The Bostonians (Penguin Classics)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
‘There was nothing weak about Miss Olive, she was a fighting woman, and she would fight him to the death’
Basil Ransom, an attractive young Mississippi lawyer, is on a visit to his cousin Olive, a wealthy feminist, in Boston when he accompanies her to a meeting on the subject of women’s emancipation. One of the speakers is Verena Tarrant, and although he disapproves of all she claims to stand for, Basil is immediately captivated by her and sets about ‘reforming’ her with his traditional views. But Olive has already made Verena her protégée, and soon a battle is under way for exclusive possession of her heart and mind. The Bostonians is one of James’s most provocative and astute portrayals of a world caught between old values and the lure of progress.
Richard Lansdown’s introduction discusses The Bostonians as James’s most successful political work and his funniest novel. This edition contains extracts from Tocqueville and from James’s ‘The American Scene’, which illuminate the novel’s social context. There are also notes and a bibliography.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
made known to Miss Tarrant would mark her for the approval of the respectable, stamp her as a success of no vulgar sort; and as he turned away, a faint, inaudible sigh passed his lips, dictated by the sense that he himself belonged to a terribly small and obscure minority. He turned away because, as we know, he had been taught that a gentleman talking to a lady must always do that when a new gentleman is presented; though he observed, looking back, after a minute, that young Mr. Burrage evidently
the moment she perceived whither Basil Ransom was tending, Miss Chancellor promised herself also to suppress. She had not mentioned that to Verena yet; she hesitated a little, having a slightly bad conscience about the concessions she had already obtained from her friend. Verena made such concessions with a generosity which caused one’s heart to ache for admiration, even while one asked for them; and never once had Olive known her to demand the smallest credit for any virtue she showed in this
more besides. I really believe it will attract some attention. At any rate, the simple fact that it is to be published makes an era in my life. This will seem pitiful to you, no doubt, who publish yourself, have been before the world these several years, and are flushed with every kind of triumph; but to me it’s simply a tremendous affair. It makes me believe I may do something ; it has changed the whole way I look at my future. I have been building castles in the air, and I have put you in the
young man from beneath bushy eyebrows. “Well, I have heard a good deal, since I’ve been in Boston.” “Oh, Boston’s a great place,” Ransom rejoined, inattentively. He was not listening to the policeman or to the organ now, for the sound of voices had reached him from the other side of the door. The policeman took no further notice of it than to lean back against the panels, with folded arms; and there was another pause, between them, during which the playing of the organ ceased. “I will just wait
expressing at the same time a high sense of the honour done him by such a request, while he smiled to himself at the idea of his extemporising a lecture. He smiled even while he suspected the meaning of the look Miss Chancellor gave him: “Well, you are not of much account after all!” To talk to those people about the South—if they could have guessed how little he cared to do it! He had a passionate tenderness for his own country, and a sense of intimate connection with it which would have made it