Customer Reviews for

The Ambassadors

Average Rating 3
( 5 )
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4 Star

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 17 of 15 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted October 1, 2009

    outstanding edition

    I suspect the review above was written by an Oxford editor. I say this because I possess the B&N Classic edition of The Ambassadors as well as the Oxford version, since I am a college professor and like to compare books before having the store order them in bulk for my classes. Not only is the B&N Classic $2 cheaper than Oxford -- no small consideration for my students -- it contains several editorial features found no place else: about a dozen book reviews from the early 1900s, a fascinating short essay on books "Inspired By" The Ambassadors (with a discussion of Woolf and Hemingway's reaction), and an introduction that is twice as long as Oxford's. Moreover, the B&N Classics intro is far more up-to-date, modern, and relevant to today's readers, whether they are students or a general audience. I found the Oxford introduction a bit outdated and skimpy, to be honest. As for Kate Croy's complaint about the footnotes -- it's true that the B&N Classics edition has fewer of them, but the other amenities of the book more than make up for it, and the Oxford notes are really not that interesting anyway. I don't usually comment on these sites, but wanted to balance what I felt was an unfair review by the pseudonymous Kate Croy.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 21, 2009

    Get a new editor!

    Henry James' masterpiece deserves a better editor than Kyle Patrick Smith. While most Barnes & Noble editions are edited by professors, Smith's sole qualification for this job is his bachelor's degree from Harvard; must we imagine that James' own brief attendance there confers the missing laurels? (He does inform us, however, that he was "raised in San Diego," and "lives in Manhattan." Ah, well never mind then.) Smith's annotations are almost sublimely poor. He tells us that the "Café Riche is a popular Parisian theater" and that "nearby is the Gymnase, a well known restaurant." One need look no farther than James' own text (and common sense. and historical sense.) to know that of course the reverse is true. Equally bad is his Spanish spelling of France's famous Opéra National de Paris: Smith gives us the comical Opéra Nacional. The list of errors continues, but before you discover them for yourself, I recommend you select the wonderful Oxford edition instead. Unless of course you want your copy of The Ambassadors to assure you that you too could be an editor. But then again, where do you live?

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    A young man, Chad, has been traveling Europe ending up in Paris,

    A young man, Chad, has been traveling Europe ending up in Paris, France.  His family wants him home to the States as they fear France has corrupted him.








    As you see above the rating for this is a one star and a DNF(Did Not Finish).  This is a first for me.  I really tried to get into The Ambassadors and to understand it.  I got to about 200 pages in and just could not continue.  Never have read a book like this where the words that are used I understand on their own but when they are combined with others I know do not comprehend  them together.








    I do not know if it is just the way Henry James writes since this the first I have read by him but I will not be returning to this book again.

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  • Posted November 14, 2013

    The Ambassadors (1903) is one of the later works of Henry James,

    The Ambassadors (1903) is one of the later works of Henry James, one of the great American writers of the late19th and early 20th century. The central character, Lambert Strether, is the consumate Jamesian hero; an American in Europe in the mould of Christopher Norman, Daisy Miller and Isabel Archer, who, for better or worse, finds himself at the mercy of more worldly Europeans and expatriots.

    The traditional and dependable Strether is a fifty-five year old widower who also lost a young son many years prior. His code of honour and open-mindedness, along with his insecurities, complicate and prolong his mission to retrieve his fiancee's twenty-eight year old son, Chad Newsome, whom the family believes has lingered too long in Paris (perhaps romantically detained) and ought to be home in Massachusetts minding the family business.
    Romantic interests surface and Strether himself is drawn to the two central female characters. It is easy to cheer for this very model of a New England gentleman, as well as the deep and perceptive Maria Gostrey and the charming and glamorous Marie de Vionnet.

    As an aside, this novel is excessively descriptive and requires careful reading. Sentences often extend for several lines and paragraphs frequently run in excess of a page. Subordinate clauses are the order of the day, especially in the middle of sentences:. often they are separated by dashes instead of commas. Perhaps it is best to read entire passages, including subordinate clauses, in order to appreciate nuances; then reread the main passages while omitting the csubordinate clauses, so as to better grasp the important aspects of the plot or subplots.

    In essence, readers who approach The Ambassadors in a workmanlike manner should come away with a sense of accomplishment derived from mastering a great masterpiece, which includes several well developed, three dimensional characters who enrich a well crafted plot

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  • Posted March 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A little wordy but a good read.

    While I like Jame's fantasy/horror works like The Turning of the Screw a little more, this was an interesting book to read.
    His writing style is a little to verbose (it's a little like reading Dickens) but the style works for the plot.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2004

    Sluggishly D-U-L-L

    I wish I could be as kind as the reviewer below, but I can't. James's rambling went on far TOO long and I didn't find any of the characters particularly sympathetic. You're not missing much.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted June 5, 2009

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 17 of 15 Customer Reviews
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