By Henry James
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Christopher Newman, the American, is perceptive enough to understand that his New World has neither included the rituals and traditions of the Old World nor transgressed them. To formalize this understanding he goes in search of evidence to make this a true belief. He earned his livelihood in the West. His frontier life was lived entirely where importance is assured not by morals or manners but by a shared guarantee that man act consistent with inclinations known and depended upon by everyone. Newman has a propensity for melodrama and yet performs his obligations with a strong defense against sensationalism and sentimental reaction. This defense has been finely tuned as Newman sat around cast-iron stoves and listened to "tall" stories become exaggerated but not collapse into falsehoods. Newman is a perfect example of the hoped-for American character: he is unperturbable yet friendly, keen yet trusting, confident yet reserved, convinced yet doubting. With extreme intelligence and exceptional congeniality, he recognizes the rewards of his travels in simple, straightforward forms. His sound judgement has not prepared him for the more inscrutable mysteries of the Old World. His uncertainties are indefinitely addressed and slowly redefined. Henry James presents a psychological journey as a reorientation of a basically good man who finds ways to maintain the honesty of his kindness. Please Note: This book is easy to read in true text, not scanned images that can sometimes be difficult to decipher. The Microsoft eBook has a contents page linked to the chapter headings for easy navigation. The Adobe eBook has bookmarks at chapter headings and is printable up to two full copies per year. Both versions are text searchable.