REVIEW × The American

SUMMARY The American

REVIEW × The American È Backgrounds and Sources includes relevant extracts from correspondence reviews and articles by James and others and from his Notebooks and Hawthorne Contemporary Reception of the novel is illustrated by twenty one American and English reviews Twentieth Century Criticism is represented in essays by Leon Edel Oscar Cargill Irving Howe RiBackgrounds and Sources includes relevant extracts from correspondence reviews and articles by James and others and from his Notebooks and Hawthorn. Are you the kind of person who enjoys fast paced melodrama Fortified castles where dreadful deeds are carried out at midnight A beautiful heroine who is destined to be buried alive Evil villains straight out of a gothic romance NoPerhaps you are instead the kind of reader who prefers a sedate narrative full of realistic depictions of everyday life If you are you share a trait with Christopher Newman the American of the title Though his story is set in the 1860s Newman is a modern man who would never be caught dead inside the pages of a Gothic romance Dramatic heroines given to extravagant displays of passion don't interest him nor do flirtatious or hysterical characters In fact he rarely reads novels of any kind He is practical rather than romantic; he likes new inventions things that make life faster easier and brighter; things like trains lifts electric lighting Dark and gloomy castles aren't really his thingBut though he favours the modern and the innovative Newman is uite simple in his personal tastes and especially in the way he expresses himself While traveling through Europe visiting the many magnificent monuments to be found there the brief comments he pencils into the margins of his guidebooks summarise his reactions perfectly Wherever you find a scratch or a cross or a ‘Beautiful’ or a ‘So true’ or a ‘Too thin’ in the guidebooks you may know that I have had a sensation of some sort or otherSo we know early on that Newman doesn't waste time on extravagances of expression When he meets the beautiful Comtesse de Cintre for the first time his reaction is characteristically low key She was pleasing she was interesting; he had opened a book and the first lines held his attentionYet his muted reactions don't eual a lack of feeling he simply prefers to keep some feelings private He is a man who knows the value of silence He is surrounded by characters who love to expound A few of them know what they are talking about others perhaps not Newman stands out among them for the careful way he uses words and when he is silent it doesn't mean he disapproves or that he has nothing to say just that he is wiser than the rest His uiet wisdom makes him a daunting opponent for anyone who tries to thwart his plans for the future if he were to take the trouble he might as he phrases it break all the windows I really liked the way HJ juxtaposes phrases reflecting Newman's New World origins with the sedate language of the narrativeNewman's plans for the future aren't hugely ambitious however Making money has always been easy for him so wealth is not something he covets Neither does he have any social aspirations; he is oblivious to class distinctions and is not intimidated by aristocratic families with 'noble' lineages He measures people by their behavior rather than by the deeds of their ancestors and he has very high standards for his own behavior In short everything he says and does reveal him to be a thoroughly noble character though he will always be plain 'Mr' NewmanAbout half way through this book Newman's nobility and patience suffer a terrible test and this reader's patience along with him If you glance at the updates it might seem that I gave up at page 225 I didn't stop reading however but I did stop posting updates; there were simply no passages that struck me as memorable Newman too is out of his natural habitat in the second half of the narrative His sense of both fairness and fun are no longer called for He finds himself among people he can't recognise and situations he can't negotiate It was too strange and too mocking to be real; it was like a page torn out of a romance with no context in his own experienceYes you've guessed it Newman finds himself trapped in a gothic melodrama complete with fortified castles emprisoned heroines and evil villains There is nothing to be done but get through it as uickly as possible And so we both did

READ & DOWNLOAD ´ E-book, or Kindle E-pub Ù Henry James

S by Leon Edel Oscar Cargill Irving Howe Richard Poirier Royal A Gettmann and James W Tuttleton A Selected Bibliography is included for further stu. It's rated 4 stars because its Henry James If it was written by any one else it would be 3 or less

