T H E . O U T C R Y
I've edited a new edition of this for Penguin Modern Classics.
Outcry is the last novel Henry James completed. First published in 1911,
it was the fastest-selling of all his books.
Basing his tale upon a real-life scandal, James created an exquisite drawing-room
comedy of art, artfulness, love and greed.
This is the prospectus that James originally wrote for the novel:
The Outcry deals with a question sharply brought home of
late to the conscience of English Society - that of the degree in which the
fortunate owners of precious and hitherto transmitted works of art hold them
in trust, as it were, for the nation, and may themselves, as lax guardians,
be held to account by public opinion. Mr. Henry Jamess study of the
larger morality of the matter, if we may so call it, and which is the case
of a lax rather than a jealous guardian, becomes conspicuous and acute. Hence
springs the drama, almost a national as well as a personal crisis - a rapid,
precipitated action, moving through difficulties to a happy issue.