A journey to henry james life the master portrayer of the american character

His parents were Henry James Sr. Henry James had three brothers and one sister. According to family legend, the ancestor arrived with a very small sum of money and later gained a small fortune through the establishment of a store in New York. Later, he ventured into banking and the manufacture of salt which paved his way as a powerful man in the upper Hudson area.

A journey to henry james life the master portrayer of the american character

Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. This may be one of the reasons why it took me so long to write fiction.

The saying goes that writing a dissertation is the surest obstacle to writing anything that anyone would read, and writing about great literature as I did in my dissertation is bound to make writing even mediocre fiction all the harder.

I suffered under this curse for many years, writing plenty of books of the academic sort -- which is to say, books that no one read. I owe my breakthrough to Jane Austen. I had written about Austen in that dissertation and had taken great pleasure teaching her to undergraduates. This was in the s, at the beginning of the great tidal wave of Austen-mania, when the first of a spate of adaptations of her novels had begun to appear on screen.

It was as though her novels had been waiting for the cinematic medium to jump-start her popularity with a mass audience. When I wrote Jane Austen in Boca Pride and Prejudice set in a Jewish retirement community in Florida, as the ad copy succinctly put itI was riding the wave that these movies had set in motion.

My editor encouraged me to continue my Jane Austen series, because, as she put it, "Jane Austen is a bestselling brand. If Jane Austen, with her elegant novelistic structure and unerring wit, was my first teacher, my greatest influence in the realm of ideas was Henry James.

I always loved his fiction but I also reveled in his nonfiction: I was intrigued by the complex dynamics of the James family, and saw points of correspondence to my own family. And so, when I decided to make Henry James central to my next novel, it was not by imitating his plots but by co-opting his character as I had come to understood it.

Hence, my latest book-- my first thriller and my first foray into historical fiction -- What Alice Knew: Not only, as the title makes clear, does Henry James figure in this tale as a character, but so does his brother William, the eminent philosopher and father of modern American psychology, as well as their brilliant invalid sister, Alice.

Placing these characters in London as Jack the Ripper terrorizes the city allowed me to make use of my knowledge of Victorian culture and of the dynamics of the James family while writing a sometimes-funny, sometimes-macabre story of murder and mayhem.

Just as my first novel, Jane Austen in Boca, stood near the beginning of a wave of Austen-mania, I believe that What Alice Knew stands at the beginning of a Jamesian tsunami. But the possibilities for adapting James seem to me unrealized. Any number of his books could be imaginatively adapted to fiction or film, and so much of his life and his character are rich in fictional potential.

Admittedly, James does not have the crisp externality that we associate with Jane Austen.

A journey to henry james life the master portrayer of the american character

I predict that we will see more of Henry James in the coming decade. Meanwhile, I hope that readers will enjoy my contribution to what I hope to be a new literary fad.James' hero is too pure to be real but nevertheless I enjoyed having such a strong lead character.

And, there are many side characters and plots that are also intriguing. I don't want to give away any more of the plot but feel I can highly recommend it particularly if you like classics/5(45). - Henry James. One might enumerate the items of high civilization, as it exists in other countries, which are absent from the texture of American life, until it should become a wonder to know what was left.

- Henry James. People talk about the conscience, but it seems to me one must just bring it up to a certain point and leave it there. Sep 01,  · Not only, as the title makes clear, does Henry James figure in this tale as a character, but so does his brother William, the eminent philosopher and father of modern American .

Henry James’s career was one of the longest and most productive—and most influential—in American letters. A master of prose fiction from the first, he practiced it as a fertile innovator, enlarged the form, and placed upon it the stamp of a highly individual method and style.

A journey to henry james life the master portrayer of the american character

Henry James: The Turn of the Screw Give the author and title: the narrator discusses seeing a man around the country manner with the maid, Mrs.

Grose, who identifies the strange man as Peter Quint, the former valet who is now dead. Henry James, age 11, with his father, Henry James Sr.— daguerreotype by Mathew Brady James was born at 2 Washington Place in New York City on 15 .

The American (novel) - Wikipedia