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United States: Essays 1952-1992 - Study Guide "The Golden Bowl of Henry James" (1984) Summary & Analysis

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Henry James contracted an obsession with gold when, as a young man, he visited the Galerie d'Appolon in the palace of the Louvre. Throughout his life, James confessed that he could, in Vidal's words, "take quite a lot of gold." James' crowning achievement as a novelist, The Golden Bowl, described by Vidal as "a work whose spirit is not imperial so much as it is ambitiously divine," is a touchstone to all his work and the subject of this essay.

As a metaphor for his life and work, gold serves well because of James' obsession with perfection, Vidal says. Once the American expatriate had spent a few years in Europe, he felt less confident drawing upon his knowledge of "familiar types engaged in mating rituals against...

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This section contains 491 words
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Buy the United States: Essays 1952-1992 Study Guide
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