"Do not mind anything that anyone tells you about anyone else. Judge everyone and everything for yourself. "

Read David Stuart Davies appreciation of Henry James here.

American novelist, playwright, critic and essayist, Henry James was born in 1843 into a wealthy family in  New York. His father was a well-known intellectual. James was educated by private tutors, until the age of twelve and then at various schools in Boulogne, Paris, Geneva, Bonn and, when the family returned to the United States, at Newport, Rhode Island. At the age of nineteen he attended Harvard Law School, but withdrew after one year to concentrate on writing.

He published his first short story, A Tragedy of Errors (1864), two years later. His first novel, Watch and Ward  (1871), was written while James was travelling through Venice and Paris. After living in Paris, where he was a contributor to the New York Tribune, he moved to England in 1876, making London his base for twenty years before moving to Lamb House in Rye, Sussex. Deeply influenced by European literature, James often portrayed Americans living abroad in his novels.

In chronological order, his most famous novels and short stories are, Daisy Miller and Other Stories (1879), Washington Square (1880) The Portrait of a Lady (1881) The Aspern Papers (1888) What Maisie Knew (1897) The Turn of the Screw (1898) The Wings of the Dove (1902) The Golden Bowl (1904). In addition to his novels and short stories, Wordsworth Editions have published a collection of Ghost Stories of Henry James.

He finally visited America in 1904, after an absence of 21 years. He stayed with Henry Adams and met President Theodore Roosevelt.  His autobiography, A Small Boy and Others, appeared in 1913 and was continued in Notes of a Son and a Brother (1914). The third volume, The Middle Years, appeared posthumously in 1917. The outbreak of World War I was a shock for James and in 1915 he became a British citizen in protest against the United States' refusal to enter the war.

He suffered a stroke on December 2nd, 1915 and died three months later in Rye on 28 February 1916.


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