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Washington Square (Anglais) Broché – 27 avril 2011

4.5 étoiles sur 5 2 commentaires client

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This collection chronicles the fiction and non fiction classics by the greatest writers the world has ever known. The inclusion of both popular as well as overlooked pieces is pivotal to providing a broad and representative collection of classic works.

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Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Les critiques ont rapproché ce roman de celui d’Eugénie Grandet. C’est vrai qu’il y a du balzacien dans le fond de l’histoire et du texte.
En tout cas ce livre se lit facilement.
A recommander comme premier roman en langue anglaise à destination des jeunes français qui apprennent cette langue.
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Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Ce n'est pas le plus grand chef-d'œuvre de Henry James – pas un roman de la profondeur de What Maisie Knew ou Portrait of a Lady, mais une histoire charmante (quoique pas très gaie, comme d'habitude avec cet grand explorateur un peu cynique). Et dans ce récit bref, d'une histoire assez simple (une riche héritière assez laide que courtise un coureur de dot et qui se heurte à son père), James donne libre cours à son ironie. «Don't undervalue irony, it is often of great use», dit le père : l'auteur, bien sûr, s'est appliqué à lui-même cette maxime. Un grand plaisir de lecture, soutenu par une édition correcte, bien relue (quasi aucune coquille, c'est remarquable dans cette série d'e-livres gratuits).
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x90d955a0) étoiles sur 5 76 commentaires
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x91b8ae1c) étoiles sur 5 Lovely prose, but tediously plotted 16 mars 2014
Par Victoria G. - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
"Mr. Henry James writes fiction as if it were a painful duty."

Oh look at that, Oscar Wilde has already written my review of this book. Splendid. I mean, that's it in a nutshell. Whatever criticisms I have of Washington Square seem to dance around that general sentiment.

Sometimes I feel like I read literature with half a mind toward the book's content and the other half toward the goal of discovering an author's particular ills--as if finding weakness in a great author is the true motive for reading great literature. There is no such thing as perfection, no? But that wasn't my motive. "Motive" implies premeditation, and if anything, I'd started this book with the plan to love it. Because I loved The Portrait of a Lady, and yes, James' incredibly accomplished, "dutiful" prose. But for reasons that would require too much of my own duty to get into, James' characteristic style weighed heavy on the feeble shoulders of this plain story.

I thought the characters were, not surprisingly, well imagined and acutely described. They were not the disappointment; for me, the plot was--a thin thing that perhaps even James got tired of harping on. So many conversations in the novel were about the same thing. And then of course, when one of the characters prides himself on being right 100% of the time, you know there can't be much change in the views expressed. Any mental and/or emotional movements in the story occur minimally and at a glacial pace. I listened to this in audio, and how tiring it became hearing these people talk in circles, never to agree or influence the opinion of another, only to float along with obedient patience. For readers who would primarily describe their own relationship to a parent or guardian as "impossible" or "like hitting your head against a brick walk," - you will especially tire of this book, as you get enough of it in real life. Count this as one period novel that can't be called "escapist."

And now another moment of honesty, though I may be sacrificed at the altar of Lit-Tra-Ture: I greatly preferred the movie adaptation. Not an exaggeration. At all. For one thing, Montgomery Clift. For another, Olivia de Havilland. And kudos to whoever freestyled with the screenplay, and then aptly renamed it "The Heiress." It's not like the movie has any great themes the novel didn't, but it actually makes use of them to create drama, excitement, and sweet, sweet retribution. The movie was so enjoyable, it makes me question whether James wrote the book to actually be of any amusement. Maybe simply demonstrating social tedium in Victorian society was the point. But then, people didn't have TVs in 1880; books were the entertainment. So what the hell was this stolid little parlor room "romance" supposed to be?

...but I give this 3 stars because I still can't be trusted to judge James with total impartiality. Really I'm inescapably enamored with the way he uses words. He's a wordsmith. A weaver of words...

"Doesn't she make a noise? Hasn't she made a scene?"
"She is not scenic."

Who the hell uses the word "scenic" to describe people and not landscapes? HENRY JAMES. Clearly some marvelous writing comes from painful duty.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x911de384) étoiles sur 5 What was I afraid of? 12 juin 2012
Par book concierge - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
The focus of this entire novel is money. But James manages to craft a tale that explores not only wealth, how it is used and what it means, but social class, family structure, filial obedience, parental responsibility, and strength of character. Catherine may be described by everyone as "sweet, but simple," but she has a will of steel, and will show her father that he has grossly underestimated her.

