The Golden Bowl by Henry James

By Henry James

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Sample text

It is over the fact of such a phenomenon and its so possibly rich little history that I am moved just fondly to linger – and for the reason I glanced at above, that to do so is in a manner to retrace the whole growth of one’s ‘taste’, as our fathers used to say: a blessed comprehensive name for many of the things deepest in us. The ‘taste’ of the poet is, at bottom and so far as the poet in him prevails over everything else, his active sense of life: in accordance with which truth to keep one’s hand on it is to hold the silver clue to the whole labyrinth of his consciousness.

Whatever the king’s christening gift was made of, James’s golden bowl proves to be made not of gold but of gilded crystal, not at all the same thing; yet the bowl is massy and looks to be gold. The bowl is first seen in a Bloomsbury shop by Charlotte, who wants to buy a wedding present for her friend Maggie. Charlotte cannot afford anything expensive but then, as she remarks to her lover, Maggie’s groom-to-be, ‘ “She’s so modest,” she developed – “she doesn’t miss things. I mean if you love her – or, rather, I should say, if she loves you.

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA Penguin Books Australia Ltd, Ringwood, Victoria, Australia Penguin Books Canada Ltd, 10 Alcorn Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4V 3B2 Penguin Books India (P) Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi - 110 017, India Penguin Books (NZ) Ltd, Cnr Rosedale and Airborne Roads, Albany, Auckland, New Zealand Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 5 Watkins Street, Denver Ext 4, Johannesburg 2094, South Africa Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, WC2R 0RL First published 1904 Published as electronic edition 2002 Copyright © Henry James, 2002 All rights reserved The moral right of the author(s) has been asserted Making or distributing electronic copies of this book constitutes copyright infringement and could subject the infringer to civil and/or criminal liability, where applicable.

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