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The Ambassadors

The Ambassadors

Written by Henry James

Narrated by Stephen Hoye


The Ambassadors

Written by Henry James

Narrated by Stephen Hoye

ratings:
3.5/5 (21 ratings)
Length:
18 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Dec 31, 2010
ISBN:
9781452670225
Format:
Audiobook

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Description

Lambert Strether, a mild, middle-aged American of no particular achievements, is dispatched to Paris from the manufacturing empire of Woollett, Massachusetts. The mission conferred on him by his august patron, Mrs. Newsome, is to discover what, or who, is keeping her son Chad in the notorious city of pleasure and to bring him home. But Strether finds Chad transformed by the influence of a remarkable woman. And as the Parisian spring advances, he himself succumbs to the allure of the "vast bright Babylon" and to the mysterious charm of Madame de Vionnet.
Publisher:
Released:
Dec 31, 2010
ISBN:
9781452670225
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as ebookEbook

About the author

Henry James (1843–1916) was an American writer, highly regarded as one of the key proponents of literary realism, as well as for his contributions to literary criticism. His writing centres on the clash and overlap between Europe and America, and The Portrait of a Lady is regarded as his most notable work.


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3.3
21 ratings / 21 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
    Found this one quite dull, probably not the best Summer read for me.
  • (4/5)
    I was pointed towards Henry James by those who had read my own interminable contributions to a half-forgotten creative writing collaboration on LibraryThing, so I feel obliged to let it be known that I consider my prose, however long-winded and polysyllabic, as nevertheless infinitely more comprehensible than James's experiments in syntax so convoluted that it might be called non-Euclidean, and managing to be simultaneously over- and under-punctuated.I find it hard to understand or articulate why I enjoyed reading this book, but I did. Two particular moments stand out, of a kind of euphoria. One, inevitably, was when I finally reached the climax (on page 349) and the rapidly following conclusion (on page 393). The other, earlier, was when I realized, about halfway through the book, that my sense of bafflement as a reader, floundering about in James's labyrinthine sentences, precisely mirrored that of the narrator and focalizer, Lambert Strether, completely befogged among the sophisticated young men of the world and femmes du monde who dance arabesques around him as he bumbles stolidly around Paris, ruminating obsessively as he goes. Was this, then, deliberate on the part of the author? None of his characters ever seems to say anything directly, but utters little allusions to things unsaid or half-said, skirting delicately around all actual topics of conversation, just as the author frequently steps delicately around the events of the plot, passing on only Strether's subsequent contemplations of them. Confronted with the most opaque prose I have ever encountered, I eventually gave up trying to parse James's sentences, decode his arcane idioms, or unpack the extended metaphors which seemed to go underground like twining roots and emerge unexpectedly some paragraphs later. I resorted to a kind of impressionistic reading in which I let words and paragraphs wash over me, leaving a blurred image of a narrative like a smudged painting. A happy decision: since finishing the book, I have discovered that James is, indeed, regarded as an Impressionist writer; so trying to read his prose like that of a conventional novel is like trying to find the outlines of objects in a pointillist landscape.MB 22-i-2018
  • (3/5)
    I'd read that Henry James had a very distinct split in styles, and that accordingly readers often differ greatly in which style they like. The only other book by Henry James I had read before this was Washington Square, one of his early novels, and it's a favorite--but that made me all the more reluctant to try one of his later novels and feel disappointed. I don't know if disappointment describes how I feel about The Ambassadors, one of his late and most celebrated novels. Bored and frustrated at times, admiring at others--but I definitely prefer the more straightforward, more simple in style Washington Square.Late Henry James features some of the most convoluted sentences I've encountered in literature. I wouldn't go so far as to say this sported the kind of sentence where you are lost before you get to the end, and at times I did admire how much James could pack in--this is a novel very dense in meaning--but it probably did at the least slow the pace when you have lines filled with semi-colons, commas, dashes and other punctuation tricks to keep sentences like this one aloft:Melancholy Murger, with Francine and Musette and Rodolphe, at home, in the company of the tattered, one--if he not in his single self two or three--of the unbound, the paper-covered dozen on the shelf; and when Chad had written, five years ago, after a sojourn then already prolonged to six months, that he had decided to go in for economy and the real thing, Strether's fancy had quite fondly accompanied him in this migration, which was to convey him, as they somewhat confusedly learned at Woollett, across the bridges and up the Montagne Sainte-Genevieve.Also, in comparison with Washington Square, let alone, say Dickens, The Ambassadors has a paucity of plot. Not much happens here. Stether comes to Paris as the "ambassador" of his fiancee, to convince her son Chad to come home and becomes entangled with the people around him and is seduced by their charms and that of Paris. That's the core of theme and plot. The climax of the book turns on interpreting a fleeting expression seen from afar. The dialogue is simpler than the narrative, to the point of frustration at times because there are such underplayed subtle currents you have to strain to figure out what is really going on between people. And though at times I did find those challenging nuances fascinating, especially whenever Maria Gostrey appeared, in the end I felt unmoved by these characters--a very different reaction than how I felt at the end of Washington Square.
  • (3/5)
    I read this for a class. It was pretty decent, but I don't know what I would have thought of it had I read it on my own. We spent literally over half of a semester on this one book--I suspect the instructor was obsessed with it.
  • (4/5)
