Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Americans Are Disobeying

I continue to read Henry James' The Ambassadors. I used to read much more quickly when I was younger. I've been with this book (a mere 320ish pages) for weeks now. But I am still with it, and I'm still enjoying the novel.

Alas for the protagonist, Lewis Strether, though. The Pococks from Woollett, Massachusetts (Jim, Sarah and Mamie) have arrived to drag young Chad back to America, Stether having been judged useless at the task. He's spent months in Paris, it's true, and he's lost all interest in doing the bidding of his financee (and patroness), Mrs Newsome. So the trio of Woollettites have arrived in Paris and none of them are behaving themselves. Jim could care less what happens with Chad as long as he personally has a good time in the City of Lights. Jim's wife Sarah appears to have become taken with Strether's friend Waymarsh. Shame, Sarah Pocock. Mamie Pocock, the young woman who is intended to be the future bride of Chad Newsome, is apparently coming under the sway of an American expatriate artist called Bilham. Mamie and Sarah have worked quickly, I must say. Mrs Newsome would be quite put out by all of this frufrura. She didn't send her daughter and inlaws to Paris in order that they amuse themselves and engage in foreign infidelities. No, she did not. Meanwhile, the French contingent who desire Chad to remain in Europe are making strategic errors and are running a bit panicked. Lewis Strether sees the danger but is being pushed out of the circle of people able to influence matters. Oh, it's a shambles. When it all falls apart for everyone, I won't feel sorry for anyone.


  1. Published to the wrong blog by accident, didn't you?

    I did that once, posting to The Public Query Slushpile about my challenges meeting my wife's request that I grow a beard. Much better suited for My Daley Rant than the Slushpile ;-)

  2. Yeah, I hate blogger's dashboard. Or it hates me. Either way, we don't get along.

    I'm going to post at the Lab about Henry James growing a beard. Tomorrow. See if I don't.