The Ambassadors by Henry James is Published
The Ambassadors is a 1903 novel by Henry James, originally published as a serial in the North American Review (NAR). This dark comedy, one of the masterpieces of James's final period, follows the trip of protagonist Lewis Lambert Strether to Europe in pursuit of Chad, his widowed fiancée's supposedly wayward son; he is to bring the young man back to the family business, but he encounters unexpected complications. The third-person narrative is told exclusively from Strether's point of view.
The Ambassadors remains one of the few novels whose record of origin appears nearly perfect. The novel began from a "germ" that James captured in his notebook on October 31, 1895. There he records how William Dean Howells, standing in the garden of James McNeill Whistler's Parisian home, sermonized to the young Jonathan Sturges that he must live while he was young. Then, in September of 1900, in an article for Harpers called "Project of a Novel by Henry James," James laid out the blueprint of the novel. The piece shows how James constructed from Howells' speech, reworked as the speech that Lewis Lambert Strether gives to John Little Bilham, the basis of his novel. The actual writing took seven months and James supervised the novel's publication process. Published serially in 1903 by the North American Review (where Howells was a literary consultant), the novel's reception was guided by James' appraisal of the novel as "the best, 'all round,' of my productions."
More than any other single writer, James may be said to have presided over the transformation of the Victorian novel into the modern novel, and at the same time to have laid the foundations of modern criticism of the novel.”— David Lodge on the place of James' novel in the English canon