    Early on, I contemplated giving up on this novel, since not very much seemed to be happening very, very slowly. Yes, James' language is felicitous, and yes, his examination of complex relationships is delicate in the extreme, but the longeurs almost defeated me. I had, however, got interested enough in the characters to stick with it, and in time the whole thing wrapped itself into my imaginatioin. Once I stopped complaining about the slowness of the journey, and started to take the book on its own terms, I began to enjoy the wit, and the descriptions, and the misapprehensions. That said, I feel rather as if I had accomplished a major literary task. Going forward, I expect I will remain considerably fonder of Edith Wharton than of James.
  • (3/5)
    Napalm the Narrator. What this book requires if one dare render it as a work of sound, is Juliet Stephenson, or someone with her uniquely keen intelligence and sensitivity to imolucation. That said, there is a vast world of difference between this uneven, disjointed first start at James' abstract period, and the genuine masterpiece of Wings of the Dove. I do not see how the same mind could have churned out both.
  • (4/5)
    quirky and endearing
    Sturla Jòn is engaging in a quiet way, as is the whole story.
  • (3/5)
    The AmbassadorsHenry JamesTuesday, April 10, 2012 8:14 PMI spent about 3 weeks with this book, reading it intermittently. Henry James’ prose is very difficult. I would read some sentances, with multiple dependent clauses, three times without getting the meaning, so it was very slow going. He writes at great length about the thoughts and perceptions of his main character, Strether (Lewis Lambert Strether), and builds through these perceptions profound descriptions of characters. Strether is in England, then Paris, as an ambassador from Chad Newsome’s mother, who is hoping that her son will return to Massachusetts to take over the family business. Strether agrees to the mission because he hopes to marry the widowed Mrs. Newsome. Strether meets Maria Gostrey on his first landing; she is a free woman who helps him find his way, and understand the characters encountered; everyone is very well-off, there is nothing but parties and dinners in the novel. Chad has been converted from a carefree playboy into a gentleman, by his relation with Madame de Vionner, and is not easy to convince about returning home. We are left uncertain at the end if he does return, or stays with his lover. Strether, at the end, returns, leaving a very disappointed Ms. Gostrey. I came to care about the characters, and to ignore the convoluted prose, hurrying to find out if Strether would abandon Maria in the end. I read this in the Folio Society edition, with beautiful watercolor illustrationsStrether to Little Bilham, a poet friend of Chads: “All the same don’t forget that you’re young - blessedly young; be glad of it on the contrary, and live up to it. Live all you can; it’s a mistake not to.” (James, in his forward, says that this comment he heard was the inspiration for the novel)“Miss Barace’s nose, in short, would find itself out of joint” - I thought my wife was the only person who used this phrase.“Let yourself, on the contrary, go - in all agreeable directions. These are precious hours - at our age they mayn’t recur. Don’t have to say to yourself, at Milrose, next winter, that you hadn’t courage for them” This is Strether encouraging his friend Waymarsh to travel with a female companion to Switzerland. “Women were thus endlessly absorbent, and to deal with them was to walk on water.”
  • (5/5)
    People who react adversely to the prose style (some of the sentences in this book, and others like "Wings of the Dove," can be a page long), should keep in mind that this is the late--or late style--Henry James, where he is doing what great authors ought to do--taking chances, expanding the power of language to explore psychological space, and experimenting. Mrs. Newsome (nuisance) dispatches Lambert Strether to Paris, to induce her wayward son, Chad Newsome, to return home so that he might take his part in his family's lucrative advertising company. Strether encounters Marie de Vincent, the marvelously cultured woman to whom Chad has become attached, and his mission becomes side-railed as he gradually comes to realize that Chad, although he is having a sexual affair with de Vincent, is much better off--indeed, under a finer moral influence with de Vincent--than he would be back in Massachusetts. From Mrs. Newsome's perspective, though, Strether fails. Strether does not fail, however; he is one of James' "children of light" who cannot compromise insight, compassion, and delicacy for the coarse calculations of the world, however much they might be ground down or diminished by them.
  • (4/5)
    I read this book in 1963 with considerable enjoyment. Lambert Strether is sent to Paris to induce Chad Newsome to return to Massachusetts. Strether finds Newsome in the toils of Marie de Vincent--virtuously, he feels, until Book XI. Book XI is some kind of supreme masterpiece. I would like to quote the essence but it is--as is all the book--diffused. A key sentence (and incidentally illustrating the James style): "When he reached home that night, however, he knew he had been, at bottom, neither prepared nor proof; and since we have spoken of what he was, after his return, to recall and interpret, it may as well immediately be said that his real experience of these few hours spent on, in that belated vision--for he scarce went to bed till morning--the aspect that is most to our purpose," What sentnece construction--but it grows on one, and I do not deprecate ti. I look back in admiration at the sure hand of the expert constructionist. I often wonder what the reader of the Atlantic Monthly made of the installments--although maybe those Victorian-orientated readers were less lost than today's average reader. All in all--I have read The Ambassaadors with profit, which I cannot say for soem of my earlier reading of James' work.
  • (3/5)
    Dense, dense, dense! This was a tough read, much tougher than any similar soap opera penned by James' friend, Edith Wharton. I think Mr. James cornered the market on commas.
  • (4/5)
    A tough read for me 40 years ago, but I'm so glad I persisted. "Live all you can!"
  • (5/5)
