Published in 1886, The Bostonians begins with the arrival in Boston of Basil Ransom, a young Mississippi lawyer in search of a career. Through his cousin, Olive Chancellor, Ransom comes to meet Verena, the beautiful daughter of a charlatan faith-healer and showman. When they hear Verena talk, Olive hopes to win the girl over to the feminist cause, Ransom is attracted to her looks, and a battle for possession of the girl begins.With its discussion of the situation of women and its uncompromising depiction of the city and the media, The Bostonians is a modern novel which is immediately accessible and relevant today.
Henry James (1843-1916) was born in New York and settled in Europe in 1875. He was a regular contributor of reviews, critical essays, and short stories to American periodicals. He is best known for his many novels of American and European character. Richard Lansdown is a Lecturer in English at James Cook University in Queensland Australia.