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The Reverberator Paperback – June 17, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-1419180477 ISBN-10: 1419180479
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About the Author

Henry James (15 April 1843 28 February 1916) was an American-born writer, regarded as one of the key figures of 19th-century literary realism. He was the son of Henry James, Sr. and the brother of philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Kessinger Publishing, LLC (June 17, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419180479
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419180477
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,679,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Henry James (1843-1916), the son of the religious philosopher Henry James Sr. and brother of the psychologist and philosopher William James, published many important novels including Daisy Miller, The Wings of the Dove, The Golden Bowl, and The Ambassadors.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Giordano Bruno on July 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The 'Reverberator' is not, as some readers might feverishly suppose, a hand-held device for erotic auto-stimulation, nor is it one of those fashionable quivery armchairs. No, it's the name on the masthead of an American tabloid, a racy gossip sheet, for which Mr. George Flack is the Parisian correspondent. The only vibrations you'll experience while reading this 1888 novella will be the shaking of your sides at Henry James's wry satire. Mr. Flack is the driving anti-hero of this tale, a prophetic verbal 'paparazzo' of sensationalist journalism, a man with a vision of the vulgar times we have to admit to be ours; speaking to a young woman he hopes to impress, he says: "You ain't going to be able any longer to monopolize any fact of general interest, and it ain't going to be right you should; it ain't going to be possible to keep out anywhere the light of the Press... We'll see who's private then, and whose hands are off, and who'll frustrate the people -- the People that wants to know. That's a sign of the American people that they do want to know..." Mr Flack is the obnoxious harbinger of People Magazine, and of the politics of exposé and outright defamations that degrades American democracy today. The changing societal modes of privacy versus publicity are central themes of the two novellas James published together in his mid career, "The Reverberator" and "A London Life".

All the principal characters of The Reverberator are Americans in Paris. Mr. Flack's object of admiration is the winsome Francie Dosson, in Paris with her plain but ambitious older sister Delia and their wealthy retired father. The Dossons, to put it plainly, are rubes. Mr.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By mojosmom VINE VOICE on November 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
In our time, socialites, celebrities and people "famous for being famous" hire publicists and are content to have their private lives made fodder for the public press. Indeed, they are often complicit in the revelation of the most intimate details of their lives and seem to agree with the saying that "no publicity is bad publicity".

Henry James would be shocked. Simon Nowell-Smith points out in his introduction to my edition of this novel James' reaction to a public report of a private conversation between Julian Hawthorne and James Russell Lowell; he called it a "beastly and blackguardly betrayal". But he took an incident in which a young American who had been admitted into Venetian society wrote an account of that society for a New York newspaper, and was widely excoriated in Venice for so doing, and turned it into this charming novel.

The Dossons, father and two daughters, serious Delia and flighty Francie, are Americans in Paris. Coming over, they had made the acquaintance of George Flack, a journalist whose job is to find stories for an American 'society-paper'. He has attached himself to the Dossons, showing them Paris, while smoking Mr. Dosson's cigars, spending his money, and having a flirtation with Francie. He introduces her to the expatriate Impressionist portraitist, Charles Waterlow (possibly based on John Singer Sargent?) who begins to paint her portrait. During the sittings, she meets a young man, Gaston Probert, an American who had never been in America, having been born and raised in France, his father a "Gallomaniac", his sisters having married into French society (two into the nobility). Inevitably, Francie and Gaston fall in love, and, after her charm overcomes some familial objections of the Proberts, they become engaged.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By H. Schneider on December 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
She seemed to be doing nothing as hard as she could.

The problem with this short novel from the 1880s is that there are no real people in it, only shadow lines of 2 dimensions. Between two fat novels (Princess Casamassima and Tragic Muse), James apparently felt obliged (publisher's pressure?) to produce something shorter and funnier. He did and some readers have liked it, but I can't quite warm up to it.

Usually, James' strength was in his psychological finesse, which could make me see an interest in people and problems that I might otherwise ignore. He does not achieve that here. Also, in general I like his shorter pieces better, but Francie and Gaston have left me cold. James' women are a subject of their own, and there is a lot of variation among them, but I can't remember any heroine as uninteresting as Francie. Nor any main male as boring as Gaston.

We have an encounter of 2 families in Paris, both of American origin, both, oddly, without mother. A wealthy man from Boston travels Europe with 2 daughters, a bossy but ugly one and a pretty but mindless one. A Frenchified resident family, whose wealth is based on property in Carolina, consists of a snobbish aging father, a do-nothing son, and 3 daughters married to various French aristocrats.

The do-nothing son and the pretty but mentally flat daughter get entangled, but even that happens without much excitement. The excitement comes from a slip by the girl: she tells some family secrets to a failed suitor who works for an American scandal press product. That complicates things for a while, as the yellow press usually will. If the yellow press were more in the forefront of the story, the novel might be more interesting. As it is, I can't find it very funny.
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