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Summary

One of the wittiest and most scathing of Henry James' novellas, The Aspern Papers chronicles the attempt to extract the valuable letters of the famous and recently deceased poet Jeffrey Aspern from the hands of his past lover and formidable adversary in the battle, Juliana Bordereau.

The plot was reputedly suggested to James by a story he heard of an illicit attempt to get hold of several of Lord Byron's letters. Set in a gloriously described Venice, James winds the tension of the story around the efforts of the annoymous and amoral hero to enveigle his way into the trust of Bordereau via the arms of her spinster sister. The suspense of the tale builds right up until the last moment of the story with a beautiful twist in the tale.

James himself hated any form of intrusion into his privacy, and the sense of danger with which he fills the story as the papers get closer to being obtained and published stirs the suspense of the story right up until the last minute, when the beautiful twist in the tale is revealed.

Public Domain (P)2007 Silksoundbooks Limited

What listeners say about The Aspern Papers

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Jeremy Northam excellent

This timeless tale is beautifully written and narrated
by Jeremy Northam. His delivery is perfect.

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Classic story/Superbly told

Henry James observing human nature, at his very best - with the perfect narrator, Jeremy Northam.

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  • Beyler Francois
  • 07-01-18

Cat and mouse

This is a beautifully written story of a game of cat and mouse, but who is who?
The setting in Venice plays also a great role.
Jeremy Northam's interpretation is perfect.

All in all a very great pleasure in all aspects.

6 people found this helpful

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  • An Amazonian
  • 02-05-20

1888 edition

The aspern papers was first published in 1888, and then published in a revised final version in 1908. this is the 1888 version, in which one of the main characters is named Miss Tita. she was renamed Tina in the 1908 version, so I was puzzled as I was listening until I discovered this fact

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous
  • 15-01-20

Perfect narration.

Jeremy Northam let's me do the reading. Is there anyway way we can we get him to record all of Henry James' works?

2 people found this helpful

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  • dinahnsc
  • 15-07-16

Perfect

Henry James writes beautifully the truth of human nature and human experience. He is divine.

4 people found this helpful

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  • lucialvarez
  • 17-09-21

Great story

A wonderful setting (Venice) and very original, well drawn characters. Henry James at his best.

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  • Kaui
  • 26-08-20

delightful novella by one of the very best authors

This is a delightful novella about the lengths an anonymous narrator will go to merely to get his hands on some private papers of a very famous poet (now deceased). His narration reflects upon various schemes and encounters with the poet's one-time paramour and her elderly niece. Henry James was apparently a very private man and thus the idea of his own personal papers becoming publicly accessible was probably a very real concern for him. Since he often writes about ghosts and horror, this topic is covered representatively. I enjoyed it and of course, the twist in the end was awesome.