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The Aspern Papers | [Henry James]

The Aspern Papers

The Aspern Papers, one of Henry James best-known shorter works, is based on a story he heard about a collector of Shelley's manuscripts who attempted to acquire valuable letters from a mysterious old woman living in Florence. Set in beautiful Venice, James' elegant tale of suspense and romance takes the reader down the canals and inner chambers of a bygone era.
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Publisher's Summary

The Aspern Papers, one of Henry James best-known shorter works, is based on a story he heard about a collector of Shelley's manuscripts who attempted to acquire valuable letters from a mysterious old woman living in Florence. Set in beautiful Venice, James' elegant tale of suspense and romance takes the reader down the canals and inner chambers of a bygone era.

(P)2006 BMA Studios

What the Critics Say

"Epstein's voice fits well with the text....his reading,full of grace and understatement, brings out James' artful portrayal of these characters and puts his perfectly crafted prose in high relief." (AudioFile)
"James did nothing like an Englishman - or an American. He was a great fact in himself, a new world, a terra incognita that he would devote all his days to mapping for the rest of us....James was the master of the novel in English in a way that no one had ever been before; or has ever been since." (Gore Vidal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (31 )
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4.1 (14 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Lois Emeryville, CA, USA 05-03-08
    Lois Emeryville, CA, USA 05-03-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Little Gem"

    Here is Henry James with a little jewel of a story set in Venice. The narrator reads as if he were of the period and the story is told perfectly, with that touch of bemused irony. I enjoyed the audio immensely. Well done.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia Marino Buffalo, NY USA 11-09-09
    Patricia Marino Buffalo, NY USA 11-09-09 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Nice reading"

    The reader of this book has a slightly slow and drawling style that, in my opinion, perfectly fits the story. Beautifully done.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ron New York, NY, United States 11-07-08
    Ron New York, NY, United States 11-07-08 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "One of the great novellas"

    Excellent reading of a James masterpiece. FYI: If you're interested in more about the setting, listen to John Berendt's "City of Falling Angels." He spends time in the Venetian palazzo where James wrote the "The Aspern Papers."

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kerlian Taipei, Taiwan 02-05-10
    Kerlian Taipei, Taiwan 02-05-10 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
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    "wonderful narration"

    This is my first foray into James novel and I am glad I have this
    audiobook to read along. As the story is told from first person narrative, it suits perfectly in audiobook form, and the accompanying music pieces are good too

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Die Falknerin 03-08-13 Member Since 2008

    Painter, musician, bibliophile...

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Fragrant characters"

    Everything I have read from James has stayed with me. He is truly the master of "the fragrant character," who remains long after the book is over. Who can forget Catherine Sloper and her tyrranical father, or the lovely Charlotte Stant? The list goes on and on.

    Here we meet no less memorable characters: two ladies in a crumbling palazzo and an intrepid seeker after what he believes to be truth, in addition to a literary icon who is no less present a character for being long-deceased.

    Epstein's narration captures the spirit of the time and place that is Venice, and the gentle irony of the story's resolution. It is a brilliant examination of all sorts of motivations, by turns sad and comical. It's a short listen by James' standards, and well worth a quiet afternoon.

    Sometimes one is drawn to a book for all the wrong reasons. Once I knew a man just like our protagonist, a man whom we suspected would stop at nothing to collect what related to his idol. When I saw Margaret Tyzack and John Carson in an episode of the old British series "Affairs of the Heart," I meant to read the book. Finally, decades later, I did. Don't you wait so long.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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