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Wings Of The Dove (Abr) Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook

4.0 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Naxos Audio Books; Abridged edition edition (Dec 1 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9626343907
  • ISBN-13: 978-9626343906
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 14 x 12.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,811,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

The Wings of the Dove is a classic example of Henry James's morality tales that play off the naiveté of an American protagonist abroad. In early-20th-century London, Kate Croy and Merton Densher are engaged in a passionate, clandestine love affair. Croy is desperately in love with Densher, who has all the qualities of a potentially excellent husband: he's handsome, witty, and idealistic--the one thing he lacks is money, which ultimately renders him unsuitable as a mate. By chance, Croy befriends a young American heiress, Milly Theale. When Croy discovers that Theale suffers from a mysterious and fatal malady, she hatches a plan that can give all three characters something that they want--at a price. Croy and Densher plan to accompany the young woman to Venice where Densher, according to Croy's design, will seduce the ailing heiress. The two hope that Theale will find love and happiness in her last days and--when she dies--will leave her fortune to Densher, so that he and Croy can live happily ever after. The scheme that at first develops as planned begins to founder when Theale discovers the pair's true motives shortly before her death. Densher struggles with unanticipated feelings of love for his new paramour, and his guilt may obstruct his ability to avail himself of Theale's gift. James deftly navigates the complexities and irony of such moral treachery in this stirring novel. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

The Wings of the Dove represents the pinnacle of James’s prose.”—Louis Auchincloss --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
You really have to work for what you get out of this book. The thick prose is difficult, and the long, rambling sentences and page-and-a-half paragraphs require the whole of the reader's attention. This is certainly not a book that I would be able to read on a trip, in a public place, or when I'm tired. That having been said, this is a great piece of literature that demonstrates an interesting contrast in European and American society. The story revolves around a conspiracy by two individuals, Kate Croy and Merton Densher (both Londoners), against a young, rich American girl named Milly. The ultimate goal of these two is to get the dying Milly's vast fortune for themselves when she dies. Densher, who is not a wealthy man, would by gaining Milly's fortune to gain enough social standing to gain the consent of Kate's rich aunt Maud for Kate's hand in marriage.

The motives of the pair are not completely selfish. Milly is dying, it is true, but as long as she enjoys life she does well, and the doctor pronounces that the more joy she can have, the better. Kate is a good friend of Milly's, and knows (or at least thinks) that her last days will be happy with even the artificial love of Densher.

The contrast between American and European society comes in the question of social standing. As Maud puts it, and as everyone understands it, Densher is not 'good enough' for Kate. Milly, though many times more wealthy, has no such scruples, and the common Densher is plenty good for her, even though she's also being pursued by a nobleman named Lord Mark. Milly sees Densher's personality as the core of her fondness for him, and cares nothing for his social standing.
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Format: Paperback
It's easy to get overwhelmed by the joy an author takes in their subject. Certainly Henry James had but one: The innocence and naiveity of young America getting seduced, transformed and all-together changed by its confrontation with an old world Europe that is more brutal and desperate than all the regularly criticized American vulgarities. Now James was a consummate stylist--a brilliant writer of carefully diagrammed and constructed sentences and an, at times, of needless and excessively subtle growing menace. This can make for an often turgid, frequently dull narrative--the work of a man far more interested in style than in the substance of anything actually going on in his shrouded characters' lives.
Fortunately The Wings of the Dove is a better example of James at work: a plot that is outlined from the very beginning and a consistant approach to his theme that hardly ever bogs down with over-explanation. It is a good book, an at times even brilliant book, with a story that is clearly inevitable but with enough emphasis on its character's individual humanity to allow for disclosure of independant diversions.
I had little interest in this book when I started, my experience with James ruined in the past by the pretention of college professors and a sodden girth of contrary critical study, each promoting a specific agenda more concerned with condemning one view than with promoting another. This book is no doubt open to just as furious a debate as, say, Portrait of a Lady or The Bostonians (although with such a tame story, as with all, that I have considerable doubt that enough of today's readers can be inspired to even care--), but it remains more focused on telling its story than in confusing the reader by expressing the confused frame of its characters' perceptions.
Better than average stuff from that still school of dialectitions who seem somehow so nervous and rigid when relating all those dark urges they know are buried underneath.
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Format: Paperback
This is a story with an evocative London and Venetian setting that features two young women; Kate, a rare English Rose, and Millie, an American heiress. Their 'instant sisterhood,'with its questionable roots and rapid development is dramatically loving on a surface that hides a whirlpool of darker motives. The English girl has the manor and the man; while the American has the wealth and the tragic curses that often accompany it. Beautiful Kate, is in love with Merton Densher, a journalist with an education and a job, but with very little money. Though they wish to marry, Kate's aunt, who is her benefactress, opposes it and threatens to cut her neice off, should she procede against her wishes. Kate also comes from a cursed family. Her mother is dead, from worry, generated from her rogue yet romantic father. His gambling and generally shameful behavior is only underscored by the fact that he rejects Kate's offer to give up her aunt's protection and come to him as his hostess. That he refuses and urges her back to the manor and the manipulation, that he is reinforced by her two elder sisters who also see dollar signs throughout; may serve as some justification for Kate's calculated and extreme betrayal and exploitation of the American, Millie.
James provides opulent settings and rare, ravishing beauty with an almost addictive love angle. Yet, the story is somewhat too narrow for the length of the book. The characters are believable and compelling, but they merely tease the reader into thinking that they are changing creating some confusion and sense of plodding. This book however, is a major moral statement about the nature of love and the fine line of sin that often intersects it.
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