Henry James

The Awkward Age

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The Awkward Age reveals a general treatment of decadence and corruption in English 'turn of the century' life. Mr. and Mrs. Edward Brookenham host an effete, rather corrupt social circle. Their children are worthless Harold and sweet but knowledgeable Nanda (age 18). Vanderbank, a young civil servant with little money, admires both Mrs. Brookenham (nicknamed "Mrs. Brook") and Nanda. Mrs. Brook seems to want an affair with "Van" but he appears more interested in Nanda. Mr. Longdon promises him a dowry if he marries Nanda. Mrs. Brook is instead trying to get her daughter married to Mitchy, a very rich but rather naive member of her social circle. But Nanda urges Mitchy to marry Aggie, the supposedly sheltered step-niece of one of Mrs. Brook's friends (the Duchess). Mitchy follows the advice, then watches helplessly as Aggie kicks over the traces and starts playing around on him. Van constantly hesitates about proposing to Nanda… Artist Bio Author: Henry James (1843-1916) was an American-born British writer. He is regarded as one of the key figures of 19th century literary realism.
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