By Leo Tolstoy
Tolstoy's tumultuous story of ardour and self-discovery marks a turning aspect within the author's profession. His compelling, emotional saga recounts the results of nonconformist habit — a society woman's adulterous affair and a landowner's unconventional quest for a significant lifestyles — opposed to a backdrop of overdue 19th-century Russia.
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He has, in fact, deceived himself repeatedly. The meeting with Sir Luke Strett in Venice, for example, shows Densher at his self-righteous worst. Sir Luke tells him that Milly would like to see him, and Densher grandly imagines that Sir Luke thinks highly of him and sees him as someone seeking only to comfort Milly. This manifest self-deception makes us wonder about Densher舗s state of mind. Densher presents Kate with a choice between having Milly舗s money without him or him without the money. But she cannot have both.
Milly舗s presence is powerfully felt even in her absence. She animates the other characters; they are at first preoccupied with trying to figure her out and then they scheme to use her for their own purposes. Her seeming victimhood is demonstrated by the way the others constantly plot behind her back. The tawdriness of their intrigues contrasts with Milly舗s own lonely struggle to live. Milly舗s character is initially presented through the eyes of Susan Stringham, who is accompanying her to Europe.
There has been a steady growth in the number of James devotees in recent years, if one can judge by the number of Web sites and 舠hits舡 on them, the college courses featuring James, the number of journal articles, and the like. In publishing The Wings of the Dove in this Barnes & Noble Classics edition, our intent is not only to bring this classic to a broad audience but to increase the readership for and interest in all of the James works. A few words are in order about the circumstances of the publication of The Wings of the Dove.
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy