The Awkward Age
Companion in theme, period and setting to What Maisie Knew, The Awkward Age is another of Henry James's studies of innocence exposed to corrupting influences.
Nanda Brookenham is 'coming out' in London society. Thrust suddenly into the vicious, immoral circle that has gathered round her mother, she even finds herself in competition with Mrs Brookenham for the affection of the man she admires. Light and ironic in its touch, The Awkward Age nevertheless analyzes the English character with great subtlety.The Awkward Age, according to F. R. Leavis in The Great Tradition, ‘may fairly be considered one of James’s major achievements’.
The Awkward Age, which has been much praised for its natural dialogue and the delicacy of feeling it conveys, exemplifies Conrad's remark that James 'is never in deep gloom or in violent sunshine. But he feels deeply and vividly every delicate shade.'