Henry James Additional Biography


Henry James, the second son of well-to-do parents, was born in New York City on April 15, 1843. Like his brother William James (the respected...

(The entire section is 339 words.)


(Masterpieces of American Literature)

James’s fiction, especially his later works, is complex—psychologically, stylistically, and morally. T. S. Eliot once observed that James “had a mind so fine no idea could ever violate it.” While literally untrue—James’s problem was precisely that he had too many ideas and that all of them qualified and altered one another ceaselessly—Eliot’s judgment does suggest something important about James’s writing. Fineness, in the sense of precision, is just what James’s fiction seeks most relentlessly. Reading his work should be proof against any tendency to reach hasty conclusions about human motivation, about human action, and indeed about knowledge itself.


(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Henry James’s career is usually divided into four periods: his formative years, his apprenticeship, his middle years, and his major phase. James was descended from Irish Protestants. His grandfather, a poor immigrant, lived out the American Dream and died one of the wealthiest men in the United States. James’s father, Henry James, Sr., renounced the Calvinistic work ethic and indulged in the mysticism of Emanuel Swedenborg and the socialism of Charles Fourier.

Through most of his youth, James was shuttled back and forth between Europe and the United States, thus gaining an international perspective on art and life. He learned French and received a European education through a variety of tutors and schools. As a...

(The entire section is 425 words.)


(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

If one wished to create for oneself a background and early life that was appropriate for preparing to be an important and dedicated American novelist during the later years of the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth century, one might very well choose just the sort of family and early experience that fate created for Henry James, born in 1843 in New York, New York. The family circumstances were comfortable (his grandfather, William James, had amassed one of the three largest fortunes in New York), and his father, Henry James, Sr.; his mother, Mary Robertson Walsh James; his older brother, William James; and his younger siblings, Garth Wilkinson, Robertson, and Alice, were all lively, articulate, and stimulating....

(The entire section is 1506 words.)


(Society and Self, Critical Representations in Literature)

ph_0111201229-James.jpg Henry James. Published by Salem Press, Inc.

Born to affluent parents who reveled in not putting down roots, Henry James had crossed the Atlantic six times before he was eighteen. His family enjoyed extended stays in Germany, France, Switzerland, and England, returning to the United States in 1860 when the eldest son, William, reached an age that required educational opportunities not available to him abroad. The family took up residence in Newport, Rhode Island, where Henry, exempted from military service in the Civil War because of an injury, spent his time reading voraciously and sketching.

James entered Harvard Law School, but during his first year there realized that he did not want a career in law. He spent most of his time reading in the library or attending the literary lectures of James Russell Lowell. He also cultivated a substantial coterie of artistic and literary friends. By 1869, when James first returned to Europe on his own, he had published numerous reviews and over a dozen stories. His trip began in England, progressing to France and Italy, the country he loved most throughout his life. Many of his stories have Italian settings, often focusing on rootless Americans spending extended periods abroad.

Never quite feeling American but certainly not feeling European either, James was abroad from 1872 until 1874, and returned to Paris in 1875, there falling in with writers Ivan Turgenev,Émile Zola, and Gustave Flaubert. By December, 1876, he had moved to England, which, from that time on, was essentially his home, although he returned to the United States periodically for extended stays. During World War I, for practical reasons, James took British citizenship.

Much of James’s writing is set in Europe, but it usually concerns Americans living or visiting abroad. His output of imaginative fiction includes more than a hundred short stories, twelve long short stories, eleven short novels, and eleven longer novels. In addition, James published penetrating works of literary theory and criticism, including the first full-length critical biography of Nathaniel Hawthorne. His travel books also gained renown.


(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Henry James, Jr., was the second of five children born to Mary Robertson Walsh and Henry James, Sr. A friend of Ralph Waldo Emerson and a follower of the Swedish philosopher-theologian Emanuel Swedenborg, Henry James, Sr., advocated a “sensuous” rearing of his children. This amounted to showering his five children with educational opportunities and encouraging them to adopt an individual morality. Although much of the young James’s education occurred at home and through extensive foreign travel (his first trip abroad came when he was five months old and was followed by several more stays during his childhood and adolescence), he also had tutors and attended various schools in the United States and in Europe, including Harvard...

(The entire section is 1218 words.)


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Henry James is one of the most important and influential writers in English of the nineteenth century; his examples and his theoretical principles established the foundation of the modernist movement in twentieth century fiction and poetry, and his major novels constitute a great advance in the type known as psychological realism. Henry James’s father was an eccentric though respected philosopher from a prominent New York family. Determined to give his children the best possible education, James, Sr., sent them to the Continent, where they attended schools in France, Germany, England, and Switzerland. The young Henry James returned to America in 1860, studied painting briefly, attended Harvard Law School briefly, and then...

(The entire section is 976 words.)


Henry James Published by Gale Cengage

Henry James married Mary Robertson Walsh and, on April 15, 1843, the novelist Henry James was born in New...

(The entire section is 379 words.)


James was born on April 15, 1843, on the edge of Greenwich Village in New York City. Born into a wealthy family, James was exposed to a...

(The entire section is 509 words.)


(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Henry James, Jr., was born in New York City on April 15, 1843, the son of Henry James, Sr., the Swedenborgian philosopher, and Mary Robertson Walsh. The younger of two sons (his brother was the philosopher and psychologist William James), Henry also had a younger sister, Alice. As is clear from the second volume of his autobiography, Notes of a Son and Brother (1914), and from letters, Henry, Jr., often struggled in the shadow of his successful elder brother and strove all of his life to carve out an independent career to rival William’s.

Although a New Yorker by birth, James grew up principally in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with several important trips to Europe punctuating his youth and early manhood....

(The entire section is 847 words.)


Henry James was born in New York City in 1843, where he lived until his family moved to Boston during his childhood. His father, Henry James,...

(The entire section is 253 words.)