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The Ambassadors

The Ambassadors

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by Henry James
     
 

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"The Ambassadors" had been, all conveniently, "arranged for"; its first
appearance was from month to month, in the _North American Review_
during 1903, and I had been open from far back to any pleasant
provocation for ingenuity that might reside in one's actively
adopting--so as to make it, in its way, a small compositional
law--recurrent breaks

Overview

"The Ambassadors" had been, all conveniently, "arranged for"; its first
appearance was from month to month, in the _North American Review_
during 1903, and I had been open from far back to any pleasant
provocation for ingenuity that might reside in one's actively
adopting--so as to make it, in its way, a small compositional
law--recurrent breaks and resumptions. I had made up my mind here
regularly to exploit and enjoy these often rather rude jolts--having
found, as I believed an admirable way to it; yet every question of form
and pressure, I easily remember, paled in the light of the major
propriety, recognised as soon as really weighed; that of employing but
one centre and keeping it all within my hero's compass. The thing was
to be so much this worthy's intimate adventure that even the projection
of his consciousness upon it from beginning to end without intermission
or deviation would probably still leave a part of its value for him,
and a fortiori for ourselves, unexpressed. I might, however, express
every grain of it that there would be room for--on condition of
contriving a splendid particular economy. Other persons in no small
number were to people the scene, and each with his or her axe to grind,
his or her situation to treat, his or her coherency not to fail of, his
or her relation to my leading motive, in a word, to establish and carry
on. But Strether's sense of these things, and Strether's only, should
avail me for showing them; I should know them but through his more or
less groping knowledge of them, since his very gropings would figure
among his most interesting motions, and a full observance of the rich
rigour I speak of would give me more of the effect I should be most
"after" than all other possible observances together. It would give me
a large unity, and that in turn would crown me with the grace to which
the enlightened story-teller will at any time, for his interest,
sacrifice if need be all other graces whatever. I refer of course to
the grace of intensity, which there are ways of signally achieving and
ways of signally missing--as we see it, all round us, helplessly and
woefully missed. Not that it isn't, on the other hand, a virtue
eminently subject to appreciation--there being no strict, no absolute
measure of it; so that one may hear it acclaimed where it has quite
escaped one's perception, and see it unnoticed where one has gratefully
hailed it. After all of which I am not sure, either, that the immense
amusement of the whole cluster of difficulties so arrayed may not
operate, for the fond fabulist, when judicious not less than fond, as
his best of determinants. That charming principle is always there, at
all events, to keep interest fresh: it is a principle, we remember,
essentially ravenous, without scruple and without mercy, appeased with
no cheap nor easy nourishment. It enjoys the costly sacrifice and
rejoices thereby in the very odour of difficulty--even as ogres, with
their "Fee-faw-fum!" rejoice in the smell of the blood of Englishmen.

Thus it was, at all events, that the ultimate, though after all so
speedy, definition of my gentleman's job--his coming out, all solemnly
appointed and deputed, to "save" Chad, and his then finding the young
man so disobligingly and, at first, so bewilderingly not lost that a
new issue altogether, in the connexion, prodigiously faces them, which
has to be dealt with in a new light--promised as many calls on
ingenuity and on the higher branches of the compositional art as one
could possibly desire. Again and yet again, as, from book to book, I
proceed with my survey, I find no source of interest equal to this
verification after the fact, as I may call it, and the more in detail
the better, of the scheme of consistency "gone in" for. As

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940012557957
Publisher:
SAP
Publication date:
01/05/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
405 KB

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The Ambassadors 2.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very poorly formatted. Extraneous punctuation marks and illegibility.
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this is only part of the story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago