The Europeans, Paperback Book
2.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


one of a series of new editions of Henry James's most famous short stories and novels.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
  • ISBN: 9780141441405

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This well crafted (1878) novella was intended as a comedy, contrasting European values and manners with those of more puritanical Americans. While I can appreciate James's written style, his comedic intentions fell a little flat with me, most likely due to differences in our times.I found most of the characters too lightly drawn to sympathise with or particularly like. I can see how James intended us to laugh at them, particularly the haughty, fortune-hunting Baroness. In my view, she is too easy a target, and more to be pitied as James dooms her to a loveless end as pennance for her defects of character.There is a delicate art to creating characters who can be laughed at, heartily, but without cruelty. P.G. Wodehouse and George Bernard Shaw are two of its masters. I'm not convinced about James, despite his other literary talents.