- Reviewed by
Three of the four books under review carry the imprint of UMI Research Press and confirm the high standards set by A. Walton Litz, general editor of UMFs Studies in Modern Literature. They also evoke the Henry Jaunes Society and its organ The Henry James Reviewbecause Daniel Mark Fogel, UMI's consulting editor for Jamesian studies, founded and brilliantly edits the HJR, because Leon Edel and Darshan Singh Maini (honorifically) and Adeline Tintner (actively) sit on its editorial board, and because parts of the three books in question appeared in it. These books, in other words, reflect a close and vital collaboration, and, despite some drawbacks, they are commensurately strong. Although eclectic, they have an eminent authorship; although familiar, they contain material not elsewhere readily available nor easily useable; and, although expensive, they are extremely handsome and durable. They are, all around, highly useful: anyone teaching or writing on James will find frequent occasion to use these books, will find them rewarding and pleasurable to use, and will find them able to withstand hard use.
A case in point, Leon Edel and Adeline Tintner's Library of Henry Jamesbelongs in the library of every Jamesian. This elegant volume features the editors' fifty-two page catalogue of "Henry James's Library: Titles from the Original Inventory and Various Collections, Augmented from Other Sources"—an earlier version of which appeared in The Henry James Review4.3 (1983). The catalogue, as Edel and Tintner note, "is by no means complete; but it comprises in till probability the largest part of the library." Even a complete catalogue, of course, would verify ownership only; one still would coordinate it with other sources to estimate James's actual reading. One also would search for marginal notation, as proof of reading and for content; and one wishes that Edel and Tintner had indicated, when possible, presence or absence of marginalia and perhaps even some quantification of it. Nonetheless, they provide standard bibliographical information, itself often revealing; note which books James signed; note the present location of the books; and also note that the university collections will provide typescripts of complete bibliographical details. They have given us, in short, a resource of the first importance.
The editors bracket their catalogue with Edel's "The Two Libraries of Henry James" and Tintner's "The Books in the Books: What Henry James's Characters Read and Why"—essays previously published in different form. Edel once again shows his remarkable gift for scholarly narration. He tells a history, at once documentary and memorial, of James's actuallibrary—its dispersed before and during 1931, its state when Edel first visited Lamb House in 1937, its fortunes after World War Two at the hands of the widow of Henry James III, the novelist's nephew; and he deftly shifts this history of executors, booksellers, and collectors into a romance of a second, ideallibrary, one that an "imaginary collector" of Jamesiana might assemble. Tintner, likewise, shows her gift for erudite exposition, [End Page 267]although this particular essay first appeared in the trade weekly for antiquarian book dealers and lacks the scholarly heft of her best work. Edel and Tintner together produce a nice symmetry, treating from different perspectives, for example, not only James's real interest in fine printing and binding but also his imagined books—those he invented for his writing and reading characters. They have addressed James's keen sense of the book as artifact, in sum, in a book designed with the same sense.
Tintner's essay recalls her Book World of Henry James, the central text of a trilogy also comprising...