The Aspern Papers Characters

The Aspern Papers Character List

The Narrator

He is an unnamed literary scholar obsessed with learning about the life and works of his idol, legendary (and fictional) painter, Jeffrey Aspern, and will do anything to obtain papers believed to be residing with Aspern's former mistress, Juliana Bordereau.

Juliana Bordereau

She is a reclusive American who has resided in Venice, Italy, for a long time, and is Jeffrey Aspern's former mistress. She is now old, and shrunken with age, but the narrator becomes interested in her due to her apparent possession of papers belonging to Aspern himself.

Tita Bordereaux

She is a tall, thin, middle-aged, American lady, and Juliana's niece. When the narrator broaches the subject of the papers to her, she timidly agrees to help him search for them. After her aunt dies, she cannot decide whether to respect Juliana's privacy, or give the narrator the papers. Towards the end, Tita puts forth the idea of marriage, but is rebuffed by the narrator, and she delights in telling him how she burnt the papers one by one. Seeing her in a new light, the narrator now claims that she is "plain, dingy, elderly," but not "hard or vindictive." In 1908, the Aspern Papers were revised, and Tita is called Tina.

Mrs. Prest

She is the narrator's confidant. Expatriated from America, she has lived in Venice for fifteen years. She encourages him to rent rooms from Juliana Bordereau, and bombard her with flowers. She is modelled partly on Henry James' socialite friend, Katherine De Kay Bronson.

John Cumnor

He is another admirer of Aspern's work, and is a British editor. He does not actually appear in the story, but he is the motivating force that encouraged the narrator to seek the papers in Venice, and obtain them by any means necessary.


She is the Venetian lawyer friend of the Bordereraus.

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