    Note: This book is the first of my quest to read 20 "significant" (as defined by me) books, not counting those for class and re-reads, this semester (spring 2010) Actual Review: I don't think I've fallen for an author this much since I started reading Jane Austen - which is quite ironic, since James disliked Austen! James' writing is intricate and playful, his command of the english language is astounding, and you can tell he's enjoying his own powers - for example, when he described Mrs. Barrace as "The unobscured Mrs. Barrace", or when we are introduced to Maria Gostrey as "Not freshly young, not markedly fine, but (whose features) were on happy terms with one another" The story itself is neither freshly young, nor markedly fine, but exceed all expectations. James excells in slowly revealing the complexity of people and their relationships with one another; one discovers people as one would solve a mystery, and that, indeed, is the inherant interest in the book, and what kept me flipping pages. His characters - even Lambert Strether - seem not to grow, but rather simply to reveal more of themselves, as one reveals the inner layers of an onion. It is impossible to characterize them in a single sentence - indeed, it seems almost impossible to describe them without re-writing the book! Nor can the theme of the book be so easily dissected - I've read that it's "about a man's late awakening to the importance of morality founded...on it's value per se", and it is, I suppose, but it's about so much more than that. I would argue that it's about life, and the value of living, and experiencing all you can - quite as Strether would say - and about being true to yourself (although in a much less trite fashion than usual. The book leaves us with no easy conclusions; and with that, it reminds me of Austen - entertaining and fun and gripping, but, at the same time, deep and probing.
  • (3/5)
    Back in college I loved Henry James, but in the intervening 20+ years I haven't read anything by him. In a particularly Jamesian way, my memory of reading James in my early adulthood was a sort of beacon of the type of reader I thought I was then - erudite, literate and quite grown up. Well, now that I'm an actual grown-up, I see a lot more in James's work than I did at 21, and I find it somewhat disappointing.The Ambassadors is the story of Lambert Strether's return to Paris at age 55. He is on a mission - his "particular friend" back home, Mrs. Newsome, has sent Strether to rescue her son, Chad, from the arms of "that sort" of woman. If Strether, a somewhat washed-up non-businessman, is successful, he will marry the wealthy Mrs. Newsome. If not, well, that's that. Upon his first arrival in Europe, in Liverpool, he meets Miss Maria Gostry, an American expat who lives in Paris.They immediately form a cozy, friendly relationship and Miss Gostry offers to see Strether when he gets to Paris. Upon arriving in Paris, Strether finally sees Chad and meets Chad's friends. He finds that, rather than being dissolute and depraved, they are worldly, artistic and extremely interesting. He becomes drawn into their world, so much so that he recommends that Chad stay in Paris. When it becomes evident to Mrs. Newsome that Strether has not succeeded in convincing Chad to stay home, she sends her daughter, son-in-law, and son-in-law's sister to convince everyone to come home and do their duty. However, Chad has taken up with the lovely Marie de Vionnet (who Strether also finds quite attractive), and Strether has been somewhat seduced by Paris and the sophisticated people he has found there. SPOILERS In the end, while Chad decides to stay in Paris with Marie, Strether has found that he is really too old for this - he feels uncomfortable and must go home. He has one last chance at happiness with Maria Gostry, but he rejects even this.After reading my plot synopsis, I find that this novel could have been a great novel of Edwardian manners. Unfortunately, though - at least for me - James's writing style gets in the way of the story. The Ambassadors is an early work in James's late period writing. As James got older, his writing seems to have become more convoluted and obscuring. There are sentences here that I don't think I could ever parse - and perhaps James couldn't, either. And then his use of commas . . . . I know I use too many commas, and I should remember this novel every time I want to use one. Here are the first few sentences of the third paragraph (when Strether sees Miss Gostry for the first time in the Liverpool hotel): "After the young woman in the glass cage had held up to him, across her counter, the pale pink leaflet bearing his friend's name, which she pronounced, he turned away to find himself, in the hall, facing a lady who met his eyes as with an intention suddenly determined, and whose features - not freshly young, not markedly fine, but expressive and agreeable - came back to him as from a recent vision. For a moment they stood confronted; then the moment placed her: he had noticed her, the day before, at his previous inn, where -- again in the hall -- she had been briefly engaged with some people of his own ship's company."The genius of James is that the start and stop effect of all this punctuation directly reflects Strether's hesitant start and stop approach to life. However, the affect on the reader (or at least this reader) is a stuttering, halting failure. I could never get momentum, never get lost in the story - there was no flow.SPOILER Most disappointing for me, however, was the ending. Although Strether is seduced by Europe, and although by losing Chad he has lost Mrs. Newsome, he decides that he must return to America - back to his small and inconsequential life. It seems that a lot has changed in a century. Strether's sense of duty, his sense that he doesn't really deserve to be happy, seems at odds with what one might expect today. Perhaps today we have too much of a sense of entitlement towards searching for happiness, and not enough satisfaction with what we have right before us. On the other hand, though, perhaps Strether went home with a somewhat more open mind - more willing to partake of the creativity he once loved as a young man. Who knows. What I do know is that instead of finding the ending sad (or at least poignant), I found it frustrating and unsatisfying - which is perhaps the idea.
  • (2/5)
    An image began to emerge of James as I read this that never quite gelled, but was something like "a man in a dickey, stirring an invisible pot of oatmeal in a dimly lit room, staring at the wall through too-weak bifocals and telling a story about people you never knew in a summerhouse you never visited, perpetually unable to decide whether it was Old Jim or Young Frank that made of Miss Sedgwick or the widow Daintry a comment of which the motive and significance were unclear,but who keeps insisting 'come on, you remember'." And there's spaghetti on his shirt.

