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The Outcry

Henry James

Book Overview: 

The story concerns the contemplated sale of a famous painting by a proud but relatively cash-strapped British aristocrat to a wealthy American art collector who is bent on buying up treasured masterpieces from the Old World, and the patriotic outcry after the public gets wind of his intent. The matter is further complicated by the strong resistance put up by his younger daughter and her blunt-spoken, art critic friend against the sale.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .sitor with a kindness strained clear of urgency. "Will you also come?"

He confessed to a difficulty—which his whole face begged her also to take account of. "I hoped you'd be at leisure—for something I've so at heart!"

This had its effect; she took a rapid decision and turned persuasively to Crimble—for whom, in like manner, there must have been something in her face. "Let Mr. Bender himself then show you. And there are things in the library too."

"Oh yes, there are things in the library." Lord John, happy in his gained advantage and addressing Hugh from the strong ground of an initiation already complete, quite sped him on the way.

Hugh clearly made no attempt to veil the penetration with which he was moved to look from one of these counsellors to the other, though with a ready "Thank-you!" for Lady Grace he the next instant started in pursuit of Mr. Bender.





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Community Reviews

I’m fond of this novel but if this novel were twice as long I think it would be better.

The Outcry is James’s last, and slight, novel. Adapted from a play, never performed, it bristles with uppercrust dialogues from England at the turn of the prior century. As usual, it touches on James’s preferred subject of transatlantic clash of cultures and here focuses on art as national herita...more

Compared to other late James novels, this one is like a Lee Child novel in its pace and entertainment value! Likely in part because it was first conceived as a play.

2.5

The Outcry disappointed me, this is Henry James's weakest work. Chapter VII is probably the most accomplished chapter. I didn't particularly enjoy earlier chapters as they felt disjointed. My advice to all readers is to read the introduction carefully before starting to read The Outcry.

James's last completed novel published during his lifetime is actually one more attempt by him to convert an unsuccessful play into prose. None of these attempts by James are very successful or satisfying; they lack the imagination and scope of his more ambitious and crafted novels. Why he though...more

“Il più sorprendente e divertente dei romanzi di Henry James” riporta la copertina della Fazi Editore, citando a sua volta come fonte la New York Review of Books. Onestamente, tutto questo divertimento non l’ho colto. C’è di sicuro tanto umorismo, equamente distribuito tra l’americano desideroso...more

Risulta evidente da subito che il romanzo e' frutto di un riadattamento da quella che era pensata per essere un'opera teatrale .. i dialoghi sono il 90 % della narrazione
, scritti in pieno stile vittoriano , Il tutto , poco contornato da intermezzi , descrizioni e avvenimenti , risulta fin troppo...more

"William James made the request to brother Henry: write a new book with no twilight or mustiness in the plot, with great vigor and decisiveness in the action, no fencing in the dialogue, no psychological commentaries, and absolute straightness in the style. He did just that with The Outcry – well...more

James wrote this book, about a wealthy American art collector visiting one of the great treasure houses of Britain hoping to buy a Sir Joshua Reynolds portrait, as a play, scheduled to premiere in the same season as works by J.M. Barrie, G.B. Shaw, Somerset Maugham, and John Galsworthy. When Edwa...more

Back in 1909 Henry James had planned this as a play, which it never became. *

He had tried to become a successful playwright on the London stages since the 1890s (although being contemporary to Oscar Wilde didn't help, as Guy Domville was simply swept aside by The Importance of Being Earnest), had...more

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