about the role/duty of the artist. I feel I only scratched the surface in this reading. Will be interesting to see what comes out of my bookgroup discussion.