Theatre and Friendship: Some Henry James Letters

Theatre and Friendship: Some Henry James Letters

Theatre and Friendship: Some Henry James Letters

Theatre and Friendship: Some Henry James Letters

Excerpt

There has been some question as to whether out of the hundred and fifty-odd letters and notes written to me by Mr. Henry James -- and now for the first time brought together -- there are enough of sufficient interest to others to make a small volume.

The original idea was to publish a selection of the letters as they stand without comment. The outcome of talks and correspondence on the subject, between Mr. James's namesake-nephew and myself, has made clear his feeling that without certain connective links and elucidations the letters would fail of their proper significance.

'. . . you to whom the letters are addressed . . .' writes the younger Henry James, 'read them with a warmer mind and a richer accompaniment of associations than will anyone else . . . without guidance comparatively few others will catch the implications with which you are familiar of old and which seem to you to stare one in the face. . . .' He goes on to suggest that I should 'evoke a . . . background.'

The only one who could do that would be the author of the letters. The best I can do is to turn to them for such suggestions as they can offer.

On reacquaintance I have found in these pages two things. First: a record of Mr. James's preoccupa-

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