Henry James Ù 9 REVIEW

The AmericanE Contemporary Reception of the novel is illustrated by twenty one American and English reviews Twentieth Century Criticism is represented in essay. THE AMERICAN PLOT SYNOPSIS WITH SOUNDTRACKOn a lovely day in May 1868 Christopher Newman a wealthy American businessman sits down in the Louvre with an aesthetic headache having seen too many paintingsA young Parisian copyist Noémie Nioche catches his eye and he agrees to buy the painting she is working on for the extravagant price of 2000 francsBARRET STRONG MONEY Money don't buy everything it's trueBut what it don't buy I can't useHere's 2000 francsthat's what I wantFor your paintingthat's what I want although 3000 would be good tooShortly thereafter Newman recognizes Tom Tristram an old friend from the Civil War wandering the gallery THE CARTER FAMILY FRIEND TO ME If ever I have had a palYou've been that friend to meSince the day I helped saw your leg offNewman explains that he has made uite a fortune and now he has come to Europe to find a wife to complete his fortune BOBBY DARIN DREAM LOVER Every night I hope and prayA dream lover will come my wayMrs Tristram suggests Claire de Cintré the beautiful and widowed daughter of an impossibly aristocratic family the Bellegardes JACKIE WILSON REET PETITE Well lookabelllookabelllookabelllookabell Oooooh WeeeeeeLookabelllookabelllookabell OoooooWeeeeOh AhOhAh Oh weeWell she's so finefinefineShe's so fine fafafa fineShe's so fi iii ineShe's so finefinefineShe's really sweet the finest girl you ever wanna meetOhohohoh OhohohohohRrrrrrrr Reet Petite the finest girl you ever wanna meetSeveral days later Newman stops by the Tristram house only to find the visiting Claire who politely invites him to call on herMARLENE DIETRICH FALLING IN LOVE AGAIN Men cluster to me like moths around a flameAnd if their wings burn I know I'm not to blame When Newman stops by the Bellegarde home a pleasant young man promises to go get Claire but is checked by an imposing older figure who claims she is not at homeSMILEY LEWIS I HEAR YOU KNOCKING I hear you knocking but you can't come inCome back tomorrow night try it againShortly thereafter M Nioche Noémie's father appears at Newman's hotel with his daughter's heavily varnished and framed picture When the timid bankrupt Nioche admits his fear that his beautiful daughter will come to a bad end Newman offers to let her earn a modest dowry by painting When he meets Noémie in the Louvre to commission the paintings however she tells him bluntly that she cannot paint and will only marry if she can do so very wellTHE SPICE GIRLS I WILL ONLY MARRY IF I CAN PAINT VERY WELL I'll tell you what I wantWhat I really really wantI will only marry if I can paint very wellI will only marry if I can paint very wellYeah Mrs Tristram encourages Newman to spend the summer traveling promising that Claire will wait for his returnCLIFF RICHARD SUMMER HOLIDAY We're all going on a summer holidayDoing things we always wanted toFun and laughter on our summer holidayExploring ruins monuments and cathedralsHa ha ho ho Newman spends a wonderful summer exploring ruins monuments cathedrals and the countryside with his usual enthusiasm On his return to Paris in the fall Newman calls on Claire and finds her at home with her brother Valentin the pleasant young man he met on the first visit Newman is deeply drawn to Claire's presence her peace and her intense yet mild eyes ELVIS PRESLEY I GOT STUNG Holy smoke land sakes aliveI never thought this could happen to meMm yeah Mm yeahI got stung by a sweet honey beeOh what a feeling come over meIt started in my eyesCrept up to my headFlew to my heartTill I was stung deadI'm done uh uhI got stungAbout a week later Valentin calls on Newman at home The two talk late into the night and soon become fast friends Valentin explains to Newman that Claire was married at eighteen against her will to the disagreeable old Count de Cintré Valentin tried to stop the wedding but his mother the Maruise and his brother Urbain—the imposing older figure who barred Newman's first visit—coveted the Count's pedigree and fortuneEMINEM I COVET YOUR PEDIGREElyrics removed after complaint received from copyright holder When the Count dies and his uestionable business practices are exposed Claire is so horrified that she withdraws her claim to his money The Maruise and Urbain allows this withdrawal on the condition that Claire obey them completely for ten years on every issue but marriageTHE STOOGES I WANNA BE YOUR DOG And I'll lay right down in my favorite placeAnd now I wanna be your dog for ten yearsAnd now I wanna be your dog for ten yearsAnd now I wanna be your dog for ten yearsWell come onNewman tells Valentin that he would like to marry ClairePERCY SLEDGE WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN When a man loves a womanSpend hisa very lasta dimeTryin' to hold on to what he neeeedsHe'd give up all his skanking around EuropeStop visiting prostitutesIf she said that's the way it ought to be Valentin promises to help Newman's cause out of both friendship and a spirit of mischief The following day Newman calls on Claire and finds her alone He frankly details his love THE WHO I CAN'T EXPLAIN Dizzy in the head and I'm feeling blueThe things you said well maybe they're trueI'm gettin' funny