The Tree of Knowledge tells the story of Morgan Mallow, a tal?ntless sculptor and his friend, Peter Brench. Peter wants to keep his friend s wife and son from discovering Morgan s lack of talent by convincing the mother not to send the boy to Paris to study art. Peter Brench ends up losing his innocence, his illusions, through an experience with his godson, Lancelot Mallow. At the core of the story is the idea of an education-the power of knowledge which can destroy all convenient illusions. The narrative refers to the Biblical Tree of Knowledge from which Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit. Henry James (1843 - 1916) is regarded one of the greatest novelists in the English language. Born in the United States, but mainly living and working in Europe, he was largely occupied with the clash of personalities and cultures between the Old World and the New World. He explored this topic in his famous novels The Portrait of a Lady and The Wings of the Dove . James was thrice nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature.