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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.
“The Wings of the Dove represents the pinnacle of James’s prose.”—Louis AuchinclossSee all Editorial Reviews
Extraordinarily overrated; idiotic and mind-numbing. Some outstanding sentences but, on the whole, - idiotic and mind-numbing. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Vah-keys
One of the major works of The Master. No one can compare with James -- especially for insight into people and beautiful, if very complex, writing. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Chris
Or just revisions by the author. He says something. He says it again. You turn the page and he's saying it again. Usually in very long sentences that don't make a lot of sense. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Iguana
Reading Henry James takes effort. His allusive, complex style (someone once compared it to a hippopotamus trying to pick up a pea) requires constant attention on the part of the... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Kindle Customer
I can best sum up my feeling about this story by saying how happy I was when I pulled the 15th CD out of the package and discovered to my pleasant surprise that it was the last... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Michele
Difficult to read because of the English language that was used at the time the book was written. I wanted to like it, because I saw the movie and liked it very much!Published 8 months ago by Lilia Shut
Encompassing! He paints with language like others a brush...This book requires the readers strictest attention and is well worth ones devotion!!Published 9 months ago by 4dogs
Henry James is wonderful. Writing is period and difficult to read at times but story is worth the reading.Published 10 months ago by Michael D Ragghianti