The Awkward Age (Penguin Classics)
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Nanda Brookenham is 'coming out' in London society. Thrust suddenly into the vicious, immoral circle that has gathered round her mother, she even finds herself in competition with Mrs Brookenham for the affection of the man she admires. Light and ironic in its touch, The Awkward Age nevertheless analyzes the English character with great subtlety.
The Awkward Age, which has been much praised for its natural dialogue and the delicacy of feeling it conveys, exemplifies Conrad's remark that James 'is never in deep gloom or in violent sunshine. But he feels deeply and vividly every delicate shade.'
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
a greeting that made their mother look round. ‘Hallo, Nan – you are lovely! Ain’t she lovely, mother?’ ‘No!’ Mrs Brook answered, not, however, otherwise noticing him. Her domestic despair centred at this instant all in her daughter. ‘Well then, we shall consider – your father and I – that he must take the consequence.’ Nanda had now her hand on the door, while Harold had dropped on the sofa. ‘ “He”?’ she just sounded. ‘I mean Mr Longdon.’ ‘And what do you mean by the consequence?’ ‘Well, it
plainly, for herself. ‘But I know it. He’d like her if he could, but he can’t. That,’ Mrs Brook wound up, ‘is what makes it sure.’ There was at last in Edward’s gravity a positive pathos. ‘Sure he won’t propose?’ ‘Sure Mr Longdon won’t now throw her over.’ ‘Of course if it is sure –’ ‘Well?’ ‘Why, it is. But of course if it isn’t –’ ‘Well?’ ‘Why, she won’t have anything. Anything but us,’ he continued to reflect. ‘Unless, you know, you’re working it on a certainty –’ ‘That’s just what I
is secretly in love): ‘Against my will I am sent to bid you come in to dinner.’ 2. p. 200 as the acrobat on the horse in the circus goes round the clown. James has already used circus imagery in this novel, in the passage on p. 118 where Mrs Brook says she feels like ‘a circus-woman, in pink tights and no particular skirts’, and we shall meet it again on p. 206 where Mitchy talks of himself as if he were a performing horse. 3. p. 205 Cotman. John Sell Cotman (1782–1842), the distinguished
uncertainties. The Duchess has ‘bloomed in the hothouse of her widowhood’, as Van cattily puts it, and now she is exclusively and entirely engaged in damping down the slightest sexual fire in or around her niece. Fanned by marriage, let them rage as they will. ‘Mr Longdon’s impenetrability crashed like glass at the elbow-touch of this large, handsome, practised woman who walked for him, like some brazen pagan goddess, in a cloud of queer legend.’ We hear of her ‘acquired Calabrian sonorities,
gave a dry sad little laugh. ‘Come then – as the ladies say – “as you are”!’ On which, rather softly closing the door, Vanderbank remained alone in the great empty, lighted billiard-room. BOOK VI MRS BROOK XXI PRESENTING himself in Buckingham Crescent three days after the Sunday spent at Mertle, Vanderbank found Lady Fanny Cashmore in the act of taking leave of Mrs Brook, and found Mrs Brook herself in the state of muffled exaltation that was the mark of all her intercourse – and