Good edition of The Ambassadors
October 14, 2011 12:26 PM   Subscribe

Could someone suggest a nice reading edition of Henry James's The Ambassadors?

It doesn’t have to be in print, but it should have good textual authority.
Also - doesn’t have to have been “edited” – notes, intro, etc. - but it could be. Also, could be paper or hardcover.

As a bonus -- is there an (online) source for respected opinions on recommended editions of the classics? I used to own a book (a sort of "guide to world literature") that recommended particular editions to read. It's probably long out of print.

When I was more current in academia, I knew that there were generally accepted opinions about such things -- or at least, the field was narrowed down to two or three editions.
posted by feelinggood to Writing & Language (3 answers total)
Before verstegan or someone comes along to blow your mind I'll say that I've always liked the Penguin Classics version edited by Harry Levin. It's based on the New York Edition (and includes his preface) but has the correct ordering of chapters XXI and XXII which had been jumbled up in the first American edition and carried over into the New York Edition. Notes are pretty minimal but it's got a decent introduction.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 12:49 PM on October 14, 2011

That said for pure reading pleasure I kind of prefer the New York Edition, of which the Ambassadors makes up volumes 21 and 22. The books have a good heft, the text is pleasingly laid out, and the paper has a nice look to it.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 12:58 PM on October 14, 2011

I don't know about textural authority, but when I've wanted to treat myself and buy a really nice edition of a classic (for me that Chandler or James M. Cain), I've bought the Everyman's Library edition. The older editions are okay, but the (hardback) versions they are currently making are just gorgeous books. All the points that villanelles lists, font, layout (gutter and margins), page color and weight, make them a pleasure to read.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:34 PM on October 14, 2011

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