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Henry James Letters, Vol. 4: 1895-1916

James, Henry

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ISBN 10: 067438783X / ISBN 13: 9780674387836
Published by Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1984
Used Condition: Very Good Hardcover
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Volume 4. 835 pages. Light sunning and edgewear to dust jacket spine, faint foxing to edges. Neat, tight copy. Record # 458231. Bookseller Inventory # 458231

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Henry James Letters, Vol. 4: 1895-1916

Publisher: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press

Publication Date: 1984

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

This volume, the conclusion of Leon Edel's splendid edition, rounds off a half century of work on James by the noted biographer-critic. In the letters of the novelist's last twenty years a new Henry James is revealed. Edel's generous selection shows us, as he says, a "looser, less formal, less distant" personality, a man writing with greater candor and with more emotional freedom, who "has at last opened himself up to the physical things of life."

The decade embracing the turn of the century is the most productive period of James's career. Happily settled in an English country house and now dictating to a typist, he is able to write The Ambassadors, The Wings of the Dove, and The Golden Bowl in three years. The letters show clearly how his fiction turned from his world-famous tales of international society to the life of passion in his last novels.

His new friends and correspondents include Conrad, H. G. Wells, Stephen Crane, Edith Wharton, and several young men to whom he writes curious, half-inhibited love letters. Mrs. Wharton, with her chauffered "chariot of fire," introduces him to the thrill of motoring and welcomes him into her cosmopolitan circle; to him she embodies the affluence and driving energy of the America of the Gilded Age. For the first time in over twenty years he revisits his homeland, traveling not only in the East but through the South to Florida and west to California. He is dismayed by the materialism he finds and the changed ways of life.
Back in England, he plunges into several projects; for the New York edition of his works he revises the early novels and writes his famous prefaces. His relations with agents and publishers as well as family and friends are fully documented in the letters, as are his trips to the Continent and visits with Edith Wharton in Paris.

His last years are darkened by a long siege of nervous ill health and by the death of his beloved brother William. But he carries on, moves back to London, and continues to work. Among the most eloquent of all his letters are those describing his anguished reaction to the Great War. To show his allegiance to the Allied cause, he becomes a British citizen, six months before his death. The volume concludes with his "final and fading words" dictated on his deathbed.

About the Author:

Among his many accomplishments over some forty years devoted to James scholarship, Leon Edel was the author of the monumental five-volume Life of Henry James, which won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. He was Citizens Professor of English at the University of Hawai‘i.

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