Ivory Tower (New York Review of Books Classics Series)

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Overview

In 1914, Henry James began work on a major novel about the immense new fortunes of America’s Gilded Age. After an absence of more than twenty years, James had returned for a visit to his native country; what he found there filled him with profound dismay. In The Ivory Tower, his last book, the characteristic pattern underlying so much of his fiction—in which American “innocence” is transformed by its encounter with European “experience”—receives a new twist: raised abroad, the hero comes home to America to ...
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Overview

In 1914, Henry James began work on a major novel about the immense new fortunes of America’s Gilded Age. After an absence of more than twenty years, James had returned for a visit to his native country; what he found there filled him with profound dismay. In The Ivory Tower, his last book, the characteristic pattern underlying so much of his fiction—in which American “innocence” is transformed by its encounter with European “experience”—receives a new twist: raised abroad, the hero comes home to America to confront, as James puts it, “the black and merciless things that are behind the great possessions.”

James died in 1916 with the first three books of The Ivory Tower completed. He also left behind a “treatment,” in which he charted the further progress of his story. This fascinating scenario, one of only two to survive among James’s papers, is also published here together with a striking critical essay by Ezra Pound.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Late, piercing, morally incisive look at the unscrupulous rich." —The Guardian

"In The Ivory Tower, James was still experimenting with the impressions of his American tour….There is a vivid sense conveyed of the bright sea and summer air and the great, crazy, overdecorated “villas,” but the keenest impression is of the various people that the hero meets….The effect is as remarkable as anything that James ever achieved." —Louis Auchincloss

"James’s last novel…denounced, with all the delicacy and subtlety of his style, the world he had seen, at Biltmore, at Lenox, in the great houses of New York and Newport. He had reclaimed his American heritage, but he seems to have felt it wasn’t worth reclaiming. “You seem all here so hideously rich,” says his hero. [The Ivory Tower is] a dense and powerfully conceived work." —Leon Edel

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590170786
  • Publisher: New York Review Books
  • Publication date: 12/15/2003
  • Series: New York Review Books Classics Series
  • Pages: 266
  • Sales rank: 1,392,678
  • Product dimensions: 5.04 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Henry James (1843–1916), the younger brother of the psychologist William James and one of the greatest of American writers, was born in New York but lived for most of his life in England. Among the best known of his many stories and novels are The Portrait of a Lady, The Turn of the Screw, and The Wings of the Dove. In addition to The New York Stories of Henry James, New York Review Classics has published several long-unavailable James novels: The Other House, The Outcry, and The Ivory Tower.

Alan Hollinghurst was born in 1954 in Gloucestershire, England, and attended Magdalen College, Oxford. He is the author of the novels The Swimming-Pool Library, The Folding Star (shortlisted for the Booker Prize), The SpellThe Line of Beauty, as well as of a translation of the play Bajazet by Racine. A former staff member at The Times Literary Supplement, Hollinghurst is a frequent contributor to that and other publications, including The Guardian. Hollinghurst’s fourth novel, The Line of Beauty, won the Man Booker Prize in 2004. He lives in London.

Biography

Henry James (1843-1916), born in New York City, was the son of noted religious philosopher Henry James, Sr., and brother of eminent psychologist and philosopher William James. He spent his early life in America and studied in Geneva, London and Paris during his adolescence to gain the worldly experience so prized by his father. He lived in Newport, went briefly to Harvard Law School, and in 1864 began to contribute both criticism and tales to magazines. In 1869, and then in 1872-74, he paid visits to Europe and began his first novel, Roderick Hudson. Late in 1875 he settled in Paris, where he met Turgenev, Flaubert, and Zola, and wrote The American (1877). In December 1876 he moved to London, where two years later he achieved international fame with Daisy Miller. Other famous works include Washington Square (1880), The Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Princess Casamassima (1886), The Aspern Papers (1888), The Turn of the Screw (1898), and three large novels of the new century, The Wings of the Dove (1902), The Ambassadors (1903) and The Golden Bowl (1904). In 1905 he revisited the United States and wrote The American Scene (1907). During his career, he also wrote many works of criticism and travel. Although old and ailing, he threw himself into war work in 1914, and in 1915, a few months before his death, he became a British subject. In 1916 King George V conferred the Order of Merit on him. He died in London in February 1916.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

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    1. Date of Birth:
      April 15, 1843
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Death:
      February 28, 1916
    2. Place of Death:
      London, England
    1. Education:
      Attended school in France and Switzerland; Harvard Law School, 1862-63

Table of Contents

Introduction vii
Preface xix
The Ivory Tower 1
Notes for the Ivory Tower 199
On "Notes for The Ivory Tower" 261
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