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Library of America Collected Nonfiction of Henry James

Henry James
Henry James: Literary Criticism Vol. 1 (LOA #22) by Henry James
Henry James: Travel Writings Vol. 2 (LOA #65) by Henry James
Henry James: Autobiographies (LOA #274) by Henry James / Philip Horne, editor

Library of America Collected Nonfiction of Henry James : Titles in Order

Book 5
The most extensive collection of Henry James’s autobiographical writings ever published offers a revelatory self-portrait from one of America’s supreme novelists and his famous family. In 1911, deeply affected by the death of his brother William the year before, Henry James began working on a book about his early life. As was customary for James in his later years, he dictated his recollections to his secretary Theodora Bosanquet, who recalled how “a straight dive into the past brought to the surface treasure after treasure.” A Small Boy and Others (1913) and the two autobiographical books that followed—Notes of a Son and Brother (1914) and the incomplete, posthumously published The Middle Years—stand with his later novels as one of the enduring triumphs of his final years. Not only did James create one of the singular self-portraits in American literature, he also fashioned a richly detailed account of his renowned family, especially his father, the social philosopher Henry James Sr., his brother William, and his dear cousin Minny Temple, inspiration for the heroines of two of his greatest novels, The Portrait of a Lady and The Wings of the Dove.
Rounding out the volume is a selection of eight other personal reminiscences and, as an appendix, his secretary’s insightful and affectionate memoir, “Henry James at Work.”

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Book 4
Henry James’s travel writings are at once literary masterpieces, unsurpassed guidebooks and penetrating reflections on the international themes familiar from his fiction. This volume, the second of two, begins with the classic A Little Tour in France (1900), illustrated with Joseph Pennell’s exquisite drawings from the original edition. James begins his tour of the French countryside one rainy morning in mid-September of 1882, when he sets off for the city of Tours as a means of exploring the proposition that “though France might be Paris, Paris was by no means France.”

From Tours, Balzac’s birthplace, James travels to the great chateaux of the Loire Valley, visiting Chambord, Amboise, Chenonceaux, and Blois, where, as you cross the threshold, “you step straight into the sunshine and storm of the French Renaissance.” Dense with literary associations and historical echoes, James’s prose brings castles and cathedrals and old walled towns to life. In his glancingly precise visual evocations of terrain and cityscape, he realizes his ambition “to sketch without a palette or brushes.”

Henry James loved Italy, “a beautiful disheveled nymph” to England’s “good married matron.” The incisive and witty essays in Italian Hours (1909) describe memorably happy sojourns in Venice, Rome, and Florence, and excursions to Siena, Assisi, Perugia, Capri, Ravenna, and other Italian cities. “Nowhere do art and life seem so interfused” as in Venice, wrote James in celebration of the splendor of Venetian light and color, air, and history. He records his radiant impressions of Roman churches and aqueducts, museums and fountains, and rambles through the gardens of the Villa Borghese in spring, when Rome seems lighted “with an irresistible smile.” All these essays are filled with James’s intense pleasure in Italian places and people.

This volume concludes with sixteen essays on such varied places as Switzerland, Holland, Rheims, and the Pyrénées, including a memorable account of the American volunteer ambulance corps in Europe during World War One.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Book 3
Collected in this Library of America volume (and its companion) for the first time, Henry James’s travel books and essays display his distinctive charm and vivacity of style, his sensuous response to the beauty of place, and his penetrating, sometimes sardonically amusing analysis of national characteristics and customs. Observant, alert, imaginative, these works remain unsurpassed guides to the countries they describe, and they form an important part of James’s extraordinary achievement in literature.

This volume brings together James’s writing on Great Britain and America. The essays of English Hours (1905) convey the freshness of James’s “wonderments and judgments and emotions” on first encountering the country that became his adopted home for half a century. James includes the vivid account of a New Year’s weekend at a perfectly appointed country house, midsummer dog days in London, and the spectacle of the Derby at Epsom. Joseph Pennell’s delightful illustrations, which appeared in the original edition, are reprinted with James’s text.

In The American Scene (1907) James revisits his native country after a twenty-year absence, traveling throughout the eastern United States from Boston to Florida. James’s poignant rediscovery of what remained of the New York of his childhood (“the precious stretch of street between Washington Square and Fourteenth Street”) contrasts with his impression of the modern, commercial New York, a new city representing “a particular type of dauntless power.” Edmund Wilson, who praised The American Scene’s “magnificent solidity and brilliance,” remarked that “it was as if. . . his emotions had suddenly been given scope, his genius for expression liberated.”

