This volume gathers seven of the very best of Henry James’s short stories, all exploring the relationship between art and life. In the title story, “The Aspern Papers,” a critic is determined to get his hands on a great poet’s papers hidden in a faded Venetian house—no mater what the human cost. “The Author of Beltraffio,” “The Lesson of the Master,” and “The Figure in the Carpet” all focus on naive young men’s unsettling encounters with their literary heroes. In “The Middle Years,” a dying novelist begins to glimpse his own potential, while “The Real Thing” and “Greville Fane” explore the tension between artistic and commercial success. These fables of the creative life reveal James at his ironic, provocative best.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.