dreams again and againI know what it means but Can't explainI think it's loveMaybeI dunnoI'm inarticulatehis assetsMUDDY WATERS I'M A MAN I'm a full grown manManI'm a natural born lovers manManI'm a rollin' stoneI'm a man childI'm a hoochie coochie manwell well well wellhurry hurry hurry hurryIt can't have escaped your noticeWhat I'm actually singing about hereI got a big oneYeah and his desire to marry her Fascinated but hesitant Claire tells him she has decided not to marry but agrees to get to know him if he promises not to speak of marriage for six months MARNI NIXON dubbing for Deborah Kerr GETTING TO KNOW YOU Getting to know you Getting to know all about you Getting to like you Getting to hope you like me Getting to know you Putting it my way But nicely You are precisely My cup of teaDelighted by Newman's success Valentin arranges an audience with the heads of the family later that week BLACK UHURU GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER Guess who's coming to dinner Natty Dreadlocks Guess who's coming to dinner Natty Dreadlocks So let's give thanks and praise Natty Dreadlocks I appreciate the herb you brought for me Natty Dreadlocks On the appointed evening after some painful small talk Newman horrifies the assembled company with a long and candid speech about his poor adolescence BILLY JOE ROYAL DOWN IN THE BOONDOCKS Down in the boondocks down in the boondocksPeople put me down 'cause that's the side of town I was born inand the makings of his fortune When the others have left for a ball Newman bluntly tells the Maruise that he would like to marry her daughter HERMAN'S HERMITS MARUISE VON WHATEVER YOU'VE GOT A LOVELY DAUGHTER Walkin' about even in a crowd wellYou'll pick her out makes a bloke feel so proudAfter inuiring with eual frankness about his wealth the Maruise grudgingly agrees to consider his proposal Several days later M Nioche unexpectedly appears at Newman's hotel room clearly worried about Noémie's antics THE COASTERS POISON NOÉMIE She comes on like a roseBut everybody knowsShe'll get you in dutchYou can look butYou better not touchPoison Noémie poison NoémieLate at night while you're sleepingPoison Noémie comes a creeping aroundNewman decides to visit Noémie at the Louvre to discern the trouble He encounters Valentin en route and brings him along Valentin completely charmed by Noémie and her ruthless sublime ambition resolves to pursue her THE BEACH BOYS ; HERE TODAY it starts with just a little glance nowright away you're thinking about romance nowyou know you oughta take it slowerbut you just can't wait to get to know herShortly thereafter Newman receives an invitation to dinner at the Bellegarde house After dinner Urbain confirms that the family has decided to accept Newman as a candidate for Claire's handDEAN MARTIN MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THIS one girl one boytwo bags of joyOver the next six weeks Newman comes often to the Bellegarde house than content to haunt Claire's rooms and attend her parties DOBIE GRAY THE IN CROWD Any time of the year don't you hear Spendin' cash talkin' trashI'll show you a real good time come on with me leave your troubles behindI don't care where you've been you ain't been nowhere til you've been inWith the in crowd with the in crowd in crowdOne afternoon as he awaits Claire Newman is approached by Mrs Bread the Bellegardes' old English maid who secretly encourages him in his courtship Meanwhile the Bellegardes' long lost cousin Lord Deepmere arrives in Paris Upon the expiration of the six month period of silence about marriage Newman proposes to Claire again and she accepts EDDIE CANTOR YES YES MY BABY SAID YES YESInstead of no noThe next day Mrs Bread warns Newman to lose no time in getting married The Maruise is evidently displeased by the engagement but agrees to throw an engagement ball THE B52S PARTY OUT OF BOUNDS Who's to blame when situations degenerateDisgusting things you'd never anticipateHoo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo hooo oooooooThe following few days are the happiest in Newman's life as he sees Claire every day exchanging longing glances and tender words Meanwhile the Maruise and Urbain are away taking Deepmere on a tour of Paris On the night of the Bellegarde ball Newman suffers endless introductions gladly and feels elated He surprises first the Maruis and then Claire in heated discussions with Lord Deepmere but thinks little of it Afterwards he and Claire exchange declarations of happiness VELVET UNDERGROUND I'LL BE YOUR MIRROR I find it hard to believe you don't knowThe beauty that you areBut if you don't let me be your eyesA hand in your darkness so you won't be afraidI'll be your mirrorThe next morning Newman arrives at the Bellegardes' to find Claire's carriage packed In great distress Claire confesses that she can no longer marry him The Maruise and Urbain admit that they have interfered unable to accept the idea that a commercial person should marry into their familyTHE SHANGRI LAS LEADER OF THE PACK One day The Maruise said find someone newnewnewI had to tell Mr Newman we're throughWhatcha mean when he said that you better go find somebody newHe stood there and asked me whyBut all I could do was cryI'm sorry I hurt you American man of independent meansVrrroooommm VrrroooommmNow read on