The Patagonia


Henry James

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Tonight, we’ll read the opening to “The Patagonia” a story written by Henry James and published in 1888. Like many of James’s other stories, its origins were inspired by an anecdote relayed to him over the dinner table. It features a young woman on a long sea voyage going to meet the man to whom she is betrothed.

This story also exemplifies two themes James is well known for. One being the contrasts between old and new worlds of America and England. The other is of the ‘new type’ of woman or the ‘self-made girl’ who pushes against the boundaries of social convention – at a cost to herself.