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The Europeans: A sketch (Collection of British authors. Tauchnitz edition)

3.0 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bernhard Tauchnitz; Authorized ed edition (1878)
  • ASIN: B0000EEO4Z
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

Product Description

Review

aHe is as solitary in the history of the novel as Shakespeare in the history of poetry.a
aGraham Greene

?He is as solitary in the history of the novel as Shakespeare in the history of poetry.?
?Graham Greene

"He is as solitary in the history of the novel as Shakespeare in the history of poetry."--Graham Greene

He is as solitary in the history of the novel as Shakespeare in the history of poetry." Graham Greene" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Henry James (1843-1916), American novelist and critic, was an innovator in technique and a distinctive prose stylist. More than any previous writer, James refined the technique of narrating a novel from the point of view of a character, thereby laying the foundations of modern stream-of-consciousness fiction. Among his many acclaimed novels are "The Portrait of a Lady, The Ambassadors, The Golden Bowl, "and "The Wings of the Dove.". --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"The Europeans", dating from 1878, is one of Henry James's early novels, and also one of his shortest. It involves a common theme in James's writing, the differences between the customs and manners of Europe and those of America. The book is essentially a comedy of love and marriage, and shows the influence of Jane Austen, a writer whom James greatly admired. The "Europeans" of the title, the brother and sister Felix Young and Eugenia Munster, are Americans by ancestry, but have lived in Europe since their early childhood, moving from one country to another. The novel describes what happens when they travel to America to meet their cousins, the Wentworth family who live just outside Boston.

When the two siblings arrive, Mr. Wentworth, the widowed patriarch of the family, warns his household that they are to be exposed to "peculiar influences" which will necessitate "a great deal of wisdom and self-control". Together with the young Unitarian minister Mr. Brand, it is Mr. Wentworth, a well-to-do Harvard-educated lawyer, who is the book's main representative of the Puritan tradition of New England. His outlook on life is very different from that of his nephew and niece. Felix, a young artist, describes his uncle as "a tremendously high-toned old fellow; he looks as though he were undergoing martyrdom, not by fire but by freezing". Whereas Felix is gay (in the original sense of that word), carefree and light-hearted, the old man is austere, devout and deeply serious.

The differences between Eugenia and her relatives are perhaps even greater. She is the morganatic wife of a minor German princeling who now wishes to divorce her for political reasons, a situation which Mr. Wentworth regards with some distaste, although he is too polite to say so.
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Format: Paperback
The Europeans was one of James's early books and at 150 pages you cannot expect too many finely developed sub-plots. Instead, what we get is a novel that concentrates all its efforts on exploring the cultural differences between Madame Munster and her brother, upper class expatriate Americans, born and brought up in Europe, and the wealthy American cousins they come to stay with in Boston. The book does not take sides as to which culture is best but elegantly describes the different approaches to life, and to social relations in particular, that come about as a result of being brought up on separate continents. Baroness Munster (the morganatic wife of a German prince) and her artistic younger brother are high on culture, education and the social graces, but low on cash and to an extent trapped by their formal upbringing. The American cousins on the other hand are wealthy and much freer and relaxed with each other socially - men can mix easily with women - and yet are held back by their Puritan background from enjoying the fruits of their labours. So, both have cultural plusses and minuses, and the book illuminates in a delightful manner how each side learns about the other and, in doing so, how they begin to examine and learn about themselves as well. A light but artful novel.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There has long been a comparison perceived between the works of Henry James and Edith Wharton. However this likeness is not particularly evident when it comes to The Europeans, for this is a novella that seems more like an American Jane Austen, written on a three inch by two inch square of ivory with a exuberant whirl of young people all seeming to be lovesick for another member of their circle in this tight microcosm of 19th C society. In those days of course, it was quite normal to be madly in love with and marrying your first cousin - in this modern age, we wouldn't dream of it!
The two Europeans of the title, Felix and Eugenia come to the US looking for their relations and as luck would have it, find them. There is certainly something satisfyingly delicious about the chase for true love, but just when I was expecting everything to fall into place, and each to get their man/woman... there was a little twist at the end, where one does not get their man/woman, souring the cake a little but giving an unexpected dose of a little more interest to this work.
In short - a nice swift enjoyable read, ideal for a long journey.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This edition is certainly not from a "first rate publisher". The typeface is extremely small and the line spacing far too close. Why this should be is a mystery, as there are large margins at the head and foot of each page.

Nor are there any page numbers. This is especially surprising as the foreword claims there is a table of contents, which would be hard to provide without page numbers. So hard, it turns out, that no table of contents is provided, despite the claim.

Look for another edition.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had never read any Henry James before and I selected “The Europeans” because other reviewers on Amazon had commented on the fact that this is a fairly short novel. I enjoyed it and I will definitely be tackling one of James’s longer works in the future.
The story revolves around siblings, Felix Young and his sister Eugenia, Baroness Munster, who were born and brought up in Europe even though their mother was American. It seems that Eugenia’s marriage is not a happy one and there is a possibility she will be released from it. She has clearly come to America in search of something, but she doesn’t really know what it is she seeks. The two arrive in Massachusetts in search of their American relatives and end up staying for a while in a property belonging to their Uncle, a Mr Wentworth. The story charts the process of these two very different branches of the family meeting and getting to know one another. The levels of snobbery on both sides are quite something and confirm what I have long suspected, which is that 19th Century American society was even more strait-laced than the British in the same era. This novel has a gossipy tone that will not be to everyone’s taste and the story itself is a pretty light-weight affair, but I enjoyed it immensely.
The narrative drifts along through some pleasant weather and a few minor intrigues and misunderstandings before twinkling to a halt with a couple of weddings, some disappointment and some more travelling.
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