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date: 17 October 2019

Golden Bowl, The, 

The Concise Oxford Companion to American Literature

James D. Hart

novel by Henry James, published in 1904.Charlotte Stant, a daring, intelligent, but penniless American, has a brief affair in Rome with Prince Amerigo, an impoverished Italian aristocrat. After they recognize that life together without money would be fatal to their love, the Prince falls in love with Maggie Verver, who, with her wealthy father, Adam, represents the best qualities of American culture: enthusiasm, moral fineness, the ability to assimilate new values, and a refreshing innocence and delicacy of outlook. Charlotte, a close friend of Maggie, while shopping one day in London with the Prince, considers as a possible gift for Maggie a gilded crystal bowl, perfect except for an invisible flaw. She is persuaded not to buy it, but the bowl becomes a symbol of the Prince’s character and the various flawed relationships in the narrative. Maggie marries the Prince and Charlotte marries Adam but the happy relations of the couples are damaged when Maggie by chance buys the golden bowl and learns something from the shopkeeper that makes her suspect the Prince’s liaison with Charlotte. Both the Prince and Adam, realizing that she knows about the affair, appreciate the tact and delicacy with which Maggie handles the situation. Adam takes Charlotte to America, never to return, and the Prince recognizes that, though losing his mistress, he has gained a depth of character and an appreciation of the qualities of his wife.... ...

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