Thursday, 19 September 2013

The Aspern Papers by Henry James (3/5)

First published: 1888
Page count: 82

The back says: With a decaying Venetian villa as a backdrop, an anonymous narrator relates his obsessive quest for the personal documents of a deceased Romantic poet, one Jeffrey Aspern. Led by his mission into increasingly unscrupulous behavior, he is ultimately faced with relinquishing his heart's desire or...

I say: The synopsis is ended with an ellipsis because it was too spoilery.

I violently hated The Turn of the Screw when I read it a couple of years ago, and have been vehemently ignoring James since then (even though I appear to have a couple of his works on my shelf). As always with things I don’t want to read, I was forced to because of my damn insistence on continuing my studies at university.
However, this wasn’t as bad as I had feared.

Make no mistake, I still find James’ writing to be pretentiously overwrought with hyperbole that made me want to cry, and his endless descriptions of Venice were not at all to my liking, but all in all it was an interesting enough story made better by its ending. I have to point out that the narrator got on my nerves and I kept cringing at the things he said and did.
What an ass.

Perhaps I should say something else about it, but I honestly don’t really care now that I’ve had the seminar. Our discussion about gender and homosexuality was really interesting – actually, it was more interesting reading essays about The Aspern Papers than reading the novel itself.

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