Henry James, The Europeans

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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 …

2116 words

Citation: Righelato, Pat. "The Europeans". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 26 November 2009 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=924, accessed 07 February 2023.]

924 The Europeans 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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