Sixteen essays on traveling in England, Scotland, and America conclude this volume. The essays, most of which have never been collected, range from early pieces on London, Saratoga, and Newport, to articles on World War One that are among James’s final writings.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Book 2
Henry James, renowned as one of the world’s great novelists, was also one of the most illuminating, audacious, and masterly critics of modern times. This Library of America volume is one of two volumes of the most extensive collection of his critical writings ever assembled, with many pieces never before available in book form. It includes reviews of a great number of European writers, especially French writers, along with more general essays and the Prefaces Henry James wrote for the New York Edition of his works, published between 1907 and 1909.

More than one hundred reviews and essays are gathered by author, so that readers can trace the development of James’s complex, meditative, and highly volatile attitudes toward a wide spectrum of literature. James reviews the formidable Honoré de Balzac (with his “huge, all compassing, all desiring, all devouring love of reality”), Gustave Flaubert (“a pearl-diver, breathless in the thick element while he groped for the priceless word”), and Ivan Turgenev, the Russian visitor in Paris, with whom James felt great personal affinity, even though Tugenev “lacked the immense charm of absorbed inventiveness.”

James delivers his critical judgments with great elegance and point, especially when he discusses the performance of other critics like Hippolyte Taine and Augustin Sainte-Beuve, and, of course, he can be wonderfully acerbic. An early moralistic essay on Baudelaire finds Poe “vastly the greater charlatan of the two, and the greater genius.”

James brings his critical zest, exhilaration, and independence of judgment to bear on writers as diverse as Alphonse Daudet, George Sand, Victor Hugo, Guy de Maupassant, Théophile Gautier, J. W. von Goethe, and Gabriele D’Annunzio.

Readers will find, in the complete collection of the Prefaces, one of literature’s most revealing artistic autobiographies, a wholly absorbing account of how writing gets written, and a vision of the possibilities for fiction which critics and novelists of later times will find immensely instructive and liberating.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Book 1
Henry James, renowned as one of the world’s great novelists, was also one of the most illuminating, audacious, and masterly critics of modern times. This Library of America volume and its companion are a fitting testimony to his unprecedented achievement. They offer the only comprehensive collection of his critical writings ever assembled, more than one-third of which have never appeared in book form.

This first volume focuses especially on his responses to American and English writers; the second volume contains his essays on European literature and the Prefaces to the New York Edition of his fiction.

From 1864 until virtually the end of his life, James displayed an astonishing range and catholicity of critical interests, touching on nearly every facet of literature in America, England, and Europe. Here are his most important theoretical essays, including his witty and daring declarations of the novelist’s freedom in “The Art of Fiction,” “The Future of the Novel,” and “The Science of Criticism”—a gently ironic title from a writer who regarded criticism as a form of art.

Appreciations of Ralph Waldo Emerson (“I knew he was great, greater than any of our friends”), pungent comments (which he later regretted) on Walt Whitman’s “Drum-Taps,” and assessments of Louisa May Alcott, Edgar Allan Poe, his friend and admirer William Dean Howells, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Francis Parkman, and scores of other American writers are joined, in revealing proximity, to commentaries on nearly every important English writer of fiction (and some poets, such as the Brownings) during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

These reviews of English writers include James’s stunning essay on Charles Dickens’s Our Mutual Friend, his provocative discussions of George Eliot, and his tough but appreciative estimates of Anthony Trollope, Matthew Arnold, Benjamin Disraeli, Elizabeth Gaskell, Rudyard Kipling, Thomas Hardy, William Morris, Rupert Brooke, Ouida, Algernon Charles Swinburne, and Robert Louis Stevenson. Also included here is his great essay on Shakespeare’s The Tempest. All of these pieces are gathered under the author considered, so that James’s supple changes in attitude can be followed across the years.

Of particular interest, both critically and biographically, are James’s commentaries on Nathaniel Hawthorne, including his still-controversial book-length study of 1879. His estimates of his predecessor’s work remain highly debatable, but are perhaps more interesting as evidence of his own feelings about being an American writer of a later and, as he assumed, more complex time.

Finally, this volume includes two invaluable collections: his “American Letters” and “London Notes,” wherein, with unsurpassed tact and grandeur of mind, he introduces readers of his native and of his adopted country to each other.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
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