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The Golden Bowl. by  Henry James - First Edition - 1904 - from Raptis Rare Books (SKU: 78037)

The Golden Bowl.

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The Golden Bowl.

by James, Henry

  • Used
  • hardcover
  • First
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About This Item

New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1904. First edition of this classic James novel. Octavo, original cloth, gilt titles to the spine, gilt topstain. In very good condition with light rubbing and wear. A nice example. Set in England, this complex, intense study of marriage and adultery completes what some critics have called the "major phase" of James' career. The Golden Bowl explores the tangle of interrelationships between a father and daughter and their respective spouses. The novel focuses deeply and almost exclusively on the consciousness of the central characters, with sometimes obsessive detail but also with powerful insight. The title is taken from Ecclesiastes 12: "Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity." Named by Modern Library as one of the 100 Greatest Novels of the 20th century. It was the basis for the 2000 film, directed by James Ivory, and starred Uma Thurman, Nick Nolte, Kate Beckinsale and Jeremy Northam.


The Golden Bowl, Henry James’ last completed novel, is widely considered to be one of the author’s best works (along with The Ambassadors and The Wings of a Dove). In it, James continues to explore his favored themes of marriage, money, and psychological warfare. The novel, set in England, tells the story of American heiress Maggie Verver, who is engaged to Amerigo, an impoverished Italian prince. Maggie’s father, Adam, travels to London for the wedding and meets Charlotte Stant, a friend of both Maggie and the prince. In a nutshell, The Golden Bowl is about Maggie’s education on marriage, adultery, and the aftermath. The title of the novel comes from a Biblical passage, Ecclesiastes 12:6-7: "Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern… then shall the dust return to the earth as it was…” The golden bowl, first seen in a London curio shop, is used emblematically throughout the novel. The Golden Bowl is ranked 32nd on Modern Library’s “100 Best” English-language novels of the 20th century and 36th on The Guardian’s list of the 100 best novels. Adaptations include the highly praised 1972 BBC six-hour-long televised version and the 2000 film directed by James Ivory, starring Uma Thurman, Nick Nolte, Kate Beckinsale, and Jeremy Northam.

Read more: Identifying first editions of The Golden Bowl.


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book dealer
Raptis Rare Books US (US)
Bookseller’s Inventory #
The Golden Bowl.
James, Henry
Book condition
second hand
Charles Scribner's Sons
Place of Publication
New York
Date Published
The Golden Bowl First Edition

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Raptis Rare Books

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About the Seller

Raptis Rare Books

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers. member since 2012
Palm Beach, Florida
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About Raptis Rare Books

Founded by Matthew and Adrienne Raptis, Raptis Rare Books is an antiquarian book firm that specializes in literature, children's books, economics, photo books, signed and inscribed books, and landmark books in all fields. Our business model is simple: we strive to handle books that are in exceptional condition and to provide exceptional customer service. We are proud members of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA) and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) and exhibit at major book fairs in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston, as well as other regional fairs.


Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

Abrasion or wear to the surface. Usually used in reference to a book's boards or dust-jacket.
The outer portion of a book which covers the actual binding. The spine usually faces outward when a book is placed on a shelf.... [more]
"Cloth-bound" generally refers to a hardcover book with cloth covering the outside of the book covers. The cloth is stretched... [more]
The decorative application of gold or gold coloring to a portion of a book on the spine, edges of the text block, or an inlay in... [more]
Another of the terms referring to page or book size, octavo refers to a standard printer's sheet folded four times, producing... [more]
First Edition
In book collecting, the first edition is the earliest published form of a book. A book may have more than one first edition in... [more]

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