The Aspern Papers is a novella written by Henry James, originally published in The Atlantic Monthly in 1888. It is the story or rather the quest of an American editor – he is also the unnamed narrator of the story – to obtain a collection of letters by the American Romantic poet Jeffrey Aspern.
He believes that Juliana Bordereau, an elderly and ill lady who lives in Venice in a dilapidated old palazzo, with her spinster niece Miss Tina, in “obscurity” and “almost on nothing”, is in possession of these unpublished and priceless “literary remains”. In order to get access to them the narrator becomes a lodger of theirs, under a false name. He does not have a plan of how to acquire the papers but it did not make him too miserable, “for the whole situation had the charm of its oddity.” Meanwhile, what better place is to spend summer than in Venice?