Searching for: "Nicholas Clifford"

  • William Dean Howells

    A charming brief account of a two months' autumnal stay on the shores of the Lake of Geneva. Howells, who was there with his family traveling from England to Italy, has a sharp eye not only for scenery and architecture, but for people and customs, both Swiss and foreign. (Summary by Nicholas...read more

  • Anthony Trollope

    Doctor Thorne is the third of Trollope's Barsetshire novels, and unlike some of the others, has little to do with the politics and personalities of the Church of England, or politics on the national level (though there is lots of politicking in the mythical county of Barsetshire itself). The plot revolves around the illegitimate Mary Thorne, who has been lovingly raised by her uncle, a country doctor, and who, as she comes of age, finds herself wondering whether she is a lady (in the county sense of the term). Frank Gresham, son of the squire of Greshamsbury, is in love with her (much against the wishes of his noble de Courcy relatives at the Castle), but she dismisses his affection at...read more

  • Henry James

    "Levity" is not a word often applied to Henry James, but this story has about it an attractively lighthearted quality. It tells of Peter Baron, a poor, young struggling writer of adequate, if not transcendent, talent, who lives in a dreary London boarding house inhabited also by a mysteriously clairvoyant and beautiful young widow, with her small boy. When Baron buys himself a second-hand writing desk to stimulate the creative juices, he finds carefully hidden within it a cache of letters that appear to compromise a recently deceased statesman. The discovery and his struggle to handle the questions they pose ultimately change his life. Along the way he also discovers, as a fringe benefit, a...read more

  • Henry James

    The story ostensibly concerns a young literary critics who greatly admirs the writer Hugh Vereker. A meeting with Vereker, however, shows him that he - and all other critics - have in fact missed the great point of Verreker's work, and the critic (and his editor) thereupon devote themselves to trying to unravel the mystery. James's story, however, almost certainly has an autobiographical side to it, perhaps itself criticizing those critics who couldn't see, or wouldn't see, the figures lost in the carpet of his own writing. (Summary by Nicholas...read more

  • Henry James

    Pemberton, a young American with an Oxford education and out of money, takes a job tutoring Morgan Moreen, the 12-year old son of an American couple living in Europe in a style not quite matched by their income. Mr. and Mrs. Moreen's main purpose in life, it appears, is to win acceptance in the higher circles of French and Italian society, partly in the hope that Morgan's two elder sisters will be taken off their hands. Morgan, who is highly intelligent, is also precocious and perceptive enough to come to understand his parents' ambitious aimlessness. Something of a crisis develops when the Moreens fail to make good on the salary they've promised Pemberton, and he leaves, needing a steady...read more

  • Henry James

    The recently widowed Adela Gereth, a lover of beauty and passionate collector of fine objects, strikes up a friendship with the young Fleda Vetch, when both of them find themselves guests in the tasteless house of Brigstock family. Mrs. Gereth fears that her son Owen, an honorable but somewhat unimaginative young man, may take up with one of the Brigstock girls, and indeed he presently announces his engagement to Mona, the eldest daughter. That means that Mrs. Gereth will have to leave Poynton, the beautiful house that she and her husband filled with the furniture, china, tapestries, and other objects that they lovingly collected over the years. It is not so much possessiveness that drives...read more

  • Henry James

    Today the world is awash with "celebrities" whose only accomplishment is being celebrated by the media in all its various forms. Henry James, of course, long pre-dates the multiplicity of media in today's world, when the press was the main source of adulation, and he was famously averse to giving newspaper interviews himself. For those interested in the sources of celebrity worship, however, his story, "The Papers," showing how two aspiring London journalists worked with those who were famous simply for being famous, helps to give some idea of how such worship was practiced a century ago. (Nicholas...read more

  • Henry James

    Rich and beautiful American girls heading to England to find themselves noble titles through marriage, and using their New World wealth to prop up the waning strength of the aristocracy, was almost a staple of late Victorian literature. "The Buccaneers," Edith Wharton called them, and their day is not over yet (think of Downton Abbey's Earl of Grantham, and his American heiress countess). In Lady Barbarina, however, Henry James explores the obverse of this old tale: what if the wealth is in the hands of an American man, in love with the beautiful daughter of an old and titled (but no longer so very rich) family? Legal marital settlements, common in England, less so in America, can be a...read more

  • Benjamin Disraeli

    Sybil is one of the most prominent political novels of the mid-nineteenth century, taking as its subject the "condition of England" question. That phrase was first used by Thomas Carlyle in an essay of 1839 on Chartism, a working-class protest movement that plays a prominent role in this novel. The two nations are the rich and the poor, and the increasing gulf between them, and their condition also inspired such writers as Charles Dickens and Mrs. Gaskell, among others (one of whom, Friederich Engels, was the disciple of Karl Marx, and in his The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844 described the appalling effects of the industrial revolution a year before Sybil...read more

  • William Dean Howells

    Howell's novel is set in New York of the late nineteenth century, a city familiar to readers of Edith Wharton and Henry James. Basil March, a businessman from Boston of a literary bent, moves with his family to New York to edit a new journal founded by an acquaintance. Its financial support, however, comes from a Mr. Dryfoos, a Pennsylvania Dutch farmer suddenly become millionaire by the discovery of natural gas on his property, and now living in New York with his family in a style he hopes will befit his new wealth. Is it his new fortune that presents a hazard? Or is it the new wealth of New York City in the Gilded Age? Both March and his literary creator are increasingly aware of some of...read more

