Parisian Sketches: Letters to the New York Tribune, 1875-1876

Parisian Sketches: Letters to the New York Tribune, 1875-1876

Parisian Sketches: Letters to the New York Tribune, 1875-1876

Parisian Sketches: Letters to the New York Tribune, 1875-1876

Excerpt

In this book we have gathered together Henry James's Paris letters to the New York Tribune of 1875 and 1876--his only newspaper writing during half a century devoted to the art of literature. In later years he contributed a few casual pieces to the London press, but these were clearly the work of a famous man of letters invited to say a few words in an unfamiliar medium. His commitment to the Tribune was of quite another character: he was young, he was confident, he was energetic, he had virtually his whole career to make. Moreover, he needed money, and he seems to have reasoned that he would gain valuable experience; the narrator in one of his later tales suggests that "in picking up things" for a newspaper, a writer "would pick up life as well."

There were to be two further attempts, in the 1890's, to write a certain kind of journalism, a series of London Letters for Harper's Weekly and some American Letters for Literature; but these, in reality, called for the sort of magazine writing Henry James had done from the time of his late adolescence. The Tribune experience was unique not only in that it required regularity of production as the "occasional correspondent" of a big Manhattan daily, but in the consequences it was to have for certain of the novelist's later fiction.

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