First published by Scribners in 1904, The Golden Bowl was the last of the novels James published during what has come to be seen as his most productive and best period. It followed The Ambassadors in 1903 and The Wing of the Dove in 1902. The novel is essentially a study of character, concentrating on four figures, Prince Amerigo, an Italian aristocrat who is poor yet still charismatic, his partner Maggie Verver, the child of the incredibly rich financier, Adam Verver. The fourth character, Charlotte Stant, was previously Amerigo's lover, but this detail is kept from the Ververs. The essential plot follows the arc of the relationship between Amerigo and Maggie Verver and how the latter, on suspecting something more intense between Amerigo and Charlotte Stant, struggles to save her relationship, while at the same time avoiding anything too turbulent socially. Where at the start of the novel, Maggie is seen as something of an innocent debutante, by the close she has matured, showing her worth.