63: The Ambassadors

If a novel is much more about mental states, processes and shadings than it is about external action, does that make it plotless, or does it make every word and implication part of the plot? And if the novel is quietly running a deceptively complex and even theatrically comic “real” plot in parallel with the psychological scalpel-work, what then?

The Sometime Seminar discusses The Ambassadors (1903), a late masterpiece of novelistic psychology by Henry James.

Many electronic texts of The Ambassadors are extremely poorly edited. We recommend the Modern Library edition (with a thoughtful introduction by Colm Tóibín) rather than the free Project Gutenberg or paid Oxford World’s Classics editions, both of which are ridden with errors.

Download this episode