About This Book
This was Henry James's first published novel, but it is clear that he was
already a master of his craft. A wealthy self-made American who really
does have everything including intelligence and integrity
meets a beautiful Parisian: his perfect woman. But is the gulf between
their cultures too wide for even his love and determination to cross?
About Henry James
The shy, bookish Bostonian, younger brother of psychologist-philosopher
William James, is acknowledged as one of the most influential theorists
of fiction in the English-speaking world. By the time he was 25, he
was a regular contributor to the prestigious Atlantic Monthly
and The North American Review and was hailed as the "Best writer
of short stories in America."
But it was not until the mid 1870s, when he was living in Paris and
London, that he began to find himself as a novelist. "The American" was
well received, and after publishing "Daisy Miller," and "The Europeans,"
in 1878 and "The Portrait of a Lady," and "Washington Square," in 1881,
Henry James was established as a major figure in world literature.
James revisited America in 1881, but after his parents' death in 1882, he
established permanent residence in England. He became friendly with other
great literary figures such as Robert Browning, Robert Louis Stevenson,
John Singer Sargent, Joseph Conrad, H.G. Wells, Rudyard Kipling, and
Edith Wharton, and ultimately became an English citizen shortly before
Between 1886 and the end of the century, he wrote and produced "The
Bostonians," and "The Princess Casamassima," and also several plays that
were less successful than his novels. Just before 1900 came his famous
ghostly story, "The Turn of the Screw."
But his finest novels were yet to come. In 1901, he completed "The
Ambassadors," (published in 1903). "The Wings of the Dove" was produced
in 1902, and "The Golden Bowl" in 1904.
James returned to the United States in 1904-05 where he wrote "The
American Scene," that expressed his concern for the increasingly
materialistic turn of American society.
During the last years of his
life, he edited and arranged the 24 volumes of the "New York Edition" of
his writings. These included 20 full-length novels, a dozen novelettes,
over 100 short stories, five volumes of travel writings, and five books
of essays. His novels are remarkable for their originality and insight,
their controlled intensity of emotion, and distinctive style.