The Aspern Papers and Other Stories

ISBN : 9780199639878

Henry James; Adrian Poole
288 Pages
135 x 195 mm
Pub date
Feb 2013
Oxford World's Classics
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There's no baseness I wouldn't commit for Jeffrey Aspern's sake.'

The poet Aspern, long since dead, has left behind some private papers. They are jealously guarded by an old lady, once his mistress and muse, a recluse in an old palazzo in Venice, tended by her ingenuous niece. A predatory critic is determined to seize them. What can he make of the younger woman? What are his motives? What are the papers worth and what is he prepared to pay? In all four stories collected here, including 'The Death of the Lion', 'The Figure in the Carpet', and 'The Birthplace', the figure of the artist is central. Extraordinarily prophetic, James explores the emergent new cult of the writer as celebrity, and asks, who cares about the work for itself? Can the man behind the artist ever truly be known, and does our knowledge explain the act of creativity? This new edition includes extracts from James's Prefaces and Notebooks which shed light on the genesis of the stories.

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Note on the Texts
Select Bibliography
'The Aspern Papers'
'The Death of the Lion'
'The Figure in the Carpet'
'The Birthplace'
Appendix 1: extracts from James's Prefaces for the New York Edition
Appendix 2: extracts from James's Notebooks
Appendix 3: stage and screen versions of 'The Aspern Papers'
Appendix 4: variant readings
Explanatory Notes

About the author: 

Adrian Poole has written extensively on Henry James and has edited What Maisie Knew, The American, and Washington Square for Oxford World's Classics. He is the editor of the Cambridge Companion to English Novelists (2009), The Oxford Book of Classical Verse with Jeremy Maule (1995; reissued 2000), and the author of Tragedy: a Very Short Introduction (2005).

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