On New York City's Washington Square lives Catherine Sloper, a shy and plain-looking young woman who is tyrannized by her wealthy, overbearing father. When young Morris Townsend begins to court her, Dr. Sloper, distrusting his motives, threatens to disinherit Catherine. In accordance with her father's suspicions, young Townsend disappears, leaving Catherine to humiliation, heartache, and lonely spinsterhood.
First published in 1893, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets is the first published fiction work of American author Stephen Crane. A harrowing depiction of a pretty young girl's life in the slums of turn-of-the-century New York City and her eventual decline into prostitution, Crane's novel is a starkly realistic examination of poverty and the challenges brought about by the rapid industrialization the United States underwent in the late 1800s.
There may never have been a novel written about love and loss with more irony of poetry than Ethan Frome. Written almost exclusively in flashback, Ethan Frome has continued to draw attention and accolades since its publication in 1911 by famed writer Edith Wharton. When we are introduced to the novel's protagonist, we discover that he is married yet inconveniently in love with his wife's cousin, who is spending time with the family to help care for Ethan's sick wife.
When Isabel Archer, a beautiful, spirited American, is brought to Europe by her wealthy aunt Touchett, it is expected that she will soon marry. But Isabel, resolved to enjoy the freedom that her fortune has opened up and to determine her own fate, does not hesitate to turn down two eligible suitors. It is only when she finds herself irresistibly drawn to the cultivated but worthless Gilbert Osmond that she discovers that wealth is a two-edged sword and that there is a price to be paid for independence.
"An American Jane Austen"
Countess Olenska, separated from her European husband, returns to old New York society. She bears with her an independence and anawareness of life which stirs the educated sensitivity of Newland Archer, engaged to be married to May Welland.
"Reader is mostly excellent save for a few hitches—"
The Beast in the Jungle is the tale of a man's habitual obsession with himself and his fate.It is is considered one of James' finest short narratives. The story deals with four universal themes: loneliness, fate, love and death. The saga of John Marcher and his peculiar destiny has inspired many readers who have speculated on the worth and meaning of human life.
Beautiful Kate Croy may have been left penniless by her relatives, but her bold, ambitious nature ensures she will not succumb meekly to a life of poverty. If the financial circumstances of Merton Densher, the man she is passionately in love with, are not sufficient to secure her future, perhaps her cunning will.
"great book ruined by performer"
In this classic tale of the death of childhood, there is a savage comedy that owes much to Dickens. But for his portrayal of the child’s capacity for intelligent wonder, James summons all the subtlety he devotes elsewhere to his most celebrated adult protagonists. In the aftermath of an acrimonious divorce, young Maisie Farange finds herself shuttled back and forth between her father and mother and their new spouses, all of whom are monstrously self-involved. Neglected and exploited by everyone around her, Maisie herself becomes a pretext for sexual intrigue when her stepparents become attracted to each other.
The Portrait of a Lady tells the compelling and ultimately tragic tale of a beautiful young American woman's encounter with European sophistication. Set principally in England and Italy, the story follows Isabel Archer's fortunes as a variety of admirers vie for her hand. Her choice will be crucial, and she is not wanting for advice, whether from the generous-spirited Ralph Touchett or the charming Madame Merle.
In Madame Bovary, one of the great novels of 19th-century France, Flaubert draws a deeply felt and sympathetic portrait of a woman who, having married a country doctor and found herself unhappy with a rural, genteel existence, longs for love and excitement. However, her aspirations and her desires to escape only bring her further disappointment and eventually lead to unexpected, painful consequences. Flaubert’s critical portrait of bourgeois provincial life remains as powerful as ever
"Excellent narrator, beautiful writing"
Here is Henry James' dark comedic masterpiece, written in the final period of his life. Lambert Strether goes to Paris to bring back Chad, son of the wealthy New England widow he plans to marry. But he gradually comes to feel that life in Paris may hold more for him than in Woollett, Massachusetts.
"A very problematic reading"
From Boston's social underworld emerges Verena Tarrant, a girl with extraordinary oratorical gifts, which she deploys in tawdry meeting-houses on behalf of "the sisterhood of women." She acquires two admirers of a very different stamp: Olive Chancellor, devotee of radical causes and marked out for tragedy; and Basil Ransom, a veteran of the Civil War who holds rigid views concerning society and women's place therein. Is the lovely, lighthearted Verena made for public movements or private passions?
Academy Award, Golden Globe, and Emmy winner Emma Thompson lends her immense talent and experienced voice to Henry James' Gothic ghost tale, The Turn of the Screw. When a governess is hired to care for two children at a British country estate, she begins to sense an otherworldly presence around the grounds. Are they really ghosts she's seeing? Or is something far more sinister at work?
"Great, but Mightn't be the Best on Audible"
Sister Carrie is an epic of urban life, the story of an innocent heroine adrift in an indifferent city. When small-town girl Carrie Meeber sets out for Chicago, she is equipped with nothing but a few dollars, a certain unspoiled beauty and charm, and a pitiful lack of preparation for the complex moral choices she will face. Her story is one of struggle, from sweatshop to stage success, and of the love she inspires in a married man twice her age, whose obsession with her threatens to destroy him.
Lucy Honeychurch and her older cousin, Miss Bartlett, tour Italy in the springtime. However, the pension they are staying at may as well be in London. The proprietress speaks a London cockney, the meat is overdone, and their windows give them a view of dirty alleys. However, when the socially clumsy Mr. Emerson offer to exchange rooms, this does anything but remedy the situation. You see, nobody knows what to make of the Emersons. It's so hard to know how to respond to people who speak the truth.
"very good read"
Published in 1904, The Golden Bowl is the last completed novel of Henry James. In it, the widowed American Adam Verver is in Europe with his daughter Maggie. They are rich, finely appreciative of European art and culture, and deeply attached to each other. Maggie has all the innocent charm of so many of Jamess young American heroines. She is engaged to Amerigo, an impoverished Italian prince; he must marry money, and as his name suggests, an American heiress is the perfect solution.
"Collapses under the weight of its own brilliance"
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s pseudo- autobiographical first novel. It describes life at Princeton among the glittering, bored, and disillusioned “lost generation” of post World War1 America. Published in 1920, when he was just 23, the novel was an overnight success and propelled Fitzgerald to instant stardom as spokesman of the Jazz Age.
Ray Bradbury’s moving recollection of a vanished golden era remains one of his most enchanting novels. Dandelion Wine stands out in the Bradbury literary canon as the author’s most deeply personal work, a semiautobiographical recollection of a magical small-town summer in 1928.
"Fears and Glories of Childhood"
Daisy Miller is one of Henry James' most haunting characters. In this reading, Mullen brings her to life in all her innocent playfulness and melancholic yearning.
Public Domain (P)2012 Wendy Ellison Mullen
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