James, Henry

15 April 1843 - 28 February 1916

The most famous member of "the James gang"—no, not the Wild West one, the literary/intellectual one; brother William was the noted philosopher. Henry James, while best known for his realist fiction, wrote a number of ghost stories, including a couple of the more important works in the tradition; at the turn of the century, in the light of Freud's emerging theories of human psychology and the larger interest in the mind which those theories stimulated, James took the psychological ghost story to new heights, primarily by a masterful handling of ambiguity that places the stories' focus not on the external ghostly but on the perceiving consciousness. His masterwork in this regard is of course "The Turn of the Screw," a story that has to be considered one of the landmark texts of the Gothic tradition. Of course, James could also write a decent unambiguous ghost story, as in "The Romance of Certain Old Clothes" or "Sir Edmund Orme," and these are well worth reading, and in fact in my (classroom) experience usually find a much more receptive audience than "The Turn of the Screw."
  Henry James


Sites:
Guide to Henry James
A good mini-directory to all things James. [Richard Hathaway, SUNY New Paltz]
The Ladder
An impressive James site devoted primarily to making available James etexts, with wonderfully helpful introductions and annotations. Highly recommended. [Adrian Dover]
Henry James
Links and bibliographies. [Donna Campbell, Washington State U]
Biographical note
[Wikipiedia]
Biographical essay
[Kate Campbell, U East Anglia; Literary Encyclopedia]
Biographical note
[The Authors Calendar]
Brief biographical note
[Peter Landry, Biographies]
Brief biographical note
[Gothic Labyrinth]
James Hyper-Concordance
Part of the The Victorian Literary Studies Archive, this concordance allows you to search etexts of James's works (primarily the novels).
Portraits
At the National Portrait Gallery, London — yup, apparently even a born Yank can end up in these hallowed (e)halls...


Etexts:
note: stories at the "Making of America" project are available in multiple formats (image, pdf, plain text). The links below are to the images — e-facsimiles, basically — but you can easily select other viewing options once you're there (click on a page number, then select another "View As" option).

"The Altar of the Dead"
- at Etext Center, UVa  Table of Contents
- at Project Gutenberg [90K]

"The Beast in the Jungle"
Some, such as E. F. Bleiler, consider this tale purely psychological rather than supernatural, but, well, that's kind of the point when it comes to James, isn't it?
- at Page by Page Books
- at Project Gutenberg (112K)

"De Grey: A Romance" [July 1868]
- at the Making of America / Atlantic Monthly.this link opens a new window

"The Friends of the Friends"
Originally published as "The Way It Came" in 1896. Another classic example of the ambiguous ghostly of James. [Casey Abell]

"The Ghostly Rental" [September 1876]
- at the Making of America / Scribner's Monthly.this link opens a new window

"The Jolly Corner"   [1909]
- at Gaslight (85K)
- at Project Gutenberg (92K)

"The Last of the Valerii"  [January 1874]
"Maud-Evelyn"  [April 1900]
"Owen Wingrave" [Christmas 1892]
- at The Ladder

"The Private Life"  [April 1892]
"The Romance of Certain Old Clothes" [February 1868]
James' earliest, and most conventionally "Gothic," ghost story, this work contrasts rather strongly with just about every other ghostly piece by James

"Sir Edmund Orme"
- at The Ladder this link opens a new window

"The Turn of the Screw"
- at The Ladder this link opens a new window
- at Project Gutenberg (251K)
- at Etext Center, UVa   Table of Contents
  click for info from amazon.com
click the cover image for more info from Amazon.com



click for info from amazon.com
click the cover image for more info from Amazon.com


Books:
A number of James's classic ghost tales — "The Turn of the Screw," "The Friends of the Friends," "Owen Wingrave," and "Sir Edmund Orme" — are available in this Oxford World's Classics edition edited by Tim Lustig: click for more info from amazon.com


Essays and Reviews:
"Spirit and Material Possession in the Supernatural Fiction of Henry James"
An extract from this essay by Robert Michalski (Santa Clara U)
Henry James Review
Published by Johns Hopkins University Press; tables of contents are freely available online, but the etexts of articles are by subscription only.


Discussion:
JAMESF-L
Discussion of the James Family (primarily Henry James and his brother William).

"Henry James."