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The Beast in the Jungle and Other Stories
The Beast in the Jungle and Other Stories Author:Henry James James's subtle mastery of the art of fiction is nowhere more evident than in The Beast in the Jungle, regarded by many as his greatest achievement in short fiction. It is a portrait of a man alienated from life and love with a secret neither he nor James can talk about. The Jolly Corner... more »ng> and The Altar of the Dead are two tales that explore the complex interlacings of loss, love and the ever-present past in the lives of their protagonists.
The Beast in the Jungle (1903) is almost universally considered to be one of James's finest short narratives, and has often been compared with The Ambassadors in its meditation on experience or the lack of it. The story also treats other universal themes: loneliness, fate, love and death. The parable of John Marcher and his peculiar destiny speaks to anyone who has speculated on the worth and meaning of human life. Among his last efforts in short narrative, The Jolly Corner (1908) is usually held to be one of James's best ghost stories. The tale describes the adventures of Spencer Brydon as he prowls the now-empty New York house where he grew up. Brydon encounters a "sensation more complex than had ever before found itself consistent with sanity".« less