- Paperback: 704 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (25 Jan. 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140435166
- ISBN-13: 978-0140435160
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.7 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 631,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Henry James: A Life in Letters (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 25 Jan 2001
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A magnificent... book which will be irresistible to any Jamesian... [It] comes to us with the freshness of a new biography of the man. [I] spent a few enchanted weeks reading and rereading Horne's addictive volume. I haven't enjoyed a book so much in years. -- A. N. Wilson, Independent on Sunday
Philip Horne's cherishing, meticulous, ministering annotations and biographical work... make this a very good book indeed -- Adam Petite, Evening Standard
The whole selection is most helpfully (and stylishly) edited by Philip Horne -- Ian Hamilton, Sunday Telegraph --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Publisher
This fully annotated selection from Henry James's eloquent correspondence follows him across America, Britain and continental Europe, and offers us a broad and fascinating panorama of an age of transition, when the foundations of our own world were being laid down. Philip Horne has spent over a decade looking at the thousands of letters in archives in America and England and half of those here have never before been published. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In his selection of letters Horne concentrates on James's career as a writer, both artistic and financial, and as a man who knew and was friends with other writers. The letters bring to life such figures as his brother William James, H.G. Wells, Edith Wharton, and William Dean Howells, as well as many others whose names we non-scholars do not know today. The letters also bring to life James's never-quite-successful struggle for economic success and security -- and the artistic freedom that he wished it to bring him -- to go along with the critical success that he mostly enjoyed for his fiction.
One of the wonderful things about this book is the sense of transit through James's life, from the states of mind of youth to those just before death, through his thoughts and feelings; also the transit through the second half of the nineteenth century, with all its changes, and its bitter end in the First World War.
The book is very extensively footnoted and indexed, and usefully and enlighteningly so.
Read it slowly, a letter or two a day.
[Disclaimer: I did not buy this book from Amazon, but I buy plenty of other books from Amazon!]
Horne's effort suffers in comparison to Edel's by its self-imposed mandate to favor previously unpublished letters. (Personally, I found these almost invariably of lesser interest. It looks like Edel skimmed the cream.) But his cannily selected interstitial material makes it a far more rewarding reading experience. I would say this now stands as the best introduction to the subject.
And for what it's worth: the Penguin Classics paperback edition is a very nice piece of manufacture - comfortably sized in dimension and font.
A Life in Letters is a pleasure to be savoured with one or two entries a day; as if one were the recipient of these missives.
Taken before bed, they may not work as a sleeping pill, but they do take the mind off of one's own cares and into another world.