Honestly, I don't know why I waited so long to read a Henry James novel. For some reason I thought he would be "difficult," with long, complicated sentence structure and archaic language. If you have the same notion, get over it. This is a very approachable story. I was engaged and interested from the beginning. Of course, now I've added more Henry James to my tbr mountain ... but I think that's a good thing.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x911d2704) étoiles sur 5 Interesting social commentary 17 octobre 2012
Par Book Nympho - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I was already quite familiar with this story because I'd seen the film adaptation, The Heiress, some time ago. Still, I wanted to read it because it's a classic and I've never read anything by Henry James.

Catherine Sloper is the main character, a young woman who is described as being plain and quite simple. Her father, Dr. Austin Sloper, doesn't seem to care that much about her and holds a grudge because her mother, a great beauty who he loved deeply, died shortly after Catherine was born. He allows his widowed sister Lavinia to live with them so she can teach Catherine and help her become clever. However as Catherine grows up he is continually disappointed in her despite her utter devotion to him.

The story really starts when Catherine meets a young man named Morris Townsend who is described as being incredibly handsome and charming. Catherine is immediately smitten with him and her aunt Lavinia also takes a liking to him and helps to facilitate their relationship. However, Dr. Sloper is suspicious of Morris because he has squandered his fortune, traveled around living a life of luxury, and now seems to be living off his poor widowed sister who has five children. Dr. Sloper suspects Morris only wants to marry Catherine because she is wealthy and also weak-minded and easy to control. He forbids the marriage, causing the main point of tension throughout the novel.

Catherine is torn between her desire to be with Morris and her need to please her father and earn his approval. The book goes back and forth for some time with Catherine distraught over which decision to make, Morris butting heads with Dr. Sloper, and Dr. Sloper trying to convince Catherine that Morris is no good.

The interesting thing about this book is the ambiguity around the characters. Although Dr. Sloper visits Morris' sister and seems to confirm that he's a loser, it's never really clear if Morris cares about Catherine. The reader can only infer through conversations and actions what is going on. And the more you read, the more you are presented with various perspectives and things to consider. For example:

Is Morris really after Catherine's money?
Should Dr. Sloper have the right to wield control over who his daughter marries?
Because Catherine is simple, is her money an even trade for Morris' good looks?
Why is it okay to want to marry a man who is well off but considered shallow for a man to do the same?

So I think this is mostly a book about society and the customs of the time. Because I had an idea of how it would end I wasn't that caught up in the story or the fates of the characters. Still, I enjoyed reading the book and am glad to have read another classic.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9100bba0) étoiles sur 5 Plain Jane Gets a Suitor 29 avril 2012
Par James W. Fonseca - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Here we are in New York City in the mid-1880's, a bit before Edith Wharton's time, but in the same social milieu. This is a kind of novel of manners, a mid-19th Century soap opera. Our author is Henry James, so be prepared for the long, convoluted, comma- and semicomma-laden sentences akin to those of Jane Austen.

Yet a fascinating book. Catherine, more or less our heroine, is plain, stolid, timid, obedient and, quite frankly, a bit on the dull side. She lives in her father's house. With her mother deceased, a widowed aunt is her caretaker and companion. Catherine is in her late 20's when a suitor finally appears (a late age for that era). Her suitor would be quite a catch for a gal like Catherine, so her father, a wealthy physician, immediately recognizes (and so do we) that he's after her inheritance. Her father forbids the marriage and in that process we learn that he is vindictive, petty, tyrannical, bullying - and wait --- there's something even worse: he doesn't really even LIKE his daughter.

The novel fast-forwards in the final chapters so we get to see how it all works out decades in the future. It's great writing --- it's Henry James after all. A good book for those who have a taste for the oblique references and flowery style of writing from that era.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x90f6a3d8) étoiles sur 5 Why do people like this? 31 décembre 2013
Par Alan Lewis - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
As an English Lit major many years ago, I was told repeatedly what a great writer Henry James was. The man writes an elegant sentence, but the characters in this novella are wooden, one-dimensional, and universally unlikable, the story is improbable, and the dramatic movement is non-existent. It's mildly amusing as satire, but more annoying than anything else. The primary emotion this story arouses is a desire to strangle each of the characters forthwith.
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