Cover: Henry James: Selected Letters, from Harvard University PressCover: Henry James in E-DITION

Henry James

Selected Letters

Available from De Gruyter »

Product Details


$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674335684

Publication Date: 10/28/1987

446 pages

16 halftones

Belknap Press


Harvard University Press has partnered with De Gruyter to make available for sale worldwide virtually all in-copyright HUP books that had become unavailable since their original publication. The 2,800 titles in the “e-ditions” program can be purchased individually as PDF eBooks or as hardcover reprint (“print-on-demand”) editions via the “Available from De Gruyter” link above. They are also available to institutions in ten separate subject-area packages that reflect the entire spectrum of the Press’s catalog. More about the E-ditions Program »

This splendid new collection of letters makes it easier than ever before to feel the superabundant intelligence, passion and variety of James’s intense personal life… James has an immense capacity for friendship and a voracious appetite for social experience. The array of famous men and women who appear in these letters suggests some historical pageant… In Paris, James meets Flaubert, Zola, Maupassant and Turgenev. In London he visits George Eliot (‘magnificently ugly—deliciously hideous…behold me literally in love with this great horse-faced blue-stocking’) and sees Ruskin, William Morris, Rossetti and Trollope… One finishes this collection with ever more affection and curiosity about this great American writer and altogether remarkable soul.—Richard Locke, The Wall Street Journal

The letters are avid, irrepressible, by turns mocking and rhapsodic, shifting in style from the ornate to the vernacular, punctuated by parodies of high-flown romances and sketches of local scenes and characters.The New York Times Book Review

Richly rewarding to all readers who wish to understand the complexities of James’s personality and the deep, often austere dedication to his art.American Literature

In style, James’s letters are like those described in one of his stories: ‘natural, witty, vivid, playing with the idlest and lightest hand up and down the whole scale’… The acuteness of the novelist’s eye and ear is everywhere apparent. We grow so used to his sharp eye and muffled heart that the occasional bursts of strong feeling startle and move us.—Joseph Coates, The Chicago Tribune

Whether humorous, angry or depressed, whether sending brief businesslike notes to his publishers or spinning out his gorgeous phrases for friends such as Edith Wharton or Henry Adams, James is always James—a writer who lived almost exclusively in the exercise of his supreme artistic gifts.—Greg Johnson, The Cleveland Plain Dealer

The letters provide a rich, fascinating record of James’ genius for friendship, his affection, his wit, his crowded, pleasant life. In their precise observations of the personalities and works of the most famous artists, actors, statesmen and writers of the period…they provide a wonderful record of the intellectual and social life of his time.—Richard E. Nicholls, The Philadelphia Inquirer

From the first letters there is evidence of James’s painterly art, his feelings for colors and textures, for shapes and tastes, for the blend of impressions physical and psychological that foreshadowed his novels. One follows them with the fascination that attends the development of genius made visible.Saturday Review

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