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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $14.00
  • February 1994
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-96314-4
  • 543 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide

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The Ambassadors

Norton Critical Editions

Second Edition


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Henry James (Author), S P. Rosenbaum (Editor, University of Toronto)


This revised and expanded Norton Critical Edition of The Ambassadors again includes the author's preface as well as the most significant variants of the three earlier editions of the novel published in James's lifetime.

The importance of these variants and the conditions under which the novel was written and revised—conditions leading to the continuing controversy over the order of the chapters—are discussed in the editor's rewritten and updated essay on editions and revisions of The Ambassadors.

As often as possible, the annotations to the text have been made by referring to James's other writings.

A map of Strether's Paris and a virtually unknown photograph of James, which originally appeared with the serial of The Ambassadors, have been added to this Second Edition, and the original frontispieces to the New York Edition of the novel have been reproduced in their proper sequence for the first time.

"The Author on the Novel" contains James's notebook entries on the inspiration for The Ambassadors as well as the long, remarkable preliminary statement that the author drew up before writing his novel. The selection of James's letters on The Ambassadors has also been expanded for the Second Edition.

"Criticism" is comprised of fourteen essays that represent more than seventy years of analysis of The Ambassadors, by H. M. Alden, Percy Lubbock, E. M. Forster, F. O. Matthiessen, F. R. Leavis, Joseph Warren Beach, Joan Bennett, Leon Edel, Ian Watt, Sallie Sears, Nicola Bradbury, Maud Ellmann, Millicent Bell, and Philip Fisher.

A Chronology and an expanded Selected Bibliography are also included.



    Henry James (North American Review, April 1903)

    Map of Strether’s Paris

    The Text of The Ambassadors

    1. Preface
    2. Frontispiece: The Luxembourg Gardens
    3. The Ambassadors, Volume One
    4. Frontispiece: By Notre Dame
    5. The Ambassadors, Volume Two
    6. Textual Notes
    7. S. P. Rosenbaum, Editions and Revisions

    The Author on the Novel

    1. Notebook Entries
    2. “Project of Novel by Henry James”
    3. Comments from James’s Letters
      1. To William Dean Howells (Aug. 9, 1900)
      2. To William Dean Howells (Aug. 10, 1901)
      3. To H. G. Wells (Nov. 15, 1902)
      4. To Jocelyn Persse
      5. To Mrs. Humphry Ward (Dec. 16, 1903)
      6. To the Duchess of Sutherland (Dec. 23, 1903)
      7. To William Dean Howells (Jan. 8, 1904)
      8. To Alvin Langdon Coburn (Oct. 2, 1906)
      9. To Hugh Walpole (Aug. 14, 1912)
      10. To Mrs. G. W. Prothero (Sept. 14, 1913)


    1. H. M. Alden, [Memorandum on “Project of Novel by Henry James”] (1900)
    2. Percy Lubbock, [Point of View in The Ambassadors]
    3. E. M. Forster, [Pattern in The Ambassadors] (1927)
    4. F. O. Matthiessen, The Ambassadors (1944)
    5. The Meaning of Paris in The Ambassadors: A Disagreement
      1. F. R. Leavis (1948)
      2. Joseph Warren Beach (1954)
      3. Joan Bennett (1956)
      4. Leon Edel (1960)
    6. Ian Watt, The First Paragraph of The Ambassadors: An Explication (1960)
    7. Sallie Sears, [Negative Imagination and The Ambassadors] (1968)
    8. Nicola Bradbury, ‘The Still Point’: Perspective in The Ambassadors(1979)
    9. Maud Ellmann, “The Intimate Difference”: Power and Representation in The Ambassadors (1984/1993)
    10. Millicent Bell, [Meaning in The Ambassadors] (1991)
    11. Philip Fisher, [“One of the Master Texts of a Whole Generation”] (1992)

    Henry James Chronology

    Selected Bibliography