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am 27. November 1999
I've carried on a love-hate affair with The Wings of the Dove for more than 20 years. In that period of time, I started the novel (the same beautiful little Signet paperback edition) at LEAST 15 times and could never get past page 30 or so. But it kept nagging at me to read it. Last summer, I plowed through its dense prose thicket, and I felt as though I were peering through a glass darkly. Several times I felt like tossing it aside. I've studied Enlish and literature all my life and yet I had one heckuva time with those daunting banks of prose. But I'm glad I read it. It's masterful. Worth all the effort. Those scintillating scenes in Venice. Nothing like them! I just read The Golden Bowl, another difficult but rewarding book. There are astonishing scenes in it, like when the husband of the busy-body watches her in a pensive mood as if she were in the middle of a lake, coming closer. It's just an extraordinary scene! I love early James too, like that perfect jewel of a book, Washington Square. Sometimes, great as the late books are, I really do think they lose something of the wonderful clarity James achieved earlier. There are still a few scenes in Wings and Bowl, for instance, in which I have NO IDEA what James was trying to express. Talk about super subtle! But do make the effort, folks, they're incredible books.
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am 6. Januar 2000
Yes, it's a great novel. Yes the language is rich, the story is subtle, and the psychology is complex. And yet, I didn't like it.
Of course, who am I to review Henry James? Granted, I read more books and watch less television than most of my peers, but still I think I might be too "late Twentieth Century" for this book. Maybe despite my strict avoidance of video games I just can't help detesting the millipede pace of this book. I've never had much affinity for drawing room conversations to begin with, and unlike my father I don't believe that wit must be meted out in tortuous sentences.
But it isn't my background or personal prejudices that make me recoil from "Wings of the Dove". There is something about the deliberate quality of Henry James that bothers me. He knows perfectly well what he's doing with his fat succulent sentences. He won't feed you a meal of lean pork and vegetables. He'll serve you tons of tiny truffles and oil-oozing, crispy skinned duck.
To read "Wings of the Dove" is like encountering a cookbook that decided to include as much of the delicious fatty foods as possible. Of course its a rare meal and quite wonderful in its way. But some how, it made me a little nauseous at the end.
0Kommentar| 2 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 7. Februar 2000
This is the most beautiful novel I have ever read. It is poetic and has a will of its own. You have to have patience with this book - otherwise it won't open up to you. I can only recommand everybody to read it - it will change your life with its beautiful cruelty.
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am 22. Juli 1999
Make no mistake: this is a major novel. It will take everything you've got and then some to get through it. The plotline is simple: who gets to take advantage of a rich dying girl before the others do? But the novel is not about its plot; it's about its language. And what language! It's like trying to swim upstream against prose badly translated out of a dead tongue. Sentences perpetually delaying conclusions and meanings put the reader in the same position as the characters: trapped in amber struggling to get free from their situations. The prose style becomes an affectation one gets past; it's no harder than adjusting to Shakespeare, and easier than Joyce. The language is the true hero of the book, for there's no one else suitable for the position (Milly seems more object than subject as the novel progresses, and is removed for the last third). The chief interest consists largely of what James is going to do next--which viewpoint to take? which episode to develop? All this said, the book does have punch at the end, as characters play their hands and admit to one another and themselves what they won't do.
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am 23. Dezember 2012
Today's readers may need a little time to become immersed in this somewhat stilted way of Victorian Writing, however it is well worth the effort.
Though, the novel's characters live in a time of horses and buggies, their personalities are just as vivid as those one sees today as they maybe wait for a lover jn an airport terminal.
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am 21. Januar 2000
Although the novel drags a bit in the beginning, the development of the characters and relationships between them is essential. In short, the story slowly develops into a brilliant look at the plan devised by two lovers to overcome society's constraints on their marriage. However the true power of the book comes when unexpected feelings arise as the plan is executed.
