Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Person of the Day: Henry James

JAMES, Henry, American novelist and essayist: b. New York, 15 April 1843; d. London, 28 Feb. 1916. He was the son of a clergyman, Henry James (q.v.), who gained fame as a writer on philosophico-theological subjects, first from the Sandemanian and afterward from the Swedenborgian standpoint. The novelist, known until his father's death as Henry James, Junior, was educated under his father's guidance in New York, Geneva, Paris and Boulogne. He lived in Europe with his parents during the years 1855-59, and after his return to the United States studied in the Harvard Law School in 1862. He began his literary career about 1865 as a contributor to American magazines, and soon afterward published ‘The Story of a Year, a tale of the American Civil War.’ In 1869 he took up his residence in Europe, and resided chiefly in England and Italy. 
In 1915, the year before his death, he became a naturalized British subject and on 2 Jan. 1916 was decorated by King George V with the Order of Merit. ‘Roderick Hudson’ (1875) was his first long novel. His subsequent novels include ‘Watch and Ward’ (1878), originally published in 1871, in the Atlantic Monthly; ‘The American’ (1877), by some regarded as his best; ‘Daisy Miller’ (1878); ‘The Europeans: a Sketch’ (1878); ‘Confidence’ (1880); ‘Washington Square’ (1880); ‘A Bundle of Letters’ (1880); ‘Diary of a Man of Fifty’ (1880); ‘The Portrait of a Lady’ (1881); ‘The Bostonians’ (1886); ‘Princess Casamassima’ (1886); ‘The Tragic Muse’ (1892); ‘The Other House’ (1896); ‘The Spoils of Poynton’ (1897); ‘What Maisie Knew’ (1897); ‘The Awkward Age’ (1899); ‘The Sacred Fount’ (1901); ‘The Wings of a Dove’ (1902); ‘The Better Sort’ (1903). 
He has also written a great many short stories, among which are ‘A Passionate Pilgrim, and other Tales’ (1875); ‘Pension Beaurepas’ (1878); ‘An International Episode’ (1879); ‘The Madonna of the Future, and Other Tales’ (1879); ‘The Siege of London’ (1883); ‘The Point of View’ (1883); ‘Tales of Three Cities’ (1884); ‘The Author of Beltraffio, and other Stories’ (1885); ‘Stories Revived’ (1885); ‘The Aspern Papers, and other Stories’ (1888); ‘The Reverberator’ (1888); ‘A London Life, and other Stories’ (1889); ‘The Lesson of the Master, and other Stories’ (1892); ‘The Real Thing, and other Tales’ (1893); ‘Picture and Text’ (1893); ‘The Private Life’ (1893), a collection of stories; ‘The Album’ (1894); ‘The Reprobate’ (1894); ‘Tenants’ (1894); ‘Disengaged’ (1894); ‘Terminations, and other Stories’ (1896); ‘In a Cage’ (1898); ‘The Two Magics’ (1898), consisting of two stories; ‘The Soft Side’ (1900), a series of stories; ‘Question of our Speech; The Lesson of Balzac’ (1905); ‘American Scene’ (1906); ‘Italian Hours’ (1909); ‘Julia Bride’ (1909); ‘Finer Grain’ (1910); ‘The Outcry’ (1911); ‘Small Boys and Others (1913). 
In very many of his stories he describes the life of Americans in Europe, and they depend for much of their interest upon the contrasts between American and European character and institutions. Though a very prolific writer, he was never careless, his style being always felicitous, while in respect to the substance of his work he ranked as the subtlest of American novelists. A dramatic version of ‘The American’ was produced in London in 1891, but neither it nor his subsequent play ‘Guy Domville’ (1895) was successful. He turned his intimate knowledge of modern French literature to good account in his volume of essays entitled ‘French Poets and Novelists’ (1878). Other works of a similar kind are ‘Transatlantic Sketches’ (1875); ‘Portraits of Places’ (1884); ‘A Little Tour in France’ (1884; new ed, 1900); ‘Partial Portraits’ (1888); ‘Essays in London and Elsewhere’ (1893). 
He also contributed the volume on ‘Hawthorne’ (1879) in the ‘English Men of Letters’ series, and in 1903 published ‘William Wetmore Story and his Friends,’ a notable biography. A revised definitive edition was issued of his ‘Novels and Tales’ (24 vols., 1909).
Encyclopedia Americana, 1920