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The Lesson of the Master

Henry James

Book Overview: 

A promising young writer meets an older man whose works have inspired him, as well as a highly intelligent and attractive young woman, at a gathering in a country house. Anxious to learn all he can from the older writer, the young man seeks his views not only about art, but also the way in which a serious artist should live. By the end of the work, he has indeed learned his lessons, albeit not quite those that he was expecting. It's not giving anything away to say that this work bears some resemblance to James's later novel, The Ambassadors, which in many ways engages the same questions.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .ow him—he wants so to talk to you,” returned Miss Fancourt, who evidently had the habit of saying the things that, by her quick calculation, would give people pleasure.  Paul saw how she would always calculate on everything’s being simple between others.

“I shouldn’t have supposed he knew anything about me,” he professed.

“He does then—everything.  And if he didn’t I should be able to tell him.”

“To tell him everything?” our friend smiled.

“You talk just like the people in your book!” she answered.

“Then they must all talk alike.”

She thought a moment, not a bit disconcerted.  “Well, it must be so difficult.  Mr. St. George tells me it is—terribly.  I’ve tried too—and I find it so.  I’ve tried to write a novel.”

“Mr. St. George oughtn’t to discourage . . . Read More

Community Reviews

"So, MFA class, what did you think of this?"
"Well, I don't like how he starts it. I mean, we don't really get to know Paul Overt very much, right, and those first few sentences are just so confusing. I mean, who is this guy? Why should I care about him?"
"This strikes me as a bit, I don't know, it's

This was my introduction to Henry James and certainly the beginning of a long relationship. The balance of ornate prose, confident narrative structure, and lovely empathy for his characters makes this one of the best pieces of fiction I have ever read. The plot is important, and it drives the work f

Como no podía ser de otra forma, Henry James nos da una lección magistral con su literatura. En este libro corto, nos deja bien claro como sabe más el diablo por viejo que por diablo, de un modo sutil y con la elegancia que siempre va implícita en sus letras. Sin duda un 5/5 y porque no hay más.

عملٌ عظيم عظيم عظيم!
كتاب صغير وخفيف ولكن الدرس الذي بين دفتّيه بالغ الفداحة!
من الأعمال الرائعة التي تتناول الفن والأدب والفنّان والإنسان والمجتمع والحياة وانسجام كل هذه "المُتضادات" -حسب نظرة سانت جورج- في قالبٍ بالغ الشفافية والغموض في ذات الوقت.

أما عن الترجمة، ماذا عساي أن أقول؟ لا أستطيع أن أتخي

رائع بحق ، وماأدهشني تنسيقه للأحداث فيما يشدّني على مهل ليصنع دهشة في اللحظات الأخيرة على غير توقع ، نوع جديد من الكتب ، سحر يتوغّل فيك بصمت، ستتابع وتضع الكتاب جانباً مرة ، و تشعر بالضجر مرة، لأنّ التفاصيل لم تظهر لك وجه الحكاية بعد ، ولا شيء استثنائي، ولكنّك مشدود مع ذلك و لا تدري كيف و لماذا ، يس

Un racconto magistrale per James, tagliente e di grande effetto.
Una lezione che il nostro giovane protagonista difficilmente dimenticherà perché brucia a fuoco sulla sua pelle.
Trovo che James nei racconti più o meno lunghi abbia una forza e un’incisività che annichilisce. Fa rimanere il lettore pi

Henry James, uno dei miei scrittori preferiti, si spense a Londra nel 1916. Quest’anno ricorrono i cento anni dalla morte, e l’Adelphi l’ha omaggiato (avrebbero dovuto farlo in realtà altre case editrici) con la pubblicazione di uno dei suoi racconti più belli: The Lesson of the Master(La lezione de

This is a question, not an answer, and it is a good question to think upon, everyone coming to their own decision.
While James uses this story to discuss the age-old maxim of "the artist should be hungry," there's no need to take the opinions of his fictional heroes for his own. Don't we know that St

Un colpo di stiletto

Perfido, meraviglioso, Henry James.
Nonostante il finale sia prevedibile e non giunga inatteso, nonostante il rapporto fra i due scrittori protagonisti della novella - il giovane promettente Paul Overt e l'affermato Henry St. George - li ponga a confronto e da subito in antitesi s

Woman the Domesticator is the downfall of Man the Artist. try as he may, his anger and his insight and his vision, his credibility and his entire artistic sensibility will be degraded until he is a mere shadow of his once rigorous self. wife and children and safe, happy home shall all participate in

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