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Europeans: A Sketch


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Alice James (1848—1892)

 

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Novel by Henry James, published in 1878.

Eugenia, Baroness Münster, an expatriated American, is the morganatic wife of a German prince, who is about to repudiate her in favor of a state marriage. With her artist brother Felix Young she goes to Boston to visit relatives whom she has never before seen, in hopes of making a wealthy marriage. Mr. Wentworth, their uncle, establishes Eugenia and Felix in a nearby house, and his children, Gertrude, Charlotte, and Clifford, soon become intimate with them. Felix, gay and debonaire, enriches himself by painting flattering portraits of the Bostonians, and is involved in a love affair with Gertrude. Mr. Acton, a friend of the Wentworths and himself somewhat a man of the world, is attracted to Eugenia, who also makes a near-conquest of Clifford, an awkward youth suspended from Harvard for drunkenness. She overplays her hand with Acton, who realizes her deceitfulness and attempts to stay away from her. Clifford, too, is not to be snared, and becomes engaged to Acton's sister Lizzie. Gertrude weds Felix, after refusing the minister, Mr. Brand, who marries Charlotte. Eugenia returns to Europe, feeling that her fortune-hunting scheme is impractical in unsusceptible America.

Subjects: Literature.


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Henry James (1843—1916) writer


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