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The Henry James Collection at McMaster University by Bruce Whiteman, McMaster University Library For some year, the Division of Archives and Research CoUections at McMaster University Library in Hamilton, Canada, has been actively coUecting the works of Henry James. Two members of the university's Department of English are Jamesians: Professor Alwyn Berland, whose Culture and Conduct in the Novels of Henry James was published in 1981, and Professor Maqbool Aziz, who is editing the new Clarendon Press edition of The Tales of Henry James. The James collection forms part of the post-1800 book collections, which also include strong holdings of such writers as Dickens, Kingsley, H. G. WeUs, D. H. Lawrence and E. M. Forster among others. The James coUection grew slowly after the Division was organized in 1968, the intent being to acquire first editions of aU of James's books (with the exception of rarities Uke The Point of View, of which only one copy is recorded) and such subsequent editions as have textual or bibliographical significance or are otherwise of note. Some first editions were retrieved from the library's circulating collection and transferred to the greater security and more stable storage conditions of the Research CoUections area. Volumes were purchased from antiquarian bookdealers, and the growth of the coUection as a whole was monitored by way of annotations in a copy of Edel and Laurence's A Bibliography of Henry James. The size of the James coUection was more than doubled in 1977, when the library acquired en bloc the collection formerly owned by Simon Nowell-Smith, the author of the The Legend of the Master and a noted scholar and bibliographer. The NoweU-Smith collection was certainly among the finest—if not the finest—collection of James's works then in private hands. Not only was the collection an extensive one, but the majority of the books were in superb condition and many had distinguished provenances. The great rarity in the coUection is a copy of the private edition of Guy Domville, the one formerly in the possession of Clifton WaUer Barrett and listed as one of five known copies in the first edition of Edel and Laurence. Many volumes contain presentation inscriptions to such contemporaries and friends of James as Edmund Gosse, H. G. Wells, and Hugh Walpole. A copy of A Little Tour in France is inscribed to Sir A. H. Cook, who appears in the book as the "attractive young Englishman " (p. 193), and a copy of the American edition of The American Scene contains a presentation inscription from John Quinn to Lady Gregory. Several books have autograph letters from James tipped or laid in at the front, among them two to Gosse and an interesting note to Clay and Taylor, the printers of The Europeans, regarding production of the novel. Since the acquisition of the NoweUSmith volumes, efforts have continued to bring the McMaster James coUection closer to that unrealistic goal, completion. The most recent addition to the coUection is a copy of the scarce Ashendene Press edition of Refugees in Chelsea, and other less elusive items are acquired as they become avaUable. The collection now includes over 90% of Edel and Laurence's "A" section, and a good part of both "B" (books to which James contributed) and "C" (the published letters, including five of the six printed letters that comprise Cl, the so-called 70th Birthday Letter). The coUection includes some variants not mentioned by Edel and Laurence and a representative number of colonial issues, Times Book Club issues, and Continental English-language editions. Many titles are present in multiple copies, making the coUection an exceUent one for detailed textual and bibliographical study. Notes Volume V 66 Number 1 The Henry James Review FaU,1983 Volumes I (1973) and Π(1978) have appeared to date. The third edition was published in 1982 by the Calrendon Press. "In the third edition of the bibliography , five other copies are recorded, making the McMaster copy the sixth. Works Cited Aziz, Maqbool, ed. The Tales of Henry James. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973Berland , Alwyn. Culture and Conduct in the Novels of Henry James. Cambridge : Cambridge Univ. Press, 1981. Edel, Leon and Dan H...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6555
Print ISSN
0273-0340
Pages
pp. 66-67
Launched on MUSE
2010-03-25
Open Access
No
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