- Tracing James:Introduction
This special issue of the Henry James Review publishes papers presented at the Henry James Society's 2005 International Conference, "Tracing James." My brief introduction cannot hope to capture a sense of the conference's splendid setting in Venice; I can only echo James himself: "Venice. It is a great pleasure to write the word; but I am not sure there is not a certain impudence in pretending to add anything to it." However, the essays included here do reflect the meeting's atmosphere of lively exchange among James scholars from across the globe and provide a sampling of the varied, excellent, and sometimes surprising scholarship presented on Isola di San servolo and at Ca' Dolfin. I'm delighted in particular to be able to include the plenary talks by Colm Tóibín, Leo Bersani, and Alide Cagidemetrio, who trace James and his influences across Ireland, France, and Italy; through fiction, film, and song; in persons, places, palaces, and legends.
"Tracing James" was the second international conference held by the James Society, following the inaugural "Henry James Today" meeting in Paris. We are already looking forward to the third, to be held in Summer 2008 in Newport, Rhode Island. There, Henry James walked and talked, wrote and read, under the "wonderful sky" with its "unexpected resemblance to the sky of Venice." Following this map of Jamesian association, we will take up the strands of our ongoing conversation about James's work and world.