Get personalized recommendations and earn points toward a free book!
Check Out
The Bestselling Books of All Time
See the List

Library of America Complete Novels of Henry James

Henry James
 by

Book
$

Library of America Complete Novels of Henry James : Titles in Order

Book 6
Nearly thirty years in the making, The Library of America’s eleven-volume edition of the complete fiction of Henry James now culminates with this authoritative volume collecting his final three finished works. Considered by James to be his most finely constructed novel, The Ambassadors (1903) recounts the attempts of a conscientious American to convince the son of a friend to return home from Paris-and in doing so plays the charm of the Old World against the provincialism of the New. In The Golden Bowl (1904), an American woman marries an Italian prince while her father unknowingly marries the prince’s former mistress; James underscores both the fragility and strength of human ties and further develops what he once called the “complex fate, being an American.” Originally written for the stage but never produced, James reworked The Outcry (1911) into a highly successful comic novel of social manners that also deals with the ethics of art collecting. Included as an appendix is “The Married Son,” the chapter James contributed to The Whole Family (1908), a multi-author novel conceived by William Dean Howells and portraying a dysfunctional family whose struggles mirror the frustrated collaborative efforts of the book’s twelve contributors.

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 5
This Library of America volume brings together The Sacred Fount (1901), one of Henry James’s most unusual experiments, and The Wings of the Dove (1902), one of his most beloved masterpieces and the novel that inaugurated the majestic and intricate “late phase” of his literary career.

Writing to his friend William Dean Howells, James characterized The Sacred Fount, the only one of his novels to be told in the first person, as “a fine flight into the high fantastic.” While traveling to the country house of Newmarch for a weekend party, the nameless narrator becomes obsessed with the idea that a person may become younger or cleverer by tapping the “sacred fount” of another person. Convinced that Grace Brissenden has become younger by drawing upon her husband, Guy, the narrator seeks to discover the source of the newfound wit of Gilbert Long, previously “a fine piece of human furniture.” His perplexing and ambiguous quest, and the varying reactions it provokes from the other guests, calls into question the imaginative inquiry central to James’s art of the novel.

James described the essential idea of The Wings of the Dove as “a young person conscious of a great capacity for life, but early stricken and doomed, condemned to die under short respite, while also enamoured of the world.” The heroine, a wealthy young American heiress, Milly Theale (inspired by James’s beloved cousin Minny Temple), is slowly drawn into a trap set for her by the English adventuress Kate Croy and her lover, the journalist Morton Densher. The unexpected outcome of their mercenary scheme provides the resolution to a tragic story of love and betrayal, innocence and experience that has long been acknowledged as one of James’s supreme achievements as a novelist. This volume prints the New York Edition text of The Wings of the Dove, and includes the illuminating preface James wrote for that edition.

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
This Library of America volume collects four novels written by Henry James in the period immediately following his unsuccessful five-year-long attempt to establish himself as a playwright on the London stage. Hoping to convert his “infinite little loss” into “infinite little gain,” James returned to the novelistic examination of English society with a new appreciation for what he called the “divine principle of the Scenario,” “a key that, working in the same general way fits the complicated chambers of both the dramatic and the narrative lock.”

His continued interest in dramatic form is demonstrated in The Other House (1896), which was derived from the scenario for a three-act play. Set in two neighboring houses and told mostly through dialogue, the novel explores the violent and tragic consequences of jealousy and frustrated passion. In The Spoils of Poynton (1897), one of the most tightly constructed of James’s late novels, a house and its exquisite antique furnishings and artwork become the source of a protracted struggle involving the proud and imperious Mrs. Gereth, her amiable son, Owen, his philistine fiancée, Mona Brigstock, and the sensitive Fleda Vetch, whose moral judgment is tested by her conflicting allegiances.

What Maisie Knew (1897) explores with perception and sensitivity the effect upon a young girl of her parents’ bitter divorce and their subsequent remarriages. In writing the novel James chose as his point of view what he described as “the consciousness, the dim, sweet, scared, wondering, clinging perception of the child.” The Awkward Age (1899) examines the complicated relations among the members of a sophisticated London social circle almost entirely through dialogue as it depicts the shifting marital prospects of a young woman poised on the verge of adult life. Both of these novels insightfully explore the ambiguity of childhood “innocence” amid adult struggles over money, power, and love.

