The Bostonians by Henry James, 1886
The bostonians is a novel by Henry James which was written in 1886.
Henry James deals with the romantic theme of friendship between women in order to analyze the phenomenon of Boston marriage (which was very spread at that time). The term Boston marriage defines the bond between two women which are economically active and independent both politically and intellectually (in this case the protagonists are interested in the feminist political problem: they want to claim for their rights).
This is the story of Verena (a very weak women) and Olive, who is hardly involved in the feminism political struggle. Olive discovers Verena's oratory natural talent and she considers her as a true partner.
Then the story changes when a new character appears on the scene: he is Basil, a man who thinks that women should be passive and yet his bigotry he will marry Verena.
The novel examines scrupulously the personalities and the behaviors of the characters, infact, this book anticipates the psychological realism and the theme of twentieth-century crisis.
Many critics argue that the novel is a condemnation of lesbianism but the true aim of James was analyzing the phenomenon of Boston Marriage, especially from a psychological point of view and focusing on the effect that this phenomenon had in society.