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The Death of the Lion

Henry James

Book Overview: 

This short novel is a black comedy about fame, manipulation, pretension, and surviving it all. The narrator, a reprehensible and seedy journalist, sets out to interview a minor author, and in his own quest for glory, turns the author into the celebrity of the day. The sudden and untimely death of the author, with his latest work unfinished, presents a troubling dilemma for the narrator, which he resolves with no more conscience than he had when he began his quest.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Thank God, too, you’re not, as you were telling me yesterday, ‘successful.’  If you weren’t a failure what would be the use of trying?  That’s my one reserve on the subject of your recovery—that it makes you ‘score,’ as the newspapers say.  It looks well in the newspapers, and almost anything that does that’s horrible.  ‘We are happy to announce that Mr. Paraday, the celebrated author, is again in the enjoyment of excellent health.’  Somehow I shouldn’t like to see it.”

“You won’t see it; I’m not in the least celebrated—my obscurity protects me.  But couldn’t you bear even to see I was dying or dead?” my host enquired.

“Dead—passe encore; there’s nothing so safe.  One never knows what a living artist may do—one has mourned so many.  However, one must make the worst of it.  You must be as dead. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I read this because I have a copy of a Henry James short stories anthology, and this one came after The Aspern Papers. Perhaps it was inevitable that such a practical reason led to disappointment.

What happens is the rise and fall of a writer, Neil Paraday, whose surname is purposefully and uncom...more

An obscure writer who becomes famous overnight and is literally lionised to death.

James is having fun here, something I have never been able to do when reading this author in the past. I too had fun this time. I like this archly ironic version of James. I like this slyly humourous version of Jame...more

mi primer lectura de Henry James. Texto corto escrito en 1888, describe los últimos dias del escritor Neil Paraday, relatando los sucesos y personas alrededor del famoso escritor; el cual muere sin saber que algunos de esos "fans" le han extraviado su última obra. Y el narrador queda con la etern...more