Quick Reference

A novel by H. James, published 1903.

Chadwick Newsome, a young man of independent fortune, the son of Mrs Newsome of Woolett, Mass., a widow, has been living in Paris and is reported to have got entangled with a wicked woman. Mrs Newsome sends as ambassador the guileless Strether, to whom she is engaged, to bring home Chad. The story describes Strether's evolution in the congenial atmosphere of Paris, his desertion to the side of Chad and the bewitching comtesse de Vionnet (he is convinced that the relation between them is virtuous), and his own mild flirtation with the pleasant cosmopolitan Maria Gostrey. Meanwhile his attitude and the disquieting report of Waymarsh, Strether's stolid and conscientious American friend, have caused dismay at Woolett, and Mrs Newsome sends out a fresh ambassador in the person of her daughter, Sarah Pocock.

The attempts to bamboozle Sarah utterly fail, and she presents her ultimatum—immediate return to America—to the delinquents Chad and Strether. Chad, exhorted by Strether, refuses to abandon the lady; and Strether is accordingly notified that all is over between him and Mrs Newsome. Then, and then only, an accident throws Strether into the company of Chad and Mme de Vionnet in circumstances which leave no doubt as to the nature of their real relations. Sadly disillusioned, Strether turns his back on Paris.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

See all related reference entries in Oxford Index »


Henry James (1843—1916) writer