The Ambassadors - Henry James - Страница 1 из 605


The Ambassadors,
by
Henry James.
New York Edition (1909).
Volume I
Preface
Nothing is more easy than to state the subject of "The Ambassadors,"
which first appeared in twelve numbers of _The North American Review_
(1903) and was published as a whole the same year. The situation
involved is gathered up betimes, that is in the second chapter of Book
Fifth, for the reader's benefit, into as few words as possible--planted
or "sunk," stiffly and saliently, in the centre of the current, almost
perhaps to the obstruction of traffic. Never can a composition of this
sort have sprung straighter from a dropped grain of suggestion, and
never can that grain, developed, overgrown and smothered, have yet
lurked more in the mass as an independent particle. The whole case, in
fine, is in Lambert Strether's irrepressible outbreak to little Bilham
on the Sunday afternoon in Gloriani's garden, the candour with which he
yields, for his young friend's enlightenment, to the charming
admonition of that crisis. The idea of the tale resides indeed in the
very fact that an hour of such unprecedented ease should have been felt
by him AS a crisis, and he is at pains to express it for us as neatly
as we could desire. The remarks to which he thus gives utterance
contain the essence of "The Ambassadors," his fingers close, before he
has done, round the stem of the full-blown flower; which, after that
fashion, he continues officiously to present to us. "Live all you can;
it's a mistake not to. It doesn't so much matter what you do in


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