Biography of Henry James Henry Jamesnoted American-born English essayist, critic, and author of the realism movement wrote The AmbassadorsThe Turn of the Screwand The Portrait of a Lady ; "I always understood," he continued, "though it was so strange--so pitiful.
In the books of Henry James, born in New York but later an expatriate in England, fiction took a different pathway. Like realists and naturalists of his time, he thought that fiction should reproduce reality.
He conceived of reality, however, as twice translated—first,… Early life and works Henry James was named for his father, a prominent social theorist and lecturer, and was the younger brother of the pragmatist philosopher William James.
The young Henry was a shy, book-addicted boy who assumed the role of quiet observer beside his active elder brother. They were taken abroad as infants, were schooled by tutors and governesses, and spent their preadolescent years in Manhattan. Returned to GenevaParisand London during their teens, the James children acquired languages and an awareness of Europe vouchsafed to few Americans in their times.
His first story appeared anonymously two years later in the New York Continental Monthly and his first book reviews in the North American Review.
Critics, however, deplored his tendency to write of the life of the mind, rather than of action. The stories of these early years show the leisurely existence of the well-to-do at Newport and Saratoga.
He wrote stories, reviews, and articles for almost a decade before he attempted a full-length novel. Two years in Boston, two years in Europe, mainly in Rome, and a winter of unremitting hackwork in New York City convinced him that he could write better and live more cheaply abroad.
With these three substantial books, he inaugurated a career that saw about volumes through the press during the next 40 years. During —76 James lived in Paris, writing literary and topical letters for the New York Tribune and working on his novel The Americanthe story of a self-made American millionaire whose guileless and forthright character contrasts with that of the arrogant and cunning family of French aristocrats whose daughter he unsuccessfully attempts to marry.
Much as he liked France, James felt that he would be an eternal outsider there, and late in he crossed to London. There, in small rooms in Bolton Street off Piccadilly, he wrote the major fiction of his middle years. In he achieved international renown with his story of an American flirt in Rome, Daisy Millerand further advanced his reputation with The Europeans that same year.
A great social lion, James dined out times during and and visited in many of the great Victorian houses and country seats. He was elected to London clubs, published his stories simultaneously in English and American periodicals, and mingled with George MeredithRobert Louis StevensonEdmund Gosse, and other writers, thus establishing himself as a significant figure in Anglo-American literary and artistic relations.
As a picture of Americans moving in the expatriate society of England and of Italy, this novel has no equal in the history of modern fiction.
It is a remarkable study of a band of egotists while at the same time offering a shrewd appraisal of the American character. Career—middle phase In the s James wrote two novels dealing with social reformers and revolutionaries, The Bostonians and The Princess Casamassima In the novel of Boston life, James analyzed the struggle between conservative masculinity embodied in a Southerner living in the North and an embittered man-hating suffragist.
His dramatization of The American in was a modest success, but an original playGuy Domville, produced inwas a failure, and James was booed at the end of the first performance. Crushed and feeling that he had lost his public, he spent several years seeking to adapt his dramatic experience to his fiction.
The result was a complete change in his storytelling methods. In these novels James pointed the way for the 20th-century novel. He had begun as a realist who describes minutely his crowded stage.
He ended by leaving his stage comparatively bare, and showing a small group of characters in a tense situation, with a retrospective working out, through multiple angles of vision, of their drama. In addition to these technical devices he resorted to an increasingly allusive prose style, which became dense and charged with symbolic imagery.
The first of the three novels was The Ambassadors By focusing on the clash of old world and new with works like The Portrait of a Lady, James came to be a significant figure of trans-Atlantic literature.
Throughout his career, his work reflected his background as the son of a philosopher and intellectual. Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ch. 1, Hawthorne, by Henry James, Next Nevertheless he virtually offers the most vivid reflection of New England life that has found its way into literature.
where the presence of his heroine was an essential incongruity. He was twenty-four years old, but the "world," in its social sense, had not disclosed.
One hundred years after his death, the life of Henry James remains a study in contradiction, says Bernard Richards Henry James: the old master from the new world and he wrote to him to. Henry James at eight years old with his father, Henry James, Sr. Daguerreotype by Mathew Brady, Henry James was born in New York City into a wealthy, intellectually inclined family.
His father, Henry James Sr., was interested in various religious and literary pursuits. * Go to The Henry James E-Journal, Number Review of Acting Beautifully: Henry James and the Ethical Aesthetic * - Review by Greg W. Zacharias * Go to The Henry James E-Journal, Number "In Defence of Henry James" *.
Henry James Sr. and Henry James Jr. - daguerreotype by Mathew Brady On July 28, , James was married to Mary Robertson Walsh (–), the sister of a fellow Princeton seminarian, by the mayor of New York, in his bride's house on Washington Square.