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am 27. November 1999
I've carried on a love-hate affair with The Wings of the Dove for more than 20 years. In that period of time, I started the novel (the same beautiful little Signet paperback edition) at LEAST 15 times and could never get past page 30 or so. But it kept nagging at me to read it. Last summer, I plowed through its dense prose thicket, and I felt as though I were peering through a glass darkly. Several times I felt like tossing it aside. I've studied Enlish and literature all my life and yet I had one heckuva time with those daunting banks of prose. But I'm glad I read it. It's masterful. Worth all the effort. Those scintillating scenes in Venice. Nothing like them! I just read The Golden Bowl, another difficult but rewarding book. There are astonishing scenes in it, like when the husband of the busy-body watches her in a pensive mood as if she were in the middle of a lake, coming closer. It's just an extraordinary scene! I love early James too, like that perfect jewel of a book, Washington Square. Sometimes, great as the late books are, I really do think they lose something of the wonderful clarity James achieved earlier. There are still a few scenes in Wings and Bowl, for instance, in which I have NO IDEA what James was trying to express. Talk about super subtle! But do make the effort, folks, they're incredible books.
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Jane Campion's interesting and admirable Portrait of a Lady and the forthcoming film of this book have brought new attention to Henry James. I wonder, though, what readers fresh from Jane Austen or Trollope will make of this master of highly-wrought, impenetrable prose.
With a couple of English degrees behind me I find James extremely difficult to read; his convoluted syntax and portentous foreshadowing hover perilously near the verge of self-parody. Think Virginia Woolf wihout the passionate emphasis on transcendence, and with a heavy dose of fin de siecle ennui.
All that said, there are tremendous rewards for those who persevere with James; a cool, uncanny psychological insight that recalls his brother, the hugely influential post-Freudian William; imagery which thanks to its patient exposition is allowed to crystallise into remarkable structures; and an ability to evoke the eerie golden light of Europe and Europeanness that has seldom since been approached, and never equalled.
Henry James' specialty is youth and passion, generally identified with American protestantism, come to grief on the massive, impassive edifice of Catholic Europe. Any New Worlder who has ever been brought up short by a sardonic Continental will know exactly, exactly what he means.
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am 19. März 1998
The master of moral dissection, Henry James, is at his best in this novel from his final period, a period that also includes THE GOLDEN BOWL and THE AMBASSADORS. However, WINGS is probably the most accessible of the three (and, to many, that's a Good Thing!) In this deeply involving novel, James sets up an intriguing premise : two attractive young lovers, Kate Croy and Merton Densher, have everything they would seem to need...except money. Enter American heiress Milly Theale -- young, pretty, aching for life (but mortally ill), and wealthy beyond measure. A plan emerges ... Densher, on a Venetian holiday, will woo Milly and fill her final days with the love she so desperately wants ; and when she's gone, he'll inherit her fortune and embark on a life of luxury with Kate. It seems so logical, so practical, so harmless. Or is it? What if Densher truly falls in love with the dying heiress? In accord with his famous (infamous?) style, Henry James gives us layer upon layer of meaning and analysis as he tells his story, illuminating every angle of this thought-provoking moral minefield. For some, he overdoes it, leaving no room for the reader's own imagination to play -- for others, he's the unsurpassed master of human foibles. What do YOU think? Give WINGS a try : this splendid, searching novel is not to be missed. It's a love story and a suspense story entwined, and well worth the time it takes to absorb.
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am 13. März 1999
In my humble opinion, this is James' best work. It surpasses even "The Ambassadors" and "The Golden Bowl" as well as his more often read, not to say more ubiquitous (since lousy movies from Hollywood seem to have revived interest in the author in a manner he would have found distinctly distasteful), earlier masterpieces, short and long. Shame on The Library of America for stalling out on its republication of James' work before getting to the late achievements. Here is one vote for completion of the canon in the usual estimable LOA volumes.
This is a novel to be savoured and treasured. If you're up to late James (he wrote ghost stories, but he's no Stephen King), read on without hesitation.
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