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The Beast in the Jungle

Henry James

Book Overview: 

'The Beast in the Jungle' is a novella by Henry James, first published as part of the collection, The Better Sort. Almost universally considered one of James' finest short narratives, this story treats appropriately universal themes: loneliness, fate, love and death. The parable of John Marcher and his peculiar destiny has spoken to many readers who have speculated on the worth and meaning of human life.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .But it wasn’t strange.  It wasn’t what my affair’s to be.”

“You want something all to yourself—something that nobody else knows or has known?”

“It isn’t a question of what I ‘want’—God knows I don’t want anything.  It’s only a question of the apprehension that haunts me—that I live with day by day.”

He said this so lucidly and consistently that he could see it further impose itself.  If she hadn’t been interested before she’d have been interested now.

“Is it a sense of coming violence?”

Evidently now too again he liked to talk of it.  “I don’t think of it as—when it does come—necessarily violent.  I only think of it as natural and as of course above all unmistakeable.  I think of it simply as the thing.  The thing will of itself appear natural.”

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Community Reviews

**** SPOILER ALERT **** (But please, before reading this review, invest the time in reading James's short story. You will be glad you did, regardless of whether you return to read the following)

In one of the best reviews I've ever read of a piece of fiction (Note: any review, not just a Goodreads...more

Briefly; it’s a novella after all.

Apparently, enough time had lapsed after reading Proustitute’s fine review and Lee’s (perhaps, due to the good news of his new daughter) and Jesse’s, that I’d completely forgotten the story/novella’s subtext. All well and good. What remained was seeing three revi...more

Read the eBook version on my iPhone accompanied by the 133 BPM heart monitor heartbeat of my unborn daughter as my wife a few feet from me dozed after umpteenth hours of slow labor. Decided to read it because the hardback book I'm reading isn't backlit and they've dimmed the lights in our room. T...more

You said you had had from your earliest time, as the deepest thing within you, the sense of being kept for something rare and strange, possibly prodigious and terrible, that was sooner or later to happen to you, that you had in your bones the foreboding and the conviction of, and that would per...more

This is truly an unforgettable psychological portrait. John Marcher, the protagonist, is re-acquainted with May Bartram, a woman he knew ten years earlier, who remembers his odd secret-- Marcher is seized with the belief that his life is to be defined by some catastrophic or spectacular event, ly...more

Sharing can be considered, moral, ethical noble. One exception is the sharing of an identity. Yet it can be accomplished in such a way that sets the two sharing it apart, above others. Their lives can be molded, hardened in a kiln, and for them provide a life’s meaning as long as no else knows. A...more

Uma boa surpresa. Esta minha primeira leitura de Henry James é uma história do que fica pelo caminho; das palavras que não dizemos, dos gestos que não fazemos, ou porque não descortinamos o que nos está à frente do nariz, ou porque achamos que podemos sempre adiar.
Até que um dia é tarde demais.

Με το "Το στρίψιμο της βίδας" ο Χένρι Τζέιμς με είχε οδηγήσει πριν χρόνια στο κέντρο του ερέβους των ανθρωπίνων φόβων.
Με το "Το θηρίο στην ζούγκλα" μου χάρισε μια καινούργια αναγνωστική εμπειρία... Μια μυσταγωγική εμπειρία που περνάει μέσα από δαιδαλώδη μονοπάτια, τα οποία διακλαδώνονται συνεχώς...more

«Vorrei vivere ancora per voi, se potessi.»

È la terza volta che lo rileggo nel giro di pochi mesi, e ogni volta aggiungo una parola, sottolineo una frase, afferro qualcosa che la volta precedente mi era sfuggita.
In questa edizione mi aiuta a comprendere meglio il significato di alcuni particolari...more

James is my second favorite writer, after Proust, of course. The Beast in the Jungle is probably his most masterful tale—novella or short story, you decide—and it's one that I've read at least ten times. While many of my readings have been colored by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's now canonical essay "T...more

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