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Henry James: Complete Stories 1864-1874 (Library of America) Hardcover – August 30, 1999

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The Library of America adds two more winners to its ever-growing product line. The Faulkner volume includes The Town (1957), The Mansion (1959), and his last novel, The Reivers: A Reminiscence (1962). The James volume is LOA's fifth and final collection of that author's writings, marking the first time in three decades that his complete canon is in print. This volume gathers 24 of his stories, including "Poor Richard," "A Landscape Painter," and "A Passionate Pilgrim." Both volumes contain notes on the text, a chronology of the author's life, and the other signature extras of the series.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Henry James (1843-1916), born in New York City, was the son of noted religious philosopher Henry James, Sr., and brother of eminent psychologist and philosopher William James. He spent his early life in America and studied in Geneva, London and Paris during his adolescence to gain the worldly experience so prized by his father. He lived in Newport, went briefly to Harvard Law School, and in 1864 began to contribute both criticism and tales to magazines.

In 1869, and then in 1872-74, he paid visits to Europe and began his first novel, Roderick Hudson. Late in 1875 he settled in Paris, where he met Turgenev, Flaubert, and Zola, and wrote The American (1877). In December 1876 he moved to London, where two years later he achieved international fame with Daisy Miller. Other famous works include Washington Square (1880), The Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Princess Casamassima (1886), The Aspern Papers (1888), The Turn of the Screw (1898), and three large novels of the new century, The Wings of the Dove (1902), The Ambassadors (1903) and The Golden Bowl (1904). In 1905 he revisited the United States and wrote The American Scene (1907).

During his career he also wrote many works of criticism and travel. Although old and ailing, he threw himself into war work in 1914, and in 1915, a few months before his death, he became a British subject. In 1916 King George V conferred the Order of Merit on him. He died in London in February 1916.

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Product Details

  • Series: Library of America (Book 111)
  • Hardcover: 975 pages
  • Publisher: Library of America (August 30, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1883011701
  • ISBN-13: 978-1883011703
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #254,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Henry James (1843-1916), the son of the religious philosopher Henry James Sr. and brother of the psychologist and philosopher William James, published many important novels including Daisy Miller, The Wings of the Dove, The Golden Bowl, and The Ambassadors.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Patricia A. Powell on October 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Most of us discover Henry James in an English or American Literature class. I don’t think that I appreciated Henry James’ stories a student. He required too much attention from me as a reader. Now I continuously marvel at the two things that make him such a joy to read… 1. He writes so well. He has to be read slowly; every word counts; every sentence leads inevitability to the next; every paragraph is complete, and 2. He has so much to say. Each story is unique. Unlike many lesser writers, Henry James never repeats himself. He never wastes his talent.
A previous reviewer states that some of these stories are amateurish. I fail to see that. It was such a pleasure to read even his first story, A Tragedy of Error, which was published unsigned. Its main characters are a woman and her lover. The woman’s long absent husband is about to return, and they are about to be discovered. In just 22 pages, we can feel their fear of discovery and their evil as the lovers plot the husband’s murder.
In comparison, The Madonna of the Future, is a serene story set in Florence, Italy. It is told in the first person singular, with the narrator presented as an observer until close to the end. He encounters a painter whose masterpiece is much talked about but not seen. He quietly befriends Theobald, the painter, and through him meets the model for the Madonna, Serafina. Unintentionally, the narrator is a catalyst for the final actions of Theobald. The ending is compassionate, but as much of a surprise as that in A Tragedy of Error.
Other stories include sweet characters that turn out to be manipulative gold diggers, spoiled children who control loving parents, and polite fiends. Many of these characters have secrets that need to be disclosed to the reader; some are just romantic.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book, which collects the first ten years of Henry James' short stories is, I think, a good place to begin with James--after all, it's where he himself started. The stories vary in quality, and some of the earliest are rather amateurish compared to later James, but each has its rewards, and in reading them you can experience the development of a truly remarkable writer. Story by story it's a pleasure to read his almost liquid descriptions of people and places. Once in a while he almost seems surreal, as in this sentence from a story about the Civil War that he wrote in his early 20s: "The blood that has been shed gathers itself into a vast globule and drops into the ocean." Some of the stories are ghost tales rather in the line of Edgar Allen Poe, while others are romances or character studies. James rarely gives us a perfectly happy ending, but once in a while, as in the story "Travelling Companions," he lets himself write a charmingly Austinesque love story ending in marriage.
The price of this book is a bit high, but (...) it's actually a bargain. As with all Library of America books, it's really the equivalent of at least 3 or 4 regular length books rolled into one. By using top quality thin acid free paper, they've somehow fit 960 pages of Henry James stories into a fine quality hardback book not much larger than a thick paperback. It's the kind of book you can take with you on the plane, and without the dustjacket it looks and feels as 19th century as the work inside. I find reading Henry James immensely relaxing and thought-provoking, and I can strongly recommend this book to any James fan, or anyone who is ready to make the plunge.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By H. Schneider on September 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an approach to the Henry James continent from the most accessible coast: the first decade of stories, published between 1864 and 1874. I give 5 stars to this volume because of the enjoyment that it gives me. Not that the average of all stories would really be so high, but getting to know the early James in the beautiful LoA volume is just fun.

These early tales are mostly entertaining and sparkling, with clever narrative structures, smart plots, and real people. Many of the narrators talk to us like from across the coffee table. Society, conventions, expectations, restrictions, ambitions, conflicts are what these stories are about. This is not slow ponderous prodding, but witty and satirical. It is also sometimes gothic and romantic. I had not realized before that one of James's roots taps into Poe territory.
This is the world of New York, New England and Western Europe, with a social focus on upper strata and bohemians. No social conflicts here, no class struggle, just individual ones. No major historical trends or events. Civil War or French Revolution are just wall paper, not part or subject of the stories. Is that a flaw? Not necessarily, not unless we expect every writer to be at home everywhere or to write about things that he doesn't know about.
Many of the stories were not previously included in collections, and that is just as well with some of them. Some are just silly. Some are too touristy to be good, i.e. plots are wrapped in travel tales about England, France, Switzerland, or Italy. Some are too theoretical, almost treatises on art history and theory, with a plot added almost like an afterthought. Then again, others that I thought great or nearly so, have remained uncollected. Clearly I do not always agree with James' own opinion about his stuff.
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Henry James: Complete Stories 1864-1874 (Library of America)
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