The Letters of Henry James - Vol. 2

The Letters of Henry James - Vol. 2

Read FREE!

The Letters of Henry James - Vol. 2

The Letters of Henry James - Vol. 2

Read FREE!

Excerpt

The much-debated visit to America took place at last in 1904, and in ten very full months Henry James secured that renewed saturation in American experience which he desired before it should be too late for his advantage. He saw far more of his country in these months than he had ever seen in old days. He went with the definite purpose of writing a book of impressions, and these were to be principally the impressions of a "restored absentee," reviving the sunken and overlaid memories of his youth. But his memories were practically of New York, Newport and Boston only; to the country beyond he came for the most part as a complete stranger; and his voyage of new discovery proved of an interest as great as that which he found in revisiting ancient haunts. The American Scene, rather than the letters he was able to write in the midst of such a stir of movement, gives his account of the adventure. On the spot the daily assault of sensation, besetting him wherever he turned, was too insistent for deliberate report; he quickly saw that his book would have to be postponed for calmer hours at home; and his letters are those of a man almost overwhelmed by the amount that is being thrown upon his power of absorption. But the book he eventually wrote shews how fully that power was equal to it all -- losing or wasting none of it, meeting and reacting to every moment. Ten months of America poured into his imagination, as he intended they should, a vast mass of strange material -- the familiar part of it now after so many years the strangest of all, perhaps; and his imagination worked upon it in one unbroken rage of interest. He was now more than sixty years old, but for such adventures of perception and discrimination his strength was greater than ever.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.