Friday, April 15, 2011

Happy birthday, Henry James

The novelist Henry James was born in New York City on April 15, 1843 but began his travels abroad almost immediately: his father took the family to Europe when James was just 12 years old. Throughout his life in Paris and England, he sought to perfect his novel writing craft, eventually--while living in Rye, Sussex--writing The Ambassadors, a work that American Authors, 1600-1900, describes as "a novel so astutely autobiographical, in part, and so psychologically exhaustive that many have labeled it James' masterpiece."

The literary website Bookslut features a whole section devoted to James's birthday this week, and The Guardian newspaper collects all its columns and writings about James into a neat section. For more serious research into this classic writer, however, you should check out our Book Review Digest Retrospective: 1905-1982, which contains links to full-text books containing essays both by and about Henry James, and Essay & General Literature Index Retrospective: 1900-1984, which contains links to no fewer than 45 full-text books featuring essays both about and by the writer, allowing researchers to easily access opinion of James back as far as the start of the 20th century. For newer perspectives on James, there are many websites devoted to him and his books, maintained by both academics and enthusiasts.
Subscribers to Omnifile will find an excellent collection of articles (140 full-text records in all) about James together in one place. From "What is the Matter With Henry James?" in Studies in the Novel, Spring 2009, to "Bogdanovich's Daisy Miller and the Limits of Fidelity," in Literature/Film Quarterly, 1991. That should certainly be enough to whet anyone's appetite for information about the master.

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