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Ambassadors, The

chad strether paris cultural

a novel by Henry James, published in 1903. When Chad Newsome does not return from Paris to take up his family responsibilities, his mother sends as an ‘ambassador’ the intelligent and conscientious American editor Lambert Strether. In Paris, he gradually learns the reasons for Chad's desire to remain in the Old World culture, with its fascinations and satisfactions in the shape of the Mme de Vionet. Succumbing to the lifestyle, Strether abandons his mission, and another group of ‘ambassadors’ are sent to Europe after him and Chad, namely Mrs Newsome's sister, Mrs Pocock, her husband Jim, and Jim's inexperienced sister Mamie. The situation gradually becomes humorous as these people fail to understand how Strether and Chad have been changed. Chad determines to remain in Paris, whilst Strether is persuaded to return to the USA, even though this means the cessation of his attachment to Maria Gostrey, an expatriate who has accompanied his cultural education. The novel deals with James's abiding interest in the cultural differences between Europe and America, and the circles within circles of social and cultural groupings.

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