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The Ambassadors - Henry James

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New York Edition (1909).


Volume I



Preface


Nothing is more easy than to state the subject of "The Ambassadors,"
which first appeared in twelve numbers of _The North American Review_
(1903) and was published as a whole the same year. The situation
involved is gathered up betimes, that is in the second chapter of
Book Fifth, for the reader's benefit, into as few words as possible--
planted or "sunk," stiffly and saliently, in the centre of the current,
almost perhaps to the obstruction of traffic.  Never can a composition
of this sort have sprung straighter from a dropped grain of suggestion,
and never can that grain, developed, overgrown and smothered, have yet
lurked more in the mass as an independent particle.  The whole case,
in fine, is in Lambert Strether's irrepressible outbreak to little Bilham
on the Sunday afternoon in Gloriani's garden, the candour with which he
yields, for his young friend's enlightenment, to the charming admonition
of that crisis.  The idea of the tale resides indeed in the very fact
that an hour of such unprecedented ease should have been felt by him AS
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