Henry James


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Henry James (15 April 1843 – 28 February 1916) was an American-born writer, regarded as one of the key figures of 19th-century literary realism. He was the son of Henry James, Sr. and the brother of philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James.

James alternated between America and Europe for the first 20 years of his life, after which he settled in England, ... more »

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  • Happy you poets who can be present and so present by a simple flicker of your genius, and not, like the clumsier race, have to lay a train and pile up faggots that may not after prove in the least com...
    Henry James (1843-1916), U.S. author. Letter, August 25, 1915, to poet W.B. Yeats, from private collection. This passage was later incorporated in...
  • The face of nature and civilization in this our country is to a certain point a very sufficient literary field. But it will yield its secrets only to a really grasping imagination.... To write well an...
    Henry James (1843-1916), U.S. author. letter, Jan. 16, 1871, to editor and critic Charles Eliot Norton.
  • ''He is outside of everything, and alien everywhere. He is an aesthetic solitary. His beautiful, light imagination is the wing that on the autumn evening just brushes the dusky window.''
    Henry James (1843-1916), U.S. author. Anthology Library of the World's Best Literature, vol. 12, introduction (1897). Said of Nathaniel Hawthorne....
  • ''We work in the dark—we do what we can—we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.''
    Henry James (1843-1916), U.S. author. repr. In The Complete Tales of Henry James, vol. 9, ed. Leon Edel (1964). Dencombe, in The Middle Years, origina...
  • ''In museums and palaces we are alternate radicals and conservatives.''
    Henry James (1843-1816), U.S. author. "Florentine Notes," sct. 3, Italian Hours (1909).
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