    It should surprise nobody that HG Wells was more succinct, comparing James to a hippopotamus trying to pick up a pea that has rolled into a corner of the room. But I flatter myself that I was a bit more accurate, captured a few more of the intricate vicissitudes of trying to read this book--and then I think "ah, but look where intricate vicissitudes got this book". The Ambassadors is dull. It is ponderous, turgid, pedantic, almost autistic in place, terrified of sex. And alongside that terror, obsessed with the hidden and imagined meanings behind every lightly or significantly dropped little flirt or flurry, in the manner of two sensitive fourteen-year-old boys writing each other mannered letters in chemistry class, to discuss what Sharon and Alexis said that day when they know they'll never, ever get the courage up to ask them. I think James' audience in the oatmeal-stirring story above is probably being told to those two boys. I think that would be his idea of heaven.

    The basic idea is all right--"small-town American, upright because timid, goes on a mission of small-town American moral rectitude to Paris, where his mind is opened and he realizes he has wasted his life. He tries to intervene in the affair to the benefit of his charges--as he never really ceases to think of them, even as they try to provide for him like a eunuch uncle--does a certain amount of good, but doesn't manage to seize the day for himself because it is too late and he is too old and timid. He goes home." Pathos, (the good kind of) bathos, the clash of worlds, turn-of-the-last-century drawing-room manners, &c.

