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The Coxon Fund

Henry James

Book Overview: 

This novella explores the relationship between Frank Saltram, a charismatic speaker who is also a freeloader; Ruth Anvoy, a young American who visits her widowed aunt, Lady Coxon, an American who married a Brit; and George Gravener, a British intellectual with a future in politics who becomes engaged to Ms. Anvoy. The story revolves around the dispersal of The Coxon Fund, a sum of money left by Ms. Anvoy’s father with the stipulation that is be given to a great man to publish and pursue moral truth.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .of what was irritating in the narrowness of that lady's point of view? "Mrs. Saltram," I explained, "undervalues him where he's strongest, so that, to make up for it perhaps, she overpraises him where he's weak. He's not, assuredly, superficially attractive; he's middle- aged, fat, featureless save for his great eyes."

"Yes, his great eyes," said my young lady attentively. She had evidently heard all about his great eyes—the beaux yeux for which alone we had really done it all.

"They're tragic and splendid—lights on a dangerous coast. But he moves badly and dresses worse, and altogether he's anything but smart."

My companion, who appeared to reflect on this, after a moment appealed. "Do you call him a real gentleman?"

I started slightly at the question, for I had a sense of recognising it: George Gravener, years before, that first flushed night, had put me face to face with it. It had. . . Read More

Community Reviews

There is no real pleasant way of saying this, but I could have done without ever reading this novella. I just could not connect with the story about a con-artist even thought I liked the writing style.

An odd choice for Melville House to drag out of irrelevance: James has oodles of novella length short stories that they could have made available. The Coxon Fund might be good for teaching, I guess. It would allow Professor (e.g.) Evans to yammer on about the relationship between money and the li...more

A young, attractive and very wealthy woman is touring England. She meets and falls in love with an Englishman… what could be more beautiful? What could possibly go wrong? Henry James has the uncanny ability to produce a very engrossing story in a relatively short literary work. When a financial c...more

En "El fondo Coxon", Henry James examina uno de sus temas predilectos: el papel del artista en la sociedad. Para ello, cuenta la historia de un «genio» que, al parecer, es incapaz de conseguir sustento por sí mismo. El señor Saltram, un conversador brillante y gran intelectual, se ha convertido e...more

This beautifully packaged series of classic novellas includes the works of Anton Chekhov, Colette, Henry James, Herman Melville, and Leo Tolstoy. These collectible editions are the first single-volume publications of these classic tales, offering a closer look at this underappreciated literary fo...more

I read this ditty immediately after finishing a book of obscure, previously unknown short stories from a young Henry James. The Coxon Fun was written long after. While he's more seasoned at the craft of composing his scene and threshing out some characters, his themes remain: class (calculated, c...more

Sort of comedy of social mores? Very dense prose with occasional wicked perceptions e.g. “She often appeared at my chambers to talk over his lapses; for if, as she declared, she had washed her hands of him, she had carefully preserved the water of this ablution, which she handed about for analysi...more