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Synopsis: Henry James's cousin, Minny Temple, was the "heroine" of his youth in New England; he saw her as a free spirit, "a plant of pure American growth". The writer Constance Fenimore Woolson was a friend of his middle years in Europe, a solitary, mature woman who pursued her ambitions with an intensity that matched his own. Both had an extraordinary impact on James, even (perhaps especially) in the wakes of their premature deaths.
Review: If you thought that previous biographers of Henry James had exhausted the field, think again. Lyndall Gordon--whose earlier work includes lives of T. S. Eliot and Charlotte Brontë--narrows her focus to examine the relationships James had with two women, a decade apart. The first was his cousin, Minny Temple, who contracted tuberculosis when she was 22. As she neared death, the vivacious, intelligent young woman dropped discreet hints to James in her correspondence that she would love to accompany him to Europe. He withdrew, and she died in 1870, only 24 years old. He would later use her as the template for such characters as Daisy Miller and Isabel Archer. Then, in 1880, James met the commercially successful author Constance Fenimore Woolson. During their 14-year relationship, the two not only inspired various characters in each other's fiction, but, Gordon suggests, Woolson set James on the path of writing metaphorically about the artist's life. But their relationship ended badly: he wrote a condescending essay about her in Harper's, which ensured her literary downfall; she ultimately fell to her death from a bedroom window (most likely, based on the evidence Gordon assembles, of her own volition). A Private Life of Henry James offers an unflinching look at its subject, demolishing the myth of James's solitary genius while respecting the complexity of his circumstances.
Title: A Private Life of Henry James: Two Women and...
Publisher: W W Norton & Co Inc
Publication Date: 1999
Book Condition: Used: Good
Book Description W W Norton & Co Inc, 1999. Book Condition: Good. 1st American Ed. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP12303673
Book Description W W Norton & Co Inc, 1999. Book Condition: Good. 1st American Ed. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP10743729
Book Description W W Norton & Co Inc, 1999. Book Condition: Fair. 1st American Ed. Former Library book. Shows definite wear, and perhaps considerable marking on inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP16265174
Book Description W W Norton & Co Inc, 1999. Book Condition: Very Good. 1st American Ed. Ships from Reno, NV. Former Library book. Great condition for a used book! Minimal wear. Bookseller Inventory # GRP92077371
Book Description W W Norton & Co Inc. Hardcover. Book Condition: GOOD. Good clean copy with no missing pages might be an ex library copy; Possibly may have minor marginal notes and or highlighting. Bookseller Inventory # 2704338597
Book Description Norton & Company, Incorporated, W. W. Hardcover. Book Condition: Fair. Bookseller Inventory # G0393047113I5N00
Book Description Norton & Company, Incorporated, W. W. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. Book has some visible wear on the binding, cover, pages. Bookseller Inventory # G0393047113I3N00
Book Description W W Norton & Co Inc, 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: Fair. 0393047113 hardcover in dustjacket. very good condition. name/date on front endpaper. light pencil underlining. light wear to jacket. very nice copy. Bookseller Inventory # 164099
Book Description W W Norton & Co Inc. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. 0393047113 Gently used. No writing/highlighting. Minor shelf wear. Bookseller Inventory # B1709-061
Book Description 1999. Book Condition: Near Fine. Pub by Norton, 1999. Hardcover with dustjacket in mylar. 1st edition. Book is clean and tight. DJ price-clipped, otherwise clean. Fine book in Near Fine dustjacket. ISBN: 0-393-04711-3. Bookseller Inventory # 61819