Monday, April 15, 2013

April 15 - Henry James

170 years ago: Author Henry James was born on April 15, 1843, in New York City. Tutored as a child, Henry toured parts of Europe with his moneyed and leisured family beginning at age 12. For the next two decades he alternated between America and Europe, then settled in England and became a British subject in 1915, a year before his death. His greatest novels and short stories portray Americans encountering Europeans and vice-versa, told from the viewpoint of a character within a tale, allowing him to explore ideas of consciousness and perception. His short novel Washington Square (1880) was followed by The Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Turn of the Screw (1898) and others. His greatest, late novels were written in Rye, outside London, including The Ambassadors (1903), The Wings of the Dove (1902) and his final masterpiece, The Golden Bowl (1904), in which the shape and form of the novel itself is reflected in the golden bowl represented in it. “It is art that makes life,” James said, “makes interest, makes importance, and I know of no substitute for the force and beauty of its process.” Pictured: John Singer Sargent portrait, 1913.

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