Madame De Mauves by Henry James

Madame De Mauves

By Henry James

  • Release Date: 1874-01-01
  • Genre: Biographies et mémoires
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Description

This is a biographical novel book. Madame de Mauves is a novella by Henry James, originally published in The Galaxy magazine in 1874. The story centers on the troubled marriage of a scrupulous American wife and a far from scrupulous French husband, and is told mostly from the point of view of a male friend of the wife. The tale reflects the intense interest James took in the 'international theme', especially early in his career. One of the longest fictions he had yet attempted, the smoothly narrated story shows that James was rapidly maturing in style and technique. A wealthy American man named Longmore is introduced to his countrywoman Euphemia de Mauves, wife of the Comte Richard de Mauves. Longmore and Madame de Mauves become friends, and he visits her frequently in Paris. Superficially, Madam de Mauves leads a happy life with a wealthy and 'irreproachably polite' husband, but Longmore soon becomes convinced that she harbours a deep sadness. It gradually becomes clear that the Comte is an unscrupulous and dissipated man who married his wife for her money alone. As a youth, Madame de Mauves had been naive and idealistic, believing that the Comte de Mauves' title guaranteed a fine character. The Comte, however, proved to have little regard for his wife, and had embarked on a series of extramarital affairs. Even his politeness 'was hardly more than a form of luxurious egotism, like his fondness for cambric handkerchiefs…. In after years he was terribly polite to his wife'. Madame de Mauves' faith in her ideals is destroyed, but she responds with stoic resignation.

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