    And Strether is a decent sort, if immensely frustrating and ultimately pusillanimous (James loves this word, and while I'm not comfortable with the across-the-board dismissal of Latinate vocabulary when an Anglo-Saxon alternative presents itself, allow me to suggest that "pusillanimous" instead of "weak" or "timid" probably has potential as a sort of litmus test for smalling out when you're attaining an exquisite realm of semantic subtleties and when you're just being a pompous git: if it doesn't add more than "pusillanimous", you're the latter. On the subject of language let me also say that much as I hate James' style, it is a pleasure to find, amidst the cloud of adjectives and prepositional phrases that he spews out onto the paper, the occasional pithy Americanism, in a context and a mode you'd never expect. I really like it when Strether settles his own hash).

    But OH GOD this guy can't write for shit. By anyone's standard. I hope I can justifiably call myself a fairly well-read and open-minded fellow who can make allowances for the complex-composite octopusing of the 19th-century realist sentence, and understand its potential for evoking the "complicated vagueness" of a real-life psychological state, and acknowledge James' deep insights into human nature, although he only seems to know how to draw them from a certain kind of human, and even see how the flaws of the prose are analogous to the flaws of the protagonist, and how that's kind of neat. I can cut James slack for all of that and still not have enough slack left to excuse this:

    "His most frequent form of words was that he knew himself, and they were applied on this occasion to his certainty of not sleeping. He knew himself well enough to know that he should have a night of prowling unless he should succeed, as a preliminary, in getting as tired as he wanted."

    "She knew her theatre, she knew the play, as she had known, triumphantly, for three days, everything else, and the moment filled to the brim, for her companion, that apprehension of the interesting which, whether or no the interesting happened to filter through his guide, strained now to its limits his brief opportunity."

    Vocab over style, like the letters of those fourteen-year-olds, like an intelligent and bookish kid in a backwater town or a backwater country--or most accurate of all for James, I think, a backwater bourgeois family, superficially "of the world" but never really interested in excising their inner Woollett--who nobody ever told he couldn't write, but instead indulged and called "our little professor". Only the guy was 60 when this was published. But you can still hear him smugging smugly to himself with each of those superfluous commas: "Mumsy wouldn't, perhaps, it must, and will, be acknowledged, put a comma there, but I must take more care, in my very serious work, for it, unlike her very charming occasional letters to Auntie Isadora, on the subject of her garden, and sundry similar topics, is for the ages."

    I have a phone call to make, and I am tired of thinking or writing about this book, and so I will just also note that it is way gross how ultimately the self-satisfaction of Woollett wins out on so many levels, and the narration takes so seriously the assbuttoned Waymouth with his Old Knickerbocker-style rectitude, and Chad (Chad!) with his flared nostrils and impeccable pedigree, and makes snide "Jewess"-type remarks about the French aristocrats, because the only good bloodline is a US American Protestant bloodline, and all the worries in this are US American protestant worries, like about keeping yourself pure vs. having the enjoyment incumbent on your class and stature, and ohhhhhhhhhhh, I'm tired of that stuff. One of the most (only) enjoyable bits is toward the end, when Strether goes for a walk in the country and finally gets away from all those dull fucking awfuls, and your heart leaps, and then sinks again when Chad and Mme. de Vionnet show up, but you're still like "Strether has a plan! Maybe he will bring all their problems to a soothing catharsis and I will never have to think about them again!"

    And he sort of does, I guess. Anyway, I'm done with this crapulence.

