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The Wings of the Dove, Volume 1

Henry James

Book Overview: 

The Wings of the Dove represents a very old–or rather a very young–motive; The idea, reduced to its essence, is that of a young person, conscious of a great capacity for life, but early stricken and doomed, condemned to die under short respite, while also enamoured of the world; aware moreover of the condemnation and passionately desiring to “put in” before extinction as many of the finer vibrations as possible, and so achieve, however briefly and brokenly, the sense of having lived.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .They were side by side again in their penny chairs, and Kate had another pause. "Not good enough for her."

"Oh, I see. And that's necessary."

He put it as a truth rather more than as a question; but there had been plenty of truths between them that each had contradicted. Kate, however, let this one sufficiently pass, only saying the next moment: "She has behaved extraordinarily."

"And so have we," Densher declared. "I think, you know, we've been awfully decent."

"For ourselves, for each other, for people in general, yes. But not for her. For her," said Kate, "we've been monstrous. She has been giving us rope. So if she does send for you," the girl repeated, "you must know where you are."

"That I always know. It's where you are that concerns me."

"Well," said Kate after an instant, "her idea of that is what you'll have from her." He gave her a long look, and whatever else people who wouldn't let her alone might h. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Well, I finished it and I didn't even skim one passage, though there were countless sentences that, no matter how many times I read them at whatever angle and no matter how sincere my desire to understand, had absolutely no meaning to them whatsoever. Often this was caused not by subtlety or for sus

Henry James has beautiful people inside of his head, if only his verbal diarrhea didn't get in the way. Dear Jesus, I wish he knew how to write a short sentence.

Henry James is infuriating. His evasiveness is infuriating. His endless digressions, clause upon clause, are infuriating. Deciphering the text requires so much concentration, you'll ultimately feel that, rather than experiencing the story, you're floating along above it. He reinforces that impressio

In Henry James, we rarely if ever have a villain - a real, horrible blackguard character for whom we feel morally adequate enough to pass severe judgment. There are characters with evil intentions, who do evil thing: who lie and undermine the hero or heroine, Mme. Merle and Gilbert Osmond, of The Po

Soooo you guys, I think missed that day in English Lit 101 when we talked about Henry James, because to me he’s always been one of those authors you merely know OF, and who is important in some vague way but you couldn’t possibly say how, who is not really relevant in our 3G world except for the fac

”’The women one meets--what are they but books one has already read/ You’re a whole library of the unknown, the uncut.’ He almost moaned, he ached, from the depth of his content.

‘Upon my word I’ve a subscription.’”

There is a 1997 movie starring Helena Bonham Carter, Linus Roache, and Alison Elliott

My third Henry James, but only the second I managed to complete. He didn't set the world on fire for me with this either, more like a quivering flame. I was hoping for great things, somewhere along the lines of Edith Wharton's brilliant 'The Age of Innocence'. As classic fiction generally goes, it w

‎دوستانِ گرانقدر، این داستان سخن از دوگانگی انسانهاست.. انسانهایی که خوی نیک دارند و انسانهایی که خوی زشت و انگل وار دارند و میخواهند دیگران را پلهٔ پیشرفتِ خود سازند و همچون انگل از میزبان خود بهره ببرند
‎دختری زیبا به نامِ <کیت> در خانهٔ عمهٔ ثروتمندش خانم

This is an extermely rewarding book, though James makes the reader work for it, to be sure. There is the general opacity of his writing (-- though never nearly so difficult as report tells of it --); the often maddening (but, no doubt, deliberate) ambiguity of his pronouns; the artificiality of much


I have been a devotee of Henry James for a while now. But this novel has overflowed me. So far this is the most Jamesian writing I have read. May be The Ambassadors is of the same tone and texture, and I would like to immerse myself in it too.

Anyway, reading this was like li

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