'Something or other lay in wait for him, amid the twists and turns of the months and the years, like a crouching beast in the jungle.' Henry James's devastating and profoundly moving novella is the story of John Marcher, a man who, for as long as he can remember, has been obsessed by the feeling that some life-changing - even catastrophic - event lies in wait for him like a jungle animal. Then the tragic day arrives on which the terrible true nature of the beast is revealed.
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Henry James was born in 1843 in New York, of Scottish and Irish ancestry. His father was a prominent theologian and philosopher and his elder brother, William, was also famous as a philosopher. He attended schools in New York and later in London, Paris and Geneva, entering the Law School at Harvard in 1862. In 1865 he began to contribute reviews and short stories to American journals. In 1875, after two prior visits to Europe, he settled in Paris, where he met Flaubert, Turgenev and other literary figures. However, the next year he moved to London, where he became so popular in society that in the winter of 1878-9 he confessed to accepting 107 invitations. He wrote some twenty highly popular and influential novels, including The Portrait of a Lady and The Bostonians. He became a naturalized citizen in 1915, was awarded the Order of Merit and died in London in 1916.
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