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
The three novels in this Library of America volume from Henry James’s middle period explore some historical and social dilemmas that belong as much to our time as to his own. The Princess Casamassima was published in 1886, a year that saw riots of the unemployed in London. It is a political novel in which anarchists and terrorists conspire within a fin de siècle world of opulence and glamour. The action ranges from palaces to slums, from London to Paris to Venice and back again. The novel’s hero, Hyacinth Robinson, is torn between his loyalty to revolutionary causes—for which he is about to commit an act of violence that may cost him his life—and his taste for the artistic side of aristocratic culture, represented in part by the beautiful, wealthy, compassionate, and yet deceptive Princess of the title. Possibly to save Hyacinth, she becomes romantically involved with his fellow conspirator Paul Muniment, a calculating political operative, idealistic and treacherous by turns. Assassination plots, sexual betrayals, murder, suicide, and the fierce play of conflicting loyalties—all these bring into play an intricate abundance of attendant figures, like the rakish Captain Sholto and the appealing but faithless Millicent Henning.

The Reverberator (1888) is a swiftly paced comic novel named after a newspaper that caters to the American public’s appetite for the “society news of every quarter of the globe.” Francie Dosson, the free-spirited daughter of a wealthy Boston family, innocently provides gossip to George Flack, a “young commercial American” who writes for the paper. His published report imperils her engagement to Gaston Probert, whose family is outraged by the airing of its secrets. James portrays the collision of easily shocked Old World propriety and self-assured New World naiveté with benevolent affection and spirited delight.

The Tragic Muse (1890) explores with a topical realism not usually found in James the conflicts between art and politics, society and the Bohemian life. It does so with dazzling glimpses of Parisian theater and of London aestheticism, as articulated by the flamboyant and idealistic Gabriel Nash. At its center are four superbly drawn characters. The fascinating Miriam Rooth is an actress of overwhelming egotistic vitality and dedication to her art. Her suitor, the diplomat Peter Sherringham, is impassioned by her theatrical talent even while asking her to sacrifice it for his career. Nick Dormer faces a similar predicament in his engagement to the rich Julia Dallow, who wants him to forgo his painting so as to make use of her fortune in pursuit of his career in Parliament. Full of witty talk and vividly dramatic scenes, the novel includes a vast array of characters such as the impressive political matriarch Lady Dormer. Perhaps more than any of his novels, it attests to James’s recognition of the costs of any dedication, like his own, to creative achievement.

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
Written in London and Italy between 1879 and 1885, the novels in this Library of America volume portray American women confronting crises of independence and possession. Studies in the exercise of power that marks relations between sexes, classes, and cultures, they show James’s special solicitude for the young heroines who occupy the center of his fictional world.

Washington Square (1880) examines the life of Catherine Sloper, a plain, sweet, young woman who lives imprisoned by the selfishness of those close to her: her lover, who cares only for her fortune; her aunt, who meddles for the sake of romantic intrigue; and her protective father, who repays her adoration with irony and wit. Set in the New York of the 1840s, Washington Square evokes the still-intimate city of James’s childhood while presenting a frightening moral lesson in the human consequences of manipulation and indifference.

The Portrait of a Lady (1881) is the story of Isabel Archer, a beautiful, idealistic, and inexperienced American woman who is made wealthy by her uncle at the instigation of her dying cousin. Surrounded by the seductive pleasures of nineteenth-century Europe, she preserves her idealism despite involvement with some who would divert her life to uses of their own—Caspar Goodwood, virile American captain of industry; Lord Warburton, scion of British aristocracy; Gilbert Osmond, connoisseur and collector of beautiful objects; Madame Merle, subtle and charming expatriate of unknown connections; and indomitable Henrietta Stackpole, roving journalist and steadfast friend. James’s many-layered masterpiece concerns the perilous American pursuit of individual freedom.

The Bostonians (1886) presents an unusual contest for the affections of Verena Tarrant, the lovely, naïve, and pliant daughter of a mesmerist lecturer. She is courted by two cousins: Basil Ransom, an impractical Mississippi landowner now pursuing a meager New York legal practice, and Olive Chancellor, a rich young Boston feminist. Against the richly textured backdrop of Boston and New York society, they enact a drama of confused identity and willful calculation that demonstrates the power and the perils engendered by the refusal of self-knowledge.

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
Here is an immensely engaging introduction to one of the great novelists of our own or any country, the first volume in the Library of America edition of Henry James’s complete works.

James’s first novel, Watch and Ward (1871), written when he was only 28, is a Pygmalion-type story in which a proper Bostonian gentleman grows to love and eventually marry the much younger woman whose guardian he is.

Roderick Hudson (1875) is a novel about a headstrong and proud young American sculptor of generous native talent who loses his way among the entanglements and temptations of Italy. 

The American (1877) was written in Paris and is filled with scenes of Parisian life, the expatriate culture of American tourists, and the closed and protective world behind the barriers of old families and traditions.

In The Europeans (1878) a pristine, conservative, 1830s New England village is invaded by two visiting cousins, brother and sister, from the European branch of one of the town’s leading families. 

Confidence (1880), a little-known and charming novel of American expatriates traveling through the great cities and watering-places of Europe, is a light drawing-room comedy about the romantic entanglements among two old friends and the two very different women they encounter.

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.

Find other titles in

Back to Top