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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Henry James

The Golden Bowl [ABRIDGED Audiocassette] by Henry James, St Charles Players (Reader)`(Monterey Media) Originally published in 1904, The Golden Bowl, the story of the alliance between Italian aristocracy and American millionaires, is a work unique among James's novels: it is his only novel in which things come out right for his characters.

Wealthy American widower Adam Verver and his daughter Maggie live in Europe , where they collect art and relish each other's company. Through the efforts of the manipulative Fanny Assingham, Maggie becomes engaged to Amerigo, an Italian prince in reduced circumstances, but remains blind to his rekindled affair with her longtime friend Charlotte Stant. Maggie and Amerigo marry, and later, after Charlotte and Adam have also wed, both spouses learn of the ongoing affair, though neither seeks a confrontation. Not until Maggie buys the gilded crystal bowl of the title as a birthday present for Adam does truth crack the veneer of propriety.

The St. Charles Players enliven this audio version of James’s tale. The pomp and snobbery of James's work play out complete with sound effects, such as crackling fires, braying horses, and a different actor for each character. Surprisingly, these effects enhance the overall presentation, adding color to the predictable and intricate plot line.

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