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The Wings of the Dove

Henry James

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Belletristik / Gegenwartsliteratur (ab 1945)


First published in 1902, "The Wings of the Dove" is part of Henry James’s later body of work and reveals a more intensely psychological aspect than his earlier novels do.  

"The Wings of the Dove" tells the story of Milly Theale, an American heiress stricken with a serious disease, and her effect on the people around her. Some of these people befriend Milly with honourable motives, while others are more self-interested.

James once again focuses on the relationships between Americans and Europeans. He shows the Americans—Milly Theale and Susan Shepherd Stringham—to be honest and open, though not as sophisticated as their British counterparts: Merton Densher, Kate Croy, and Maud Lowder, who are portrayed as manipulative and deceitful. The central conflict is thus one of moral character rather than of cultural background.
In "The Wings of the Dove", Henry James provides a rather unique approach to the timeless issues of selfishness, greed, conspiracy, love, and betrayal - universal themes in literature since early Greek theater.