The Golden Bowl

 

The Golden Bowl is the story of two marriages entangled with each other in a complex and almost incestuous relationship. The place is England, the years 1903 to 1909.


Prince Amerigo, an impoverished Italian aristocrat, has married Maggie, the daughter of Adam Verver, an enormously rich American tycoon and art collector. The Prince has a prior affair with another American girl, Charlotte Stant, as poor as himself. Their last outing together is in search of a wedding present for Maggie. They find a golden bowl but finally reject it as being flawed.

By a strange twist of fate. Charlotte marries Adam Verver so that the lives of the four of them -- father and daughter and the two former lovers -- becomes entwined into one family. Bored by their new state of luxury, the Prince and Charlotte resume their old relationship. Maggie suspects and then discovers their affair through the fortuitous purchase of the same golden bowl that they had left behind.


The Prince and Charlotte may have thought to outwit the simpler and less worldly couple of father and daughter. But it is now Maggie who takes charge and manipulates the situation in an attempt to save the marriages. And finally, Maggie's father, who all this time has kept his knowledge of the adulterous affair to himself, takes the decisive step that brings the story to its startling conclusion.



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