  • (2/5)
    I've owned this book for close to 20 years. I've attempted to start is five times and made it only to the second chapter. I finally force myself to struggle through the entire book. Why? I'm not sure, but I did it. It was a struggle - War and Peace wasn't nearly as ponderous. With that being said, I was able to discern brief glimpses into the talent of James as a novelist. It would take me several readings of this to gain a full appreciation of this work . . . however, I just don't have it in me. I would have benefited by having read this one in an English Lit. class with a knowledgable instructor guiding me through the difficult terrain of The Ambassadors.
  • (4/5)
    An example of the notoriously convoluted late style of Henry James. The style has its moments in this novel of social and emotional complexities and ambiguities, but at times it can seem like grasping at air and nuancing the irrelevant without ever letting a shirt go unbuttoned or manners lapse from the highest standards of unquestionable propriety. Generally the soft focus and the constant dodgings and turnings and obfuscations make it frighteningly easy for the reader to plow through dramatic turns without noticing. There is great depth in this book, but some readers might not have the patience to uncover it because of James's style. Nonetheless The Ambassadors is a remarkable novel despite and partly because of the muffling effect of the writing. There are some wonderful passages that make an implicit case for the merits of slow reading.
  • (1/5)
    I hate leaving a book unfinished but the bore was unbearable. I just cannot understand where this author got his fame from : the story is nonexistent, the characters are totally forgetable and the style is so pompeous...
  • (5/5)
    This is a joy of a book, at least for those who love James, the tale of the irresistible education of a middle age American man into the vagaries of late 19th century European manners and mores.Thoroughly captivating and saturating, not a quick "read" by any means. More like one of those books in which you take up residence. Get a visa, consider leasing a flat; you'll be there a while. Of course, one could read it faster, but why! A book to savor
  • (2/5)
    Typical James sludge—a page and a half long paragraph of convolution that I had to read twice just to realize that all the guy was doing was wandering around, looking for a place to read a letter. Ugh! What is that famous HG Wells line? Something about, reading James is like watching a hippopotamus try to pick up a pea. So true!Slow going to the very last page. Because I didn’t get the main point of the plot, so veiled was it in Jamsien fog, I didn’t care about any of the characters and their dithering drove me up a wall.
  • (5/5)
    I read this in college, in a seminar on Dickens and James with Prof G Armour Craig (later interim Pres of Amherst College). I know I wrote one of my best papers on this novel, culminating in revelations at the ending: of course, Jamesian narrators are very surprised by sophisticated European affairs that more naive Americans are drawn into. Once home, I shall find my copy and look for my notes, to fill out a review.I still haven't found my copy of the novel, though I did locate my essay on it for Armour Craig's Eng 68, AmColl '65, which I dust off and--beware--publish. Start with some quotations, "Was it after all a joke that he should be serious about anything?" (124, dif ed). There was "simply a lie in the charming affair"(311). "'Ah prepare while you're about it,' said Strether,"to be more amusing.'Well, you are amusing--to me.' 'Impayable, as you say, no doubt,'But what am I to myself?'"(132)And I write, "James's education for Strether I suppose to work from a seriousness to an appreciation of art in human [French] terms, to a final, higher seriousness, the seriousness of personal core beyond art, known through revealing intimacy." "The critical problem with this novel focuses in the ending. I take the ending to be meant as 'serious,' a high American magnanimity manifested in final self-sacrifice. What Strether has learned is sufficient for his deepest happiness. But I think this is contrived. James ends the novel so completely that Strether is going back to a world which can in no way be seen in the novel; it is an 'other' world. 'Yes, he goes back other, and to other things," James says in his project for the novel.Strether has been offered the opportunity to live, but he sacrifices it 'to be right.' Yet he sacrifices for no alternative; he is gaining nothing but an escape from the world he has rejected. His education is a joke; he has learned that he is 'grey,' but he chooses to become even greyer. It is a joke that James's highest seriousness fails to open Strehter's path to intimacy." Oh, as for this edition I did not use in 1965, edited by Harry Levin, I once had a great discussion with him over lunch at the Shakespeare Association of America, or possibly the RSA. We happened to sit next each other at a round table for eight. I had quoted, depended on Levin as a T.A. in a Minnesota Joyce courses, as well as for my knowledge of comparative lit, and I had recently heard his fine talk on Shakespeare and certain other classics. But at the table we largely discussed my Amherst Coll Shakespeare prof, Theodore Baird, who had invented a great Freshman Writing course, he and my own freshman teacher, Armour Craig. On leave from Amherst, Craig had taught a Harvard novel course though his Ph.D. there had been in 17C lit. Baird was a renegade from Harvard, doubted its teaching of writing and sometimes its scholarly writing, too. Baird had been a student of Kittredge's, and always joked about his often dreaming of examinations: "Sometimes I do very well."