Henry James

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Overview

One of the most influential novelists, Henry James led a life that was as rich as his writing. Born into an eccentric and difficult family, he left the United States for Europe, where he quickly became a fixture of the expatriate writing community. Fred Kaplan recreates the world of Henry James: his friendships with Edith Wharton and Joseph Conrad, his love of all things exquisite—including exquisite writing—and his quest for understanding human nature. As James himself advocated and would have wanted, this is an...

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Overview

One of the most influential novelists, Henry James led a life that was as rich as his writing. Born into an eccentric and difficult family, he left the United States for Europe, where he quickly became a fixture of the expatriate writing community. Fred Kaplan recreates the world of Henry James: his friendships with Edith Wharton and Joseph Conrad, his love of all things exquisite—including exquisite writing—and his quest for understanding human nature. As James himself advocated and would have wanted, this is an artful, dramatic biography, placing the chronological narrative of James's life in the historical context of his times.

"The twenty-one-year-old Henry James, Jr., preferred to be a writer rather than a soldier. His motives for writing were clear to himself, and they were not unusual: he desired fame and fortune. Whatever additional enriching complications that were to make him notorious for the complexity of his style and thought, the initial motivation remained constant. Deeply stubborn and persistently willful, he wanted praise and money, the rewards of recognition of what he believed to be his genius, on terms that he himself wanted to establish. The one battle he thought most worth fighting was that of the imagination for artistic expression. The one empire he most coveted, the land that he wanted for his primary home, was the empire of art."—from Henry James: The Imagination of Genius

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

<I>New York Times Book Review</I>

"A good up-to-date one-volume life of Henry James was long overdue; Fred Kaplan... has done the job splendidly with Henry James: The Imagination of Genius... Here, at last, is a thoughtful, balanced book to give us a consistent and persuasive account of the writer's life and his development as an author."—,

— Miranda Seymour

New York Times Book Review - Miranda Seymour

A good up-to-date one-volume life of Henry James was long overdue; Fred Kaplan... has done the job splendidly with Henry James: The Imagination of Genius... Here, at last, is a thoughtful, balanced book to give us a consistent and persuasive account of the writer's life and his development as an author.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801862717
  • Publisher: Hopkins Fulfillment Service
  • Publication date: 11/5/1999
  • Pages: 672
  • Sales rank: 1,019,190
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 1.35 (d)

Meet the Author

Fred Kaplan is the author of Miracles of Rare Devices; Dickens and Mesmerism; Thomas Carlyle, A Biography (nominated for the 1983 National Book Critics Circle Award and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize); Sacred Tears; Gore Vidal: A Biography; and Dickens: A Biography, the last available in paperback from Johns Hopkins.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Illustrations ix
Chapter 1 Remembered Scenes, 1843-1855 3
Chapter 2 Belonging, 1855-1860 27
Chapter 3 "Garlands and Lights," 1860-1867 46
Chapter 4 "An Absolute Remedy," 1867-1870 79
Chapter 5 "Cats and Monkeys," 1870-1875 118
Chapter 6 "Permanent Headquarters," 1875-1878 158
Chapter 7 "The Sentimental Traveller," 1878-1881 195
Chapter 8 "Never to Return," 1881-1883 231
Chapter 9 "The Great Money-Question," 1883-1888 265
Chapter 10 "Miss Grief," 1886-1891 305
Chapter 11 "The Dark Abyss," 1888-1895 346
Chapter 12 Passionate Friendships, 1894-1900 387
Chapter 13 The New Century, 1900-1904 430
Chapter 14 "Closing the Gates," 1904-1910 478
Chapter 15 The Imperial Eagle, 1910-1916 522
Notes 567
Acknowledgments 597
Index 599
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