The Altar of the Dead

The Altar of the Dead

Henry James

The Altar of the Dead

With an Appreciation by Joseph Conrad

Paperback edition
Digital edition


This book was published by Henry James in 1895 in the USA. It is a fable on life and death significance.

Henry James (1843–1916), who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1911, 1912 and 1916, was American but he spent the most of his career in Britain. He is still one of the most important writers of the 19th-century.

This book contains a special note on Henry James by Joseph Conrad (Henry James. An appreciation, 1905) and a detailed bibliography including all the publications of the Author.

This interactive digital edition includes Interactive Notes and Chapters, News about the Author, News about the Book, a very interesting Tag cloud of the Book and a link to connect to the Goodreads community to ask questions and share comments and opinions.

The Altar of the Dead


He had a mortal dislike, poor Stransom, to lean anniversaries, and loved them still less when they made a pretence of a figure. Celebrations and suppressions were equally painful to him, and but one of the former found a place in his life. He had kept each year in his own fashion the date of Mary Antrim’s death. It would be more to the point perhaps to say that this occasion kept him: it kept him at least effectually from doing anything else. It took hold of him again and again with a hand of which time had softened but never loosened the touch. He waked to his feast of memory as consciously as he would have waked to his marriage-morn. Marriage had had of old but too little to say to the matter: for the girl who was to have been his bride there had been no bridal embrace. She had died of a malignant fever after the wedding-day had been fixed, and he had lost before fairly tasting it an affection that promised to fill his life to the brim.
Of that benediction, however, it would have been false to say this life could really be emptied: it was still ruled by a pale ghost, still ordered by a sovereign presence. He had not been a man of numerous passions, and even in all these years no sense had grown stronger with him than the sense of being bereft. He had needed no priest and no altar to make him for ever widowed. He had done many things in the world — he had done almost all but one: he had never, never forgotten. He had tried to put into his existence whatever else might take up room in it, but had failed to make it more than a house of which the mistress was eternally absent. She was most absent of all on the recurrent December day that his tenacity set apart. He had no arranged observance of it, but his nerves made it all their own. They drove him forth without mercy, and the goal of his pilgrimage was far. She had been buried in a London suburb, a part then of Nature’s breast, but which he had seen lose one after another every feature of freshness. It was in truth during the moments he stood there that his eyes beheld the place least. They looked at another image, they opened to another light. Was it a credible future? Was it an incredible past? Whatever the answer it was an immense escape from the actual.

The Altar of the Dead


[Other books by Henry James]


ARTICOLI CORRELATI

Pubblicato

in

da

Tag:

Commenti

Lascia un commento

Il tuo indirizzo email non sarà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *