The Ambassadors

The Ambassadors is a novel by Henry James, first published in 1903. It tells the story of Lewis Lambert Strether, a middle-aged American businessman who is sent to Europe by his employer, Mrs. Newsome, to retrieve her son Chad from the continent. Strether is accompanied by his friend, the young artist Waymarsh, and the two men embark on a journey of self-discovery and exploration.

Strether's mission is to bring Chad back to America, but he soon discovers that Chad is not interested in returning home. Instead, he has become enamored with the culture and lifestyle of Europe, and has become involved with a young woman named Madame de Vionnet. Strether is initially appalled by Chad's behavior, but gradually comes to understand and appreciate the young man's choices.

Strether's journey takes him to Paris, where he meets a variety of characters, including the charming and enigmatic Madame de Vionnet. He also meets Maria Gostrey, an American expatriate who helps him to understand the complexities of European culture. Strether's interactions with these characters, as well as his own reflections on life, lead him to a greater understanding of himself and the world around him.

The novel culminates in a dramatic confrontation between Strether and Mrs. Newsome, in which Strether must decide whether to fulfill his mission and bring Chad back to America, or to allow him to remain in Europe and pursue his own path. Strether ultimately decides to let Chad stay in Europe, and the novel ends with Strether's newfound appreciation for life and his newfound understanding of himself.

The Ambassadors is a classic novel that explores the themes of self-discovery, personal growth, and the power of choice. Through Strether's journey, James examines the complexities of human relationships and the importance of making one's own decisions. The novel is a timeless classic that continues to resonate with readers today.