Henry James: The Europeans

(2116 words)
  • Pat Righelato (University of Reading)

The Europeans, set in the 1840s, opens with a woman at a hotel window in Boston in mid-May viewing the dismal scene of a graveyard in dirty snow while a young man sketches by the fire. The novel is subtitled “A Sketch” and, in the first chapter, a series of sketches registers the personal characteristics and relationship of the two figures as subjects, at the same time as they are portrayed as observers responding to the changing weather. The singular exotic aspect of the woman at the window contrasts with the exterior wintry slush in which, at periodic intervals, democratic jumbles of Bostonians project themselves into new-fangled vehicles called omnibuses. As the couple are gradually revealed first to be sister and …

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Citation:
Righelato, Pat. "The Europeans". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 26 November 2009
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=924, accessed 23 August 2014.]