The Aspern Papers

Published in 1888, The Aspern Papers is a novelette by Henry James that originates from the later stages of his first great period of writing. It concerns an American editor who is greatly enamoured with the works of the early nineteenth century Romantic poet Jeffery Aspern. We follow him to Venice where he seeks the love letters that Aspern wrote to his mistress, Miss Bordereau (or ‘Juliana’ as he had called her). The editor takes on a pseudonym to protect his identity from her, and finds her living in poverty alienated from the world with her niece. He is accepted as their lodger since Bordereau wishes to protect the future of Miss Tina (the niece). In time he explains his peculiar mission to Miss Tina. As Bordereau begins to deteriorate due to a serious illness he leaps at the opportunity and rifles through her desk only to be surprised by the lady herself before she suffers a relapse. What follows is a sad case of the blackmail of a heart as the old lady dies and Miss Tina’s love for him becomes clear and she says she could only give the letters to ‘a relative’. In the end much falls prey of the doomed unrequited love but maturity and restraint hold sway in the end.

Table of contents
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9

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