Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Rowland Mallet, expecting to sail for Europe in September, visits his cousin Cecilia in Northampton, Massachusetts. He is an idle bachelor, having inherited money, and he feels that he is leading a useless life. Having a passion for art, he is interested to learn of a young sculptor who lives in the town, Roderick Hudson. On meeting the intense, impetuous Roderick and seeing proof of his talent, Rowland offers to subsidize the young artist for a period of study in Rome and gains the assent of Roderick’s widowed mother. At a farewell picnic, Rowland has a last talk with Mary Garland, a distant cousin of Mrs. Hudson, who has been visiting in Northampton. Rowland realizes that he will not see her again for perhaps three years. In their brief acquaintance, she has come to mean a great deal to him, but on the Atlantic voyage, Roderick Hudson tells Rowland that he is engaged to Mary.
In Rome that autumn, as Rowland expected, Roderick responds to the stimulus provided by the art treasures of the city. He assimilates experiences readily and becomes eager to create masterpieces of his own. Rowland is pleased with his role as patron and nourisher of talent. One day, while Rowland sits with Roderick while he sketches in the Villa Ludovisi, the two companions observe a trio of passersby—a shabbily dressed man, a middle-aged woman, and a young woman with blue eyes, dusky hair, and perfect features. Roderick is enraptured by the young woman and yearns to model her,...
(The entire section is 1361 words.)
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