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The Bostonians (1886)

de Henry James

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2,761295,266 (3.56)1 / 133
Classic Literature. Fiction. Literature. 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? A struggle to possess her, body and soul, develops between Olive and Basil. The exploitation of Verena's unregenerate innocence reflects a society whose moral and cultural values are failing to survive the new dawn of liberalism and democracy. When it was first published in 1886, The Bostonians was not welcomed by Henry James's fellow countrymen, who failed to appreciate its delicacy and wit. But over a century later, this book is widely regarded as James's finest American fiction and perhaps his comic masterpiece.… (mais)
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 Club Read 2023: Victorian Era Abroad: Q1: The Bostonians by Henry James20 por ler / 20booksaplenty1949, Fevereiro 2023

» Veja também 133 menções

Inglês (26)  Holandês (1)  Espanhol (1)  Italiano (1)  Todos os idiomas (29)
Mostrando 1-5 de 29 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Here's what I wrote after reading in 1988: "It is to be feared that with the union, so far from brilliant, into which she was about to enter, these were not the last (tears) she was destined to shed." Wirtten in 1885, Henry James' study of "the situation of women, the decline of the sentiment of sex, the agitation on their behalf". WIth characters Verena Tarrant, Olive Chancellor and Basil Ransom, James creates a love triangle of sorts. Olive attemps to, and nearly succeeds at, leashing Verena to a public life of speaking on behalf of feminism. Basil attempts to, and cruelly succeeds at, leashing Verena to a private life of wifely cares and responsibilities." This is another I don't recall reading. ( )
  MGADMJK | Feb 24, 2022 |
The Bostonians is a novel of manners. We can appreciate is much more pleasurably when taking the role as observers than when trying to analyze of explain the characters. While the 1820s - 1840s are traditionally described as the hey-day of the American reform movement, culminating with the triumph of the abolitionist movement at the end of the Civil War, the reform movement picked up unabated after the Civil War with idealists striving for women's rights, both voting and emancipation, the abolition of tobacco use, vegetarianism, health reform, homeopathic medicine, and pacifism among others. Henry James describes Boston as the city where this activism thrived in the circuit of lectures, together with lectures by quacks, cranks, faddists, and “do-gooders". The best part of Book 1, running well over 80 pages is all devoted to describing a single event like that, where the reader is taken on a tour observing speakers and attendants on an evening.

This type of environment exists up until the day of today: magical healers, homeopaths, veganists, religious fanatics, environmental activists: and the three characters as embodied in The Bostonians are also still found in the same scene: Olive Chancellor as the establishment within a movement but possible with a hidden agenda, some personal interest, Verena Tarrant, the child who grew up within the movement, lacking critical judgement, and Basil Ransom, the common-sense skeptic.

While the scene itself is described to make it amusing, neither pro nor contra, the substance of the novel focuses on the competition for Verena's heart. ( )
  edwinbcn | Jan 3, 2022 |
First off one minor quibble. This has THE worst use of chapters i've ever seen! I mean almost every chapter felt like it was starting in mid-sentence. Chapters are supposed to distinguish particular scenes but the chapter ends in this all felt like they were in the wrong places.
Social satire/drama romance thing... i don't really know how to characterize it properly. Set amongst the Suffragette movement in America and with some battle-of-the-sexes goings on.
Its VERY well written with a nice way of painting people and places. I'm not going to say whether it was depressing or uplifting as this might spoil it, suffice to say which ever one it was it did so to an extreme degree.
The authors slow burn writing style became quite annoying later but that was due to how compelling the story was and how desperately i wanted to know what was going to happen. ( )
  wreade1872 | Nov 28, 2021 |
The part where Olive literally buys Verena from her father, for use in the cause of emancipating women, showed me a quite startling sense of humor on the part of the author.
  jjmiller50fiction | Apr 18, 2020 |
Read this in the 1970s, and remembered liking it. This time around, I read it with a more critical eye. First thing I realize it that this book was published first in serial form, which explains how the story, which is really very simple, just goes on and on. You see how James is making fun of feminists, Boston spinsters, and post-Reconstruction southerners. But the mystery is: why is anyone so taken with Verena? Because she's such a beautiful vessel into which others can pour their thoughts and opinions, I guess. The way Basil Ransom pursues Verena is improbable, but the outcome is not, I expect, even today. It just would have made a better short story. I think if I were going to reread Henry James, whose work I very much liked, overall, I might have picked a better book to start with. I guess I'm just partial to anything having to do with Boston. ( )
  fromthecomfychair | Apr 11, 2020 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 29 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Set in the period after the Civil War, among the abolitionists, who are now—it's 1875—turning their energies to the emancipation of women, it's a wonderful, teeming novel, with darting perceptions. It's perhaps the most American of James's novels—not just because it is set here but because all the characters are Americans, and because Boston, with its quacks and mystics, its moral seriousness and its dowdiness, is contrasted with New York's frivolous "society" and the South's conservatism...

It's the liveliest of his novels, maybe because it has sex right there at the center, and so it's crazier—riskier, less controlled, less gentlemanly—than his other books. He himself seems to be pulled about, identifying with some of the characters and then rejecting them for others. I think it is by far the best novel in English about what at that time was called "the woman question," and it must certainly be the best novel in the language about the cold anger that the issue of equal rights for women can stir in a man. I first read the book when I was in my early twenties, and it was like reading advance descriptions of battles I knew at first hand; rereading it, some forty years later, I found it a marvelous, anticipatory look at issues that are more out in the open now but still unresolved.
adicionado por SnootyBaronet | editarThe New Yorker, Pauline Kael
 

» Adicionar outros autores (41 possíveis)

Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Henry Jamesautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Anderson, Charles RobertsEditorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Butler, ChristopherIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Byatt, A.S.Introduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Lansdown, RichardEditorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Rodgers, ElisabethNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Le bostoniane possiede la crudele, paurosa bellezza della verità.
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Classic Literature. Fiction. Literature. 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? A struggle to possess her, body and soul, develops between Olive and Basil. The exploitation of Verena's unregenerate innocence reflects a society whose moral and cultural values are failing to survive the new dawn of liberalism and democracy. When it was first published in 1886, The Bostonians was not welcomed by Henry James's fellow countrymen, who failed to appreciate its delicacy and wit. But over a century later, this book is widely regarded as James's finest American fiction and perhaps his comic masterpiece.

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