  • Thomas Babington Macaulay

    Macaulay's review essay on Frederick the Great of Prussia is found in vol. iii of his Critical and Historical Essays, and concentrates primarily on the ways in which he built Prussia up into a major military power. Though it's impossible to read the essay without thinking ahead to the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 and the two world wars of the twentieth century, Macaulay of course only carries Frederick roughly up to the end of the Seven Years War (1763). ( Nicholas...read more

  • Henry James

    A promising young writer meets an older man whose works have inspired him, as well as a highly intelligent and attractive young woman, at a gathering in a country house. Anxious to learn all he can from the older writer, the young man seeks his views not only about art, but also the way in which a serious artist should live. By the end of the work, he has indeed learned his lessons, albeit not quite those that he was expecting. It's not giving anything away to say that this work bears some resemblance to James's later novel, The Ambassadors, which in many ways engages the same questions. (Summary by Nicholas...read more

  • Henry James

    Neither the name of Shakespeare nor that of Stratford appears directly in this short piece by James, and yet both are absolutely central to his plot. The story has to do with Mr. and Mrs. Gedge, tempted away from a dreary northern town library, which he runs, to become the wardens – caretakers and tour guides – of the house where the greatest writer of the English language was born, and in which he grew up. Or did he? There is, after all, a paucity of facts about His life (in James's text, that pronoun is always capitalized, as befits a deity) and only the slenderest of historical evidence about the existence of such a man. No matter; what is important is the myth of his life, and the...read more

  • Henry James

    What is a young man to do, when because of his pleasant disposition, and (of course) his considerable wealth, he finds himself besieged by bevies of eligible young women, some beautiful, some less so (some, even, his own cousins)? How on earth is he to protect himself from their onslaught and that of their mothers? - Summary by Nicholas...read more

  • Henry James

    What on earth is a girl to do when London society has convicted her mother of a dreadful sin and has ostracized her? If blood is thicker than water, and the daughter remains loyal to her erring parent, how far will affect her own standing in society (and most important, of course) in the marriage market that is controlled by that society? This is the problem facing Rose Tramore and it will take all her charm -- and perseverance -- to solve it. (Nicholas...read more

  • Henry James

    Another Jamesian look at Americans in Paris. What happens when a reporter for an American scandal sheet (The Reverberator) is looking for a good story, though one which might interfere with the marriage plans of a young American woman in the City of Light? This book has been described as "a delicious Parisian bonbon," and its generally good humor stands in contrast with some of the writer's other work. (Summary by Nicholas...read more

  • Max Beerbohm

    In order to liven up the literary history of Great Britain in the 1890s (as if Oscar Wilde, Stevenson, Kipling, Hardy, etc., were not lively enough) Max Beerbohm wrote short biographies of six imaginary writers. Though their works of course no longer exist, he leaves the impression that the literary world is really none the poorer. It is, of course, the six men themselves (Beerbohm himself is the seventh man of the title) who are worth our attention. ( Nicholas Clifford) Note that the Gutenberg edition of Seven Men is incomplete, but the missing sections may be found separately James Pethel http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/759 E.V. Laider...read more

  • Thomas Babington Macaulay

    "Warren Hastings" is Chapter IV of Thomas Macaulay's Critical and Historical Essays, vol. III. It first appeared in the Edinburgh Review of October 1841 as a review of Memoirs of the Life of Warren Hastings, first Governor-General of Bengal. Compiled from Original Papers, by the Rev. G. R. Gleig, M. A. 3 vols. 8vo. London: 1841. This essay on is generally considered to be one of the finest by the great historian and great literary stylist, Thomas Babington Macalay. Macaulay himself served in India from 1834 to 1838, and as a Whig and a believer in progress in the nineteenth century sense, he urged that Indians be trained in useful knowledge -- western, that is, and particularly British...read more

  • Henry James

    Henry James wrote a number of ghost stories -- The Turn of the Screw being the most famous. Did he believe in ghosts himself, as did many of his contemporaries? It's generally possible to find earthly interpretations, Freudian and other, for his ghosts. Sir Edmund Orme, though, is unquestionably a real ghost -- except of course that James's unnamed narrator tells the story in the voice of yet a third man, and the narrator himself passes no judgments on the factual nature of what he is reporting (there's a resemblance here to The Turn of the Screw). The story has to do with two love affairs in two generations, and Sir Edmund, real or imagined, plays a role in each. In the end, then, it's...read more

  • R. Austin Freeman

    A young doctor, former student of the legal and medical expert Dr. John Thorndyke, finds himself almost accidentally drawn into a case in which a man has vanished. Perhaps he has died; perhaps not;but the issue is very important because the will that he has left behind is curiously -- annoyingly curiously -- worded. Fortunately, Dr. Thorndyke's rationality combined with his forensic skills, bring the case to a conclusion, while the young doctor meets the love of his life in the Egyptian rooms of the British Museum. ( Nicholas...read more