Concerned that her son Chad may have become involved with a woman of dubious reputation, the formidable Mrs. Newsome sends her 'ambassador' Strether from Massachusetts to Paris to extricate him. Strether's mission, however, is gradually undermined as he falls under the spell of the city and... read more
“This place and these impressions . . . of Chad and of people I’ve seen athis place—well, have had their abundant message for me. . . . <T>he right time now is yours. The right time is any time that one is still so lucky as to have. . . . .Of course I don’t take you for a fool, or I shouldn’t be addressing you thus awfully. . . . Live!”This quotation occurs during the novel’s first climax, in the middle of Book Fifth.
“He had never before, to his knowledge, had present to him relics, of any special dignity, of a private order. . . . <These objects> marked Madame de Vionnet’s apartment as something quite different from Miss Gostrey’s little museum of bargains and from Chad’s lovely home; he recognized it as founded much more on old accumulations that had possibly from time to time shrunken than on any contemporary method of acquisition or form of curiosity.”At the start of Book Sixth, Strether joins Chad in a visit to Madame de Vionnet’s apartment. During this visit, he begins fully to notice the differences between American culture, American culture in Europe, and European culture.
““It is not a matter of advising you not to go,” Strether said, “but of absolutely preventing you, if possible, from so much as thinking of it. Let me accordingly appeal to you by all you hold sacred.””Strether passionately speaks these words to Chad during their final conversation of the novel, in Book Twelfth.
“His name on the green cover, where he had put it for Mrs. Newsome, expressed him doubtless just enough to make the world . . . ask who he was. . . . He was Lambert Strether because he was on the cover, whereas it should have been, for anything like glory, that he was on the cover because he was Lambert Strether.”This quotation comes during the second half of Book Second, during a point at which Strether is thinking about his professional association with Mrs. Newsome and the narrative voice is still introducing readers to details of Strether’s life and identity.
““That’s what I mean by his chance. . . . And to see that he does not miss it is, in a word, what I’ve come out for.” She let it all sink in. “What you’ve come out for then is simply to render him an immense service.” Well, poor Strether was willing to take it so. “Ah if you like.””This quotation comes at the end of the opening of Book Second.
“Live all you can; it's a mistake not to. It doesn't so much matter what you do in particular, so long as you have your life. If you haven't had that what HAVE you had? This place and these impressions--mild as you may find them to wind a man up so; all my impressions of Chad and of people I've seen at HIS place--well, have had their abundant message for me, have just dropped THAT into my mind. I see it now. I haven't done so enough before-- and now I'm old; too old at any rate for what I see. Oh I DO see, at least; and more than you'd believe or I can express. It's too late. And it's as if the train had fairly waited at the station for me without my having had the gumption to know it was there. Now I hear its faint receding whistle miles and miles down the line. What one loses one loses; make no mistake about that. The affair-- I mean the affair of life...”(Kindle Locations 2557-2567).
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