Kate suspects that Milly is deathly ill. After the trip to America where he had met Milly, Densher returns to find the heiress in London. Milly finds out that Aunt Maud and her lovely niece, Kate Croy, know Merton Densher. Despite Merton’s unwillingness to stoop to the level of deception, his desire for Kate allows him to be manipulated by her. What is the symbolism in Henry James's novel The Wings of the Dove? Her Aunt Maud, finding Kate's father to be unacceptable for a young woman, takes Kate into her home, expecting her to marry well. The Wings of the Dove is a 1902 novel by Henry James. He comes home to find out that Milly has died in Italy, and—get this—has left him her money anyway. In his autobiography James said that The Wings of the Dove was his attempt to wrap her memory in the "beauty and dignity of art." How can Susan guarantee this, you ask? It tells the story of Milly Theale, an American heiress stricken with a serious disease, and her effect on the people around her. Milly is based on Minny Temple (1845–1870), James' beloved cousin who died from tuberculosis. He established the background of Kate and Densher's inability to marry because of a lack of money. Well here's the deal. Milly finds out from her doctor that she is ill (maybe even terminally ill) and she decides to take a trip to Europe with her older, overbearing friend Susan Stringham to get some healthy fresh air. Kate has also been working toward this moment, but only because she wants Merton to inherit Milly's money so he can then have enough to marry her. The doctor is noncommittal but Milly fears the worst. It is Kate's plan that Merton will make Milly fall in love with him, marry him, and leave all her substantial wealth to him. Kate’s own mind is set on a young reporter, Merton Densher, who works for one of the London papers. If she marries him, he'll turn down the money. With the threat of serious illness hanging over her, Milly decides to travel to Venice with Mrs. Stringham. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked The Wings of the Dove 26th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. The only problem is that Merton is a penniless writer and Kate's Aunt Maud won't support Kate financially if she marries Merton. In the novel, Merton and Kate become secretly engaged while Kate is living with her middle-class father. Merton, a newspaper journalist, is not seen as a suitable husband for Kate by Milly's Aunt Maud. By entering your email address you agree to receive emails from Shmoop and verify that you are over the age of 13. Another TV adaptation occurred in 1979 starring John Castle and Suzanne Bertish. They take passage on a liner and arrive in Italy, from where they traveled up the Italian peninsula and into Switzerland. Therefore, Aunt Maud tries to push Merton toward Milly so that he can inherit her fortune and stop pursuing her niece Kate. Aunt Maud has become aware of Milly's crush on Merton. It played the Royale Theatre (now the Jacobs Theatre) and was directed by Jed Harris. In the book's final scene, he tells Kate that if she wants to marry him, she'll have to do it without the money. Kate is constantly put upon by family troubles, and is now living with her domineering aunt, Maud Lowder. Merton Densher, played by James Donald, was renamed Miles Denshaw for this version. Playwright Guy Bolton adapted the novel for Broadway as Child of Fortune in 1956. Got it. Merton, though, feels very guilty about the money. Her travelling companion and confidante, Mrs. Stringham, is an old friend of Maud. Aunt Maud and Kate return to London while Densher remains with Milly. But as he also said in the preface to the New York Edition text of the novel, James had to prepare the situation that was to occupy Milly for the last months of her life. Enter Milly Theale, an extremely rich young lady from New York who develops a crush on Merton when they meet in America. Although Kate, Mrs. Lowder, and Mrs. Stringham know that she... Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this The Wings of the Dove study guide and get instant access to the following: You'll also get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and 300,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts. Kate Croy wants to get married to Merton Densher. While all of this is happening, Merton has a huge crisis of conscience. It is this deception and the ensuing moral battle that play out through the rest of the novel. Aware that she is ill, Milly goes to see Sir Luke Strett, an eminent surgeon, who informs her that there is nothing surgery or medicine can do to save her; he advises her to make the best of the time she has left. Her friend Susan, though, guarantees her that they aren't. Eventually, Milly and Susan take a trip to Italy, and Maud, Kate, and Merton follow along. Despite James’s overly critical analysis of his own work, The Wings of the Dove is considered one of his strongest novels, an effective transition between the Romantic literature of the nineteenth century and the psychologically oriented literature of the twentieth century. Lord Mark becomes infatuated with her, and Milly and Kate become fast friends. While he is in New York, Densher makes the acquaintance of a pretty young American, Milly Theale, who recently inherited a large fortune through the death of her parents. What is the symbolism in Henry James's novel The Wings of the Dove? At a party Milly gives in her Venice palazzo (the older Palazzo Barbaro, called "Palazzo Leporelli" in the novel), Kate finally reveals her complete plan to Densher: he is to marry Milly so that, after her presumably soon-to-occur death, he will inherit the money they can marry on. Quotations are for the most part taken from that work, as are paraphrases of its commentary. The Wings of the Dove Homework Help Questions. Composer Douglas Moore adapted the work into an opera which was given its premiere at the New York City Opera on 12 October 1961. © 2020 eNotes.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved. She withdraws from Densher and her condition deteriorates. © 2020 Shmoop University Inc | All Rights Reserved | Privacy | Legal. Mrs. Lowder has great plans for her niece and encourages Lord Mark as a suitor for Kate’s hand. A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics. Complete summary of Henry James' The Wings of the Dove.
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