Book 1 Summary and Analysis
Lewis Strether, a middle-aged magazine editor from the provincial and Puritanical town of Woollett, Massachusetts, arrives in Chester, England, intending to meet an acquaintance, Waymarsh, who does not happen to be there to greet him. As he waits, he notices a woman who looks familiar. She comes up to him and begins a conversation without introducing herself. Strether judges her to be more civilized, but he asks himself, “More civilized than whom?” When he explains his situation, the woman claims to know Waymarsh, even having visited his home in Connecticut. She invites Strether to walk with her in the garden, where she eventually introduces herself as Maria Gostrey, an American who shows...
(The entire section is 868 words.)