Monday, 27 July 2020

James, Henry "The Europeans"

James, Henry "The Europeans" - 1878

I think I just expect too much from Henry James. I want him to be the American Charles Dickens. He is not. He is, however, quite good at describing the difference between the United States of America and Europe at the time. Especially that of the higher part of the society.

I did like the conversations and the reflections about the different lives in the two countries.

Like all books by Henry James, too short! That makes it a wonderful start for someone who isn't too keen on classics, though. I still want to read more by this author because he gives us an insight into a world that is long gone. Or is it?

From the back cover:

"This light-hearted masterpiece tells of the influence Eugenia and her brother Felix exert on their Bostonian cousins when they visit the New World.

In the hope of making a wealthy marriage, Eugenia, the Baroness Münster, and her younger brother, the artist Felix, descend on the Wentworths, in Boston. Installed in a nearby house, they become close friends with the younger Wentworths - Gertrude, Charlotte and Clifford.

Eugenia's wit, guile and sophistication, and Felix's debonair vivacity from an uneasy alliance with the Puritan morality and the frugal, domestic virtues of the Americans. A rich and delicately balanced comedy of manners, The Europeans weighs the values of the established order against those of New England society, but makes no simple judgements, only subtle contrasts and beautifully observed comparisons."


  1. The only book I have read by Henry James is Daisy Miller. I read that because it was one of the four books featured in Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azir Nafisi. Just last week, as I was reading a biography of James Baldwin, I learned that Henry James was an author Baldwin esteemed and learned much about writing from him. Which is your favorite book by Henry James?

    1. That's a tough question to answer. He usually writes about Americans coming to Europe or Europeans coming to America and the clash between the two cultures (nothing seems to have changed there. I have only read three of his books and there wasn't one that I would say was worse but I think I liked them all the same.

      I will read more books by him, that's for sure.