Henry James (1843-1916)

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Henry James:American-born writer, gifted with talents in literature, psychology, and philosophy. James wrote 20 novels, 112 stories, 12 plays and a number of literary criticism. His models were Dickens, Balzac, and Hawthorne. James once said that he learned more of the craft of writing from Balzac "than from anyone else".Henry James

Henry James was born in New York City into a wealthy family. His father, Henry James Sr., was one of the best-known intellectuals in mid-nineteenth-century America, whose friends included Thoreau, Emerson and Hawthorne. James made little money from his novels.

Once his friend, the writer Edith Wharton, secretly arranged him a royal advance of $8,000 for THE IVORY TOWER (1917), but the money actually came from Wharton's royalty account with the publisher. When Wharton sent him a letter bemoaning her unhappy marriage, James replied: "Keep making the movements of life."

In his youth James traveled back and forth between Europe and America. He studied with tutors in Geneva, London, Paris, Bologna and Bonn At the age of nineteen he briefly attended Harvard Law School, but was more interested in literature than studying law. James published his first short story, 'A Tragedy of Errors' two years later, and then devoted himself to literature.

In 1866-69 and 1871-72 he was contributor to the Nation and Atlantic Monthly.From an early age James had read the classics of English, American, French and German literature, and Russian classics in translation. His first novel, WATCH AND WARD (1871), appeared first serially in the Atlantic. James wrote it while he was traveling through Venice and Paris. Watch and Ward tells a story of a bachelor who adopts a twelve-year-old girl and plans to marry her.

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