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Unlikely to arrive before Christmas
In this classic 1888 novella by Henry James, an anonymous narrator relates his obsessive quest to acquire some letters and other private documents that once belonged to the deceased Romantic poet Jeffrey Aspern. Attempting to gain access to the papers, the property of Aspern's former mistress, he rents a room in a decaying Venetian villa where the woman lives with her aging niece. Led by his zeal into increasingly unscrupulous behavior, the narrator is faced in the end with relinquishing his heart's desire or attaining it an an overwhelming price.