Monday, April 29, 2013

Henry James publishes the travel essay collection "Transatlantic Sketches - 1875

On April 29, 1875, Henry James' collection of travel pieces, Transatlantic Sketches, is published. The same year, James publishes a collection of stories, A Passionate Pilgrim, and a novel, Roderick Hudson. These three works herald the beginning of James' long and influential writing career. He was born on (1843-04-15)April 15, 1843 in New York City. James is (1916-02-28)regarded as one of the key figures of 19th-century literary realism. He was the brother of philosopher and psychologist William James. He alternated between America and Europe for the first 20 years of his life, after which he settled in England, becoming a British citizen in 1915, one year before his death. He is primarily known for the series of novels in which he portrays the encounter of Americans with Europe and Europeans. His method of writing from the point of view of a character within a tale allows him to explore issues related to consciousness and perception, and his style in later works has been compared to impressionist painting.

James contributed significantly to literary criticism, particularly in his insistence that writers be allowed the greatest possible freedom in presenting their view of the world. James claimed that a text must first and foremost be realistic and contain a representation of life that is recognizable to its readers. Good novels, to James, show life in action and are, most importantly, interesting. The concept of a good or bad novel is judged solely upon whether the author is good or bad. An extraordinarily productive writer, in addition to his voluminous works of fiction he published articles and books of travel, biography, autobiography, and criticism, and wrote plays, some of which were performed during his lifetime with moderate success. His theatrical work is thought to have profoundly influenced his later novels and tales. James died on February 28, 1916 in London, England.

Michael Thomas Barry is the author of Great Britain’s Literary Legends. The book can be purchased from Amazon through the following links:

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