One of James’ most popular novellas, ”The Aspern Papers” is based on the letters exchanged between the English Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and his wife’s stepsister Claire Clermont. An unnamed narrator sets on a journey to discover some long-lost letters, reaches Venice, and then has to decide what to do with his mission and life at the same time. A philosophically and psychologically engaging tale, ”The Aspern Papers” can be read as a detective novel, romance, and a tragedy. The author pays special attention to the characters’ inner worlds, creating a compelling and intriguing tale, suitable for readers of James and short fiction alike.
Henry James (1843 – 1916) is regarded one of the greatest novelists in the English language. Born in the United States, but mainly living and working in Europe, he was largely occupied with the clash of personalities and cultures between the Old World and the New World. He explored this topic in his famous novels 'The Portrait of a Lady' and 'The Wings of the Dove'. James was thrice nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature.