Literary significance and criticism
The Wings of the Dove has one of the strongest critical positions of any of James' works, although James himself sometimes expressed dissatisfaction with it. In his preface to the New York Edition, James spent much time confessing to supposed faults in the novel: defective structure, characters not as well presented as they could be, and a general failure to realize his initial plan for the book.
By and large, critics have regarded these faults as venial or nonexistent. Instead, they've concentrated on the central characters and supporting cast, and the technique that James uses in their presentation.
In 1998, the Modern Library ranked The Wings of the Dove 26th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.