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The Bostonians - Volume 1

Henry James

Book Overview: 

This bittersweet tragicomedy centers on an odd triangle of characters: Basil Ransom, a political conservative from Mississippi; Olive Chancellor, Ransom's cousin and a Boston feminist; and Verena Tarrant, a pretty, young protégée of Olive's in the feminist movement. The storyline concerns the struggle between Ransom and Olive for Verena's allegiance and affection, though the novel also includes a wide panorama of political activists, newspaper people, and quirky eccentrics.(Summary by Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I feel as I imagine Napoleon Bonaparte to have felt on the eve of one of his great victories. I must have unfriendly elements—I like to win them over."

Olive thought of Basil Ransom, and wondered whether he would do for an unfriendly element. She mentioned him to Mrs. Farrinder, who expressed an earnest hope that if he were opposed to the principles which were so dear to the rest of them, he might be induced to take the floor and testify on his own account. "I should be so happy to answer him," said Mrs. Farrinder, with supreme softness. "I should be so glad, at any rate, to exchange ideas with him." Olive felt a deep alarm at the idea of a public dispute between these two vigorous people (she had a perception that Ransom would be vigorous), not because she doubted of the happy issue, but because she herself would be in a false position, as having brought the offensive young man, and she had a horror of false positions. Miss Birdseye was incapable of resent. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I found The Bostonians repulsive on so many levels. Where to even begin...

James is creating a world where it seems he wants you to find certain things repulsive, and you do, as a 21st century reader, although not necessarily quite as he hopes. The novel opens with Basil Ransom, a gallant Mississi...more

I listened to this on audible while driving to & from work -- it took awhile, but the book allows itself to be 'read' in chunks. The story is certainly a bit too long (typically Jamesian, I guess), often melodramatic -- but, in the end, quite good. Magnficent characters -- Verena, Olive, Basi...more

Ransom's the name -Basil Ransom. Status, bachelor. Occupation : general brokerage, whatever the hell that means. Occupation at the moment - just having fun. Let me tell you about my evening. It was last evening. The one before this one.

What a politico-literary gathering that was. The drinks were...more

Newsflash: Henry James is funny! Seriously, he likes to laugh. And he's good at it. Who knew? The opening of this book reads like a farce, a comedy of manners, a vicious taking apart of characters worthy of Oscar Wilde. It does diminish and get rather more serious over the course of the novel, bu...more

The Bostonians (1885-86) falls more or less in the middle of Henry James’s career as a novelist, ten years after his breezy debut, Roderick Hudson and sixteen years before The Wings of a Dove. Its nearest chronology-mate is The Princess Casamassima, with which it shares its unusual (for James) po...more

Henry James’ The Bostonians takes place in Boston a decade after the Civil War. Basil Ransom and Mississippian and a former Confederate officer who now works in New York City as a lawyer plays a central role in the triangle of characters. The story begins as he visits his cousin Olive Chancellor...more

Εκτιμώ λίγο παραπάνω τα βιβλία που με κάνουν να μιλάω μόνος. (Και εξηγούμαι: είναι η στιγμή όπου το βιβλίο έχει καταφέρει να σε απορροφήσει πλήρως και τότε ένας χαρακτήρας κάνει/λέει κάτι συνταρακτικό, οπότε σου ξεφεύγει στον αέρα ένα "Οχιιιι, μην το κάνεις!" ή ένα "Ναιιι" κλπ) Με τις Βοστονέζες...more

' "Just sit down here and let me ask a simple question. Do you think any state of society can come to good that is based upon an organised wrong?" '

This book, somewhat unfairly, has a reputation as being James' satire on the early suffragette/feminist movement in 1880s Boston - I say unfairly b...more

Another step in the slow accretion of my lifelong project of reading the major novels and stories. The Bostonians -- maddening, thrilling, vexing, and troublesome -- illustrates again the principle that at its very highest levels fiction operates upon the reader in a messy and unpredictable way....more

Бостънци е може би най-голямата, най-епичната и най-заплетена творба на Henry James. Една история на няколко души, повечко еманципация, интриги, борба за любов - повече от самата любов, осмиване на силата, която женската природа може да покаже в един мъжки свят.
Харесва ми как Джеймс оставя читат...more

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