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In The Golden Bowl, the main characters are a woman (Maggie Verver), her father (Adam Verver), her friend (Charlotte Stant), and her husband (Prince Amerigo). Maggie seems to encourage Charlotte and her father marrying, and once they marry there is no indication that this is in any way unusual.

I am not sure how this would have read to someone at the time or if there is any sort of subtext I am missing. If this happened in a more modern novel or one from an era I am more familiar with, I feel that I would understand what types of tensions and psychological reactions would have been normal, even if they weren't stated.

Because James doesn't always lay everything out as clearly as one may like, I am unsure what I'm missing, if anything. Is this just a normal thing? Is it really weird and supposed to be a part of the novel that they all know it's weird but aren't mentioning it? Is it a class-specific or subcultural specific thing?

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    Could you clarify which aspect(s) of the relationships you are concerned about? Is it the age difference between Charlotte and Adam? Is it that Charlotte is friends with Adam's daughter Maggie? Is it that Charlotte is the Prince's former lover? Jun 16 at 11:24
  • The part about Charlotte being the Princ's former lover is more clearly laid out to me due to the comments and behavior of Fanny. It's the first two things I am wondering about -- the age difference and the fact that Charlotte is Maggie's friend. In modern times, I would think most people would find the idea really perverse. Maggie seems to encourage both Charlotte and her father to enter into a relationship and that seems very odd to me, even though nobody in the novel seems to find it odd. Jun 17 at 12:09

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