Eight Uncollected Tales of Henry James

Eight Uncollected Tales of Henry James

Eight Uncollected Tales of Henry James

Eight Uncollected Tales of Henry James

Excerpt

Before we take up a somewhat unconventional survey of these early tales of Henry James, far less as stories with "plots" than as foreshadowings of ideas and techniques that are basic in all of his later work, we shall make a brief preliminary survey of his short fictions through the period these uncollected stories cover.

From 1865 through 1876 James published twenty-eight tales of which he reprinted only thirteen; in A Passionate Pilgrim and Other Tales ( 1875), The Madonna of the Future and Other Tales ( 1879), and Stories Revived ( 1885). The remaining fifteen have come to be loosely known as the "uncollected stories." Except for stray references to them in old Letters and Memoirs of the '60's and '70's, till LeRoy Phillips listed their titles and dates in his first Bibliography of the Writings of Henry James ( 1906), they lay unknown in old files of the Atlantic, the Galaxy and Scribner's Monthly. Since by 1885 James could have undoubtedly resurrected any tale he chose to revive, we can safely say that for one reason or another he "rejected" these fifteen tales from any second printings. But to take it for granted that his rejections were governed by ordinary critical appraisal of them on their story values alone is to assume too much.

In 1919 Albert Mordell reprinted seven of this group of tales in Travelling Companions. The title story of 1870 was followed by "The Sweetheart of M. Briseux" ( 1873), "Professor Fargo" ( 1874), "At Isella" ( 1871), "Guest's Confession" ( 1872), "Adina" ( 1874), and "De Grey: A Romance" ( 1868). The other eight tales are in this volume, five of them reprinted here for the first time. At the end of this volume is a chronological list of the twenty-eight stories of this period, with serial and first book publication dates and with some later more accessible reprintings noted.

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