Here at last is the first volume of the long-awaited edition of Henry James letters by the world’s foremost Jamesian scholar, Leon Edel.
James was a superlative letter-writer; his correspondence constitutes one of the greatest self-portraits in all literature. In this edition Edel, respecting James’s view that only the best of a writer’s letters deserve publication, skims the cream of the fifteen thousand letters collected or discovered, many by the biographer himself, since the novelist’s death in 1916. In Volume I, the first of four, he provides a General Introduction and a necessary minimum of annotation, and prefaces each section—Boyhood and Youth; Beginnings; The Grand Tour; A Season in Cambridge; Travel and Opportunity; and The Choice—with an informative account of James’s attitudes and activities during the period in question. The volume closes, appropriately, with James’s decision in 1875, at age thirty-two, to move permanently to Europe.