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  • Henry James
  • Sarah B. Daugherty

Despite the economic recession and the monumental size of the James bibliography, the author continues to inspire creative efforts by scholars and critics. Gender studies have been refined, extended, and incorporated into deeper or broader interpretations of James's life and art. Victoria Coulson's recent book elucidates his ambivalence toward feminism, while essays by Eric Savoy, Kevin Ohi, and Jonathan Warren demonstrate the potential of queer formalism, which emphasizes close reading in preference to identity politics. Critics have also turned their attention to relatively neglected texts. Whereas recent volumes of the Complete Letters invite reconfigurations of James's early career, the Cambridge Quarterly devotes an issue to modern James, including some revealing shorter tales; and an important book by Peter Collister provides a comprehensive account of the writer's fourth and final phase. Contextual scholarship has yielded new perspectives on James's place in intellectual history. A growing number of readers—notably Peter Rawlings, Joan Richardson, Jane Thrailkill, and Sam Halliday—emphasize his affiliations with pragmatic philosophers and scientists, especially in his later writings. Historians likewise continue to evaluate his importance to academic literary studies, both as a formalist more flexible than his 20th-century disciples and as a precursor of 21st-century multicultural critics. Two new anthologies, one edited by Rawlings and the other by Greg Zacharias, should provoke continued discussion as they synthesize literary theory and practical criticism. [End Page 103]

i Bibliography, Letters, and Biographical Studies

David J. Supino's Henry James: A Bibliographical Catalogue of a Collection of Editions to 1921 (Liverpool, 2006) draws on Internet searches as well as traditional sources to correct and supplement three earlier reference works: Jacob Blanck's Bibliography of American Literature, Leon Edel and Dan H. Laurence's A Bibliography of Henry James, and William Todd and Anne Bowden's Tauchnitz International Editions in English, 1841–1955. Supino's entries are notable for their attention to detail, especially small differences among impressions of the same text, and coverage extends to editions issued in Europe and the British colonies. Appendixes include a note on James's dealings with the "flamboyant and free-spending" publisher James R. Osgood, a listing of James's English and American publishers, and the contract between Scribner's and Houghton Mifflin regarding the New York Edition. George Monteiro's "Unrecorded American Printings of Henry James" (N&Q 55: 463) lists two items overlooked by earlier bibliographers: "The Story of a Masterpiece" was serialized by the San Jose Evening News in 14 installments between 30 August and 15 September 1888; and "The Real Thing" was reprinted in the Chicago Daily Inter Ocean on 3 and 10 April 1892.

Pierre A. Walker and Greg W. Zacharias have edited another volume of James's correspondence, The Complete Letters of Henry James, 1872–1876, Volume I (Nebraska). This collection, the first in a set of three volumes projected for these years, comprises 88 letters written between May 1872 and July 1873, 44 of them published for the first time. Millicent Bell's introduction emphasizes James's "essential loneliness" despite his active social life during his "passage to Europe." England was "fine" but "heavy" (italics in original); the American colony in Rome contained "nothing novel, individual or picturesque enough" to be worth James's time (or so he complained to Grace Norton); and in Paris Turgenev (his one friend in Flaubert's circle) failed to reciprocate the young American's aesthetic admiration. Conscious of his indebtedness to his father, James tried his hand at literary journalism, but the Nation disappointed him by assigning the review of George Eliot's Middlemarch to another contributor. Nonetheless, the future author of Daisy Miller and The Portrait of a Lady had found his vocation. "Little by little, I trust my abilities will catch up with my ambitions," he wrote to his brother William. Also evident is his fidelity to his roles as son and brother. In 1872, when he escorted his sister Alice and Aunt Kate on a lengthy tour of Europe, his [End Page 104] reports to his parents on Alice's "exuberant vigor" contrast poignantly with his sorrow at her later decline.

Brian Crane, "From Family Papers to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2125
Print ISSN
0065-9142
Pages
pp. 103-131
Launched on MUSE
2010-11-20
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2023
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