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  • Published: 1 September 1993
  • ISBN: 9780940450769
  • Imprint: Library of America
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 868

Henry James




Collected in this Library of America volume (and its companion) for the first time, Henry James’s travel books and essays display his distinctive charm and vivacity of style, his sensuous response to the beauty of place, and his penetrating, sometimes sardonically amusing analysis of national characteristics and customs. Observant, alert, imaginative, these works remain unsurpassed guides to the countries they describe, and they form an important part of James’s extraordinary achievement in literature.

This volume brings together James’s writing on Great Britain and America. The essays of English Hours (1905) convey the freshness of James’s “wonderments and judgments and emotions” on first encountering the country that became his adopted home for half a century. James includes the vivid account of a New Year’s weekend at a perfectly appointed country house, midsummer dog days in London, and the spectacle of the Derby at Epsom. Joseph Pennell’s delightful illustrations, which appeared in the original edition, are reprinted with James’s text.

In The American Scene (1907) James revisits his native country after a twenty-year absence, traveling throughout the eastern United States from Boston to Florida. James’s poignant rediscovery of what remained of the New York of his childhood (“the precious stretch of street between Washington Square and Fourteenth Street”) contrasts with his impression of the modern, commercial New York, a new city representing “a particular type of dauntless power.” Edmund Wilson, who praised The American Scene’s “magnificent solidity and brilliance,” remarked that “it was as if. . . his emotions had suddenly been given scope, his genius for expression liberated.”

Sixteen essays on traveling in England, Scotland, and America conclude this volume. The essays, most of which have never been collected, range from early pieces on London, Saratoga, and Newport, to articles on World War One that are among James’s final writings.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.

  • Published: 1 September 1993
  • ISBN: 9780940450769
  • Imprint: Library of America
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 868

About the author

Henry James

Henry James was born on 15th April 1843 in Washington Place, New York to a wealthy and intellectual family and as a youth travelled between Europe and America and studied with tutors in Geneva, London, Paris, Bologna and Bonn. He briefly and unsuccessfully studied law at Harvard but decided he preferred reading and writing fiction to studying law. His first novel, Watch and Ward, was published in 1871 after first appearing serially in Atlantic Monthly. After a brief period in Paris, James moved first to London and then later to Rye in Sussex. He became a British citizen in 1915 to declare his loyalty to his adopted country as well as to protest against America's refusal to enter the war on behalf of Britain. Henry James was a prolific writer and critic and from around 1875 until his death he maintained a strenuous schedule of publications in a variety of genres: novels, short story collections, literary criticism, travel writing, biography and autobiography. He died in 1916.

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Praise for Henry James

“Unmatched in travel literature…an incomparable record able to stand with his great novels.” —Elizabeth Hardwick

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