Summary Letters from Aspern

Henry James

Letters from Aspern

Researcher creativity of the great poet Jeffrey Aspern comes to Venice to get acquainted with his former beloved Juliana Bordero, who lives with her unmarried niece Tina in a big house and does not communicate with anyone. Juliana has Aspern’s letters, which the hero of the story dreams of capturing, but she hides them from all and stops all attempts of biographers and admirers of Aspern to make an acquaintance with her. Knowing that she lives in poverty, the hero decides to withdraw from her several rooms. Obsessed with the idea of ​​getting letters, he is ready to drag his niece to reach the goal. His old friend, Mrs. Prest, to whom he believes his plans, exclaims: “Oh, you look at her first!” In order not to cause Juliana suspicions, the hero is in the house as an American traveler who dreams of renting an apartment with a garden, and the garden in Venice is a rarity. Tina accepts him with timid bewilderment, but the courtesy of the hero, his assertiveness and the promise to bring the garden in order lead to the fact that she promises to talk with her aunt. The hero with a sinking heart is waiting for a meeting with the legendary Juliana, who turns out to be a suspicious and avid old woman, most interested in money. She requests from the hero an exorbitant fee for the rooms, and he even fears that by agreeing to it, will give himself away: no normal traveler would have paid so much. But making sure that, speaking of money, Juliana forgets everything in the world, the hero agrees. Juliana proudly demonstrates her ability to conduct business before the impractical and helpless Tina. She dedicates money to Tina, who adores her and faithfully cares for her. The niece treats the hero sympathetically, and he hopes to find an assistant in it. The hero settles in Juliana, but for a month and a half in the house he only sees Tina once – when he brings money, and Juliana does not see even once. He hires a gardener and hopes to achieve the position of the housewives of the house, sending them bouquets of flowers. Once, returning home at an unseasonable hour, he meets Tina in the garden. The hero is afraid that he embarrassed her with his appearance, but she is glad to see him, and suddenly turns out to be very talkative. He tries to ask Tina about Aspern and eventually confesses that he is engaged in his work and is looking for new materials about him. Tina goes out in confusion. Since then, she has avoided the hero. But one day he meets Tina in the big hall, and she invites him to talk with Juliana. The hero is worried, but Tina says she did not say anything to Juliana about his interest in Aspern. Juliana thanks the hero for the flowers, and he promises to send them in the future. The hero always tries to discern in the greedy old woman the face of the former Juliana – the inspiration of Aspern, but sees only the old woman who hides her eyes under an ugly green visor. Juliana wants the hero to entertain her niece, and he willingly agrees to walk with her around the city. Tina, not spoiled with attention, becomes more and more attached to the hero. She frankly tells him everything that she knows about Aspern’s letters, but she knows only that they exist. She does not agree to take Juliana’s letters and give it to the hero, which would mean betraying her aunt. The hero is afraid that Juliana would destroy the letters. Juliana suggests the hero to extend his stay in their house, but he has already spent so much money that he can no longer pay so much for housing. She agrees to a reasonable price, but the hero does not want to pay for six months ahead and promises to pay monthly. As if to tease the hero, Juliana shows him a miniature portrait of Aspern, who is allegedly going to sell. The hero pretends that he does not know who he is, but he likes the artist’s skill. Juliana proudly says that the artist is her father, thus confirming the hero’s conjecture about her origin. She says that less than a thousand pounds will not part with the portrait. The hero does not have such money, in addition he suspects that in reality she was not going to sell a portrait. Juliana proudly says that the artist is her father, thus confirming the hero’s conjecture about her origin....She says that less than a thousand pounds will not part with the portrait. The hero does not have such money, in addition he suspects that in reality she was not going to sell a portrait. Juliana proudly says that the artist is her father, thus confirming the hero’s conjecture about her origin. She says that less than a thousand pounds will not part with the portrait. The hero does not have such money, in addition he suspects that in reality she was not going to sell a portrait.
A few hours later Juliana becomes ill, and Tina is afraid that she is about to die. The hero tries to find out from Tina, where Juliana keeps Aspern’s letters, but in Tina two feelings are struggling: sympathy for the hero and devotion to the aunt. She searched for letters, but did not find, and if she did, she does not know if she would give them to the hero: she does not want to deceive Juliana. In the evening, seeing that the door to Juliana’s room is open, the hero enters and extends his hand to the secretary, where, as it seems to him, letters can be kept, but at the last minute looks around and notices Juliana at the doorstep. At this moment he sees for the first time her unusually burning eyes. She furiously hisses: “Wretched scribbler!” – and falls into the hands of his niece. The next morning the hero leaves Venice and returns only after twelve days. Juliana died, and she was already buried. The hero comforts Tina, He asks her about plans for the future. Tina is at a loss and still has not decided anything. She gives the hero a portrait of Aspern. The hero asks about his letters. He learns that Tina prevented Juliana from burning them. They are now at Tina, but she does not dare to give them to the hero – in fact, Juliana so jealously guarded them from prying eyes. Tina timidly hints to the hero that if he was not a stranger, if he were a member of the family, she could give him letters. The hero suddenly realizes that this clumsy old maiden loves him and would like to become his wife. He rushes out of the house and can not come to his senses: it turns out that he involuntarily instilled hope in a poor woman, which he can not carry out. “I can not marry a pathetic, ridiculous, old provincial woman for the sake of a bundle of worn out letters,” he decides. But during the night he realizes that he can not give up treasure, about which he dreamed for so long, and in the morning Tina seems to him younger and prettier. He is ready to marry her. But before he can tell Tina, Tina informs him that she burned all the letters, a sheet by sheet. The hero darkens in the eyes. When he comes to himself, the spell dissipates, and he again sees before him an odd, baggy-clad elderly woman. The hero leaves. He writes to Tina that he sold the portrait of Aspern and sends a fairly large sum, which he could not help out, if he really wanted to sell it. In fact, he leaves a portrait to himself, and when he looks at him, his heart aches at the thought of what he has lost – of course, referring to Aspern’s letters. that burned all the letters, a sheet by sheet. The hero darkens in the eyes. When he comes to himself, the spell dissipates, and he again sees before him an odd, baggy-clad elderly woman. The hero leaves. He writes to Tina that he sold the portrait of Aspern and sends a fairly large sum, which he could not help out, if he really wanted to sell it. In fact, he leaves a portrait to himself, and when he looks at him, his heart aches at the thought of what he has lost – of course, referring to Aspern’s letters. that burned all the letters, a sheet by sheet. The hero darkens in the eyes. When he comes to himself, the spell dissipates, and he again sees before him an odd, baggy-clad elderly woman. The hero leaves. He writes to Tina that he sold the portrait of Aspern and sends a fairly large sum, which he could not help out, if he really wanted to sell it. In fact, he leaves a portrait to himself, and when he looks at him, his heart aches at the thought of what he has lost – of course, referring to Aspern’s letters.


Summary Letters from Aspern