English Hours

English Hours

English Hours

English Hours

Excerpt

'I wanted to do very much what I have done, and success, if I may say so, now stretches back a tender hand to its younger brother, desire.'

Henry James, the American, loved England steadily all his life. He had gone there first in 1843 at the age of six months; and after repeated visits during his youth and young manhood, he decided in 1876 to make London his permanent home. He later moved to Rye and the year before his death in 1916, he became a British subject. In doing so James underlined his American idealism and his faith in the democratic way of life for which his native country stood and which his adopted country was battling to defend. He felt England to be right in standing up to the Germans, and he hoped that his action would show America 'a little something of the way'. He did not wish to be an alien in the land he loved, nor did he wish to be restricted in doing whatever he could for the war effort. Unable to go to war himself- as so many Americans were to do both in World War I and World War II long before their own country entered the fray-he did in effect give his life for a cause which next to his love for his art was his most abiding passion: the preservation of 'the English-American world', a world so united by history and literature that it was in reality 'different chapters of the same general subject'. Again and again he affirmed his faith in the destiny of 'the English-speaking territories of the globe', and he proclaimed 'how great we all are together in the light of heaven and the face of the rest of the world, with the bond of our glorious tongue'.

James loved other countries as well, especially France and Italy.

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