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About the book
  • Published: 12 May 2008
  • ISBN: 9780141441320
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 544
  • RRP: $19.99

The Ambassadors




The greatest expression of his talent for witty, observant explorations of what it means to 'live well', Henry James's The Ambassadors is edited with an introduction and notes by Adrian Poole in Penguin Classics.

Concerned that her son Chad may have become involved with a woman of dubious reputation, the formidable Mrs Newsome sends her 'ambassador' Strether from Massachusetts to Paris to extricate him. Strether's mission, however, is gradually undermined as he falls under the spell of the city and finds Chad refined rather than corrupted by its influence and that of his charming companion, Madame de Vionnet, and her daughter, Jeanne. As the summer wears on, Mrs Newsome concludes that she must send another envoy to confront the errant Chad - and a Strether whose view of the world has changed profoundly. One of the greatest of James's late works, The Ambassadors is a subtle and witty exploration of different responses to a European environment.

This edition of The Ambassadors includes a chronology, further reading, glossary, notes and an introduction discussing the novel in the context of James's other works on Americans in Europe, and the novel's portrayal of Paris.


If you enjoyed The Ambassadors, you might like Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End, also available in Penguin Classics.

  • Pub date: 12 May 2008
  • ISBN: 9780141441320
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 544
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Author

Henry James

Henry James was born on 15th April 1843 in Washington Place, New York to a wealthy and intellectual family and as a youth travelled between Europe and America and studied with tutors in Geneva, London, Paris, Bologna and Bonn. He briefly and unsuccessfully studied law at Harvard but decided he preferred reading and writing fiction to studying law. His first novel, Watch and Ward, was published in 1871 after first appearing serially in Atlantic Monthly. After a brief period in Paris, James moved first to London and then later to Rye in Sussex. He became a British citizen in 1915 to declare his loyalty to his adopted country as well as to protest against America's refusal to enter the war on behalf of Britain. Henry James was a prolific writer and critic and from around 1875 until his death he maintained a strenuous schedule of publications in a variety of genres: novels, short story collections, literary criticism, travel writing, biography and autobiography. He died in 1916.

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