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Some readers like the bright effervescent comedy of early James, where the dialogue can remind you of Mozart; others the grave majesty of his late style--those sentences that seem to pulse with the very force of thought. Nowadays, of course, he seems like the voice of leisure itself, of a world with the time to look and think and linger.

These are the novels and tales to which I return with the most pleasure—the ones I most look forward to rereading. The Portrait of a Lady - When James began this book he was a promising young writer with a special line in depicting the lives of Americans in Europe. When he finished it he had become a figure in the history of the novel itself. This story of a young American woman in England and Italy—of her stifling marriage and her desperate fight for freedom—stands as a link between two centuries.

An old woman guards a clutch of love letters from a long-dead poet; an editor wants them and will do almost anything to get them. James wrote many stories about writers and artists, and thought so hard about the relation of art and life that he burned many of his own letters and hoped that he would have no biographer. This story will make anybody who does write about him wonder about the claims of privacy and the inevitability of betrayal. What Maisie Knew - One reviewer said this novel was fully as indecent as if it had been written in French.

This family is blended in all the wrong ways, and little Maisie—whose age is never specified—has to puzzle it all out. For with Puritanism in tatters, just think about the possibilities for growth and change….

Henry James

His prose was never more epigrammatically brilliant than in this book about a stubborn daughter and a pigheaded father. Look at her, taking a moonlight walk with an Italian in the Colosseum.

An isolated house, a high-strung governess, two charming children, and two dead servants. Usually he shunned the multi-plotted novels of his Victorian peers. Here he pays them tribute instead, setting one narrative line in the world of the theater, and the other in British parliamentary politics. Each of them turns on the question of vocation, and neither of them really ends happily.

The Top 10 Henry James Novels

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He began publishing reviews and short fiction in various journals in the early s; he also produced travel writing based on his independent travels in Europe between and He published his first novel in , and followed this with a series of early works, many of which focused on the experiences of Americans in Europe.

After a few unsuccessful attempts at settling in Europe, he moved to Paris in , quickly followed by a move to London. With the exception of a few brief trips, he would remain in Europe for the rest of his life. Henry cultivated acquaintances with many of the major artistic and literary figures in both France and England in his lifetime.

He remained a prolific novelist, and also displayed a strong interest in literary criticism.

Henry was attracted to the idea of writing for the theater. After producing many unadapted scripts and one modest success in the s, Henry wrote a long drama called "Guy Domville" which opened to negative reactions in London in Although public opinion subsequently shifted and the play ended up being moderately successful, Henry was deeply traumatized by the initial negative reaction. He did however recover enough to write other theatrical pieces, some of which he later rewrote as novels.

Study Guides on Works by Henry James

Henry remained active late into his life, both producing new works of fiction and editing the "New York Edition," a twenty-four-volume collection of his works. He finally became a British subject in , and died in London in Unlike William, who married and fathered five children, Henry remained a bachelor his entire life. Though lacking in definitive evidence, some critics theorize that he was gay, pointing to what they perceive as homoeroticism in relationships such as that of Pemberton and Morgan Moreen in his story "The Pupil" and Peter Quint and Miles in The Turn of the Screw , or to James's facility with female voices in his writing an ability that may reflect a capacity for empathy rather than evidence of his sexuality.

Others suggest his cousin Mary "Minny" Temple as the object of his affection and posit her death from tuberculosis at age twenty-four in as the reason for James's celibacy.

Henry James and His Novels | Owlcation

James had spent time with her in Newport and based several of his heroines on her. Still others suggest that the injury that had prevented his service in the Civil War had rendered him impotent.

Washington Square by Henry James (FULL Audiobook)

James met and corresponded with a number of American and European literary figures of his day. Henry James is a large figure in the development of culture at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. The Ambassadors is divided into twelve sections called "books.


  1. Early life and works.
  2. National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH);
  3. Walking Out of Poverty Together.
  4. About the Author.
  5. Why Shoot a Butler?;
  6. John Banville: Novels were never the same after Henry James!

Later that year, the novel was published as a whole, though there were Henry James began writing The American while living in Paris in the winter of The novel first appeared in The Atlantic Monthly in twelve serialized, monthly installments from June to May In May , as the serialization Henry James first published The Aspern Papers in the Atlantic Monthly over the course of several issues in the spring of Later that same year it was released in book form. The novella has been universally praised as another manifestation of It was originally published in a volume of short stories, named The Better Sort.

During Henry James's youth, James came into contact with many of the literary greats of the time due to his family's prominence.