'I had but hugged the shore' until Roderick Hudson, wrote Henry James. This is his first full-length novel and executed with such blazing, confident, thirty-one-year-old talent that even if he had produced nothing else, his fame would have been assured.
Roderick Hudson, egotistical, beautiful and an exceptionally gifted sculptor, but poor, is taken from New England to Rome by Rowland Mallet, a rich man of fine appreciative sensibilities, who intends to give Roderick the scope to develop his genius. Together they seem like twins or lovers, opposing halves of what should have been an ideal whole.
Roderick Hudson contains the obsessions that inspired all James's fiction but put across with a simple force and fire that he never quite caught again. 'Whatever the merits of "The Master" who wrote The Ambassadors, The Wings of the Dove, and The Golden Bowl,' observes Geoffrey Moore, 'they are not those of the "young Harry"for whom the writing of Roderick Hudson was such a pleasure, and a triumph.'