Back Henry James, “Miss Gunton of Poughkeepsie”

Henry James (1843–1916)
From Henry James: Complete Stories 1898–1910

Detail from On the Threshold (of a Proposal), 1900, oil on canvas by English painter Edmund Blair Leighton (1852–1922). (Wikimedia Commons)

Born 174 years ago, on April 15, 1843, Henry James was the author of 20 novels, 112 stories, and too many other books, essays, and reviews to even begin to count.

At the dawn of the twentieth century, he published the comic story “Miss Gunton of Poughkeepsie.” About an American woman who tests the love of the Italian prince who courts her, the story packs in just fourteen pages a veritable checklist of the conflicts that dominate James’s fiction: between America and Europe, women and men, the young and the old, brashness and stodginess, democracy and nobility, capitalists and aristocrats, modernity and tradition. It also is one of several stories by James featuring a young American woman testing the limits of her freedom and individuality in Europe—even when, as is the case with Lily Gunton, she’s mostly there to find a husband.

Read “Miss Gunton of Poughkeepsie” by Henry James

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