For the subject of this book I have chosen two nineteenth-century American writers, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry James, about whom hundreds of books have been written. Hasn't everything interesting already been said? Obviously I don't think so; in the following pages I suggest some new ways of reading Hawthorne, reading James, understanding James's extraordinary kinship with Hawthorne and their vexed obsessions with America (perhaps I should put it in quotation marks, "America").
As a Stanford undergraduate I was introduced to Hawthorne and James by the great critic of them both, Yvor Winters. At the University of California, Berkeley, I learned from Larry Ziff and Henry Nash Smith other ways of looking at our two "citizens of somewhere else." In graduate school at Columbia I studied with three devout Jamesians, F. W. Dupee, Quentin Anderson, and Lionel Trilling. All these scholar-critics valued and wrote in a language that a relatively educated layperson could understand. I couldn't have written this book without their inspiring example. I needed, too, the generous help of my colleagues here at Cornell, M. H. Abrams, Glenn Altschuler, Archie Ammons, Jonathan Bishop, Jean Black- all, Elaine Engst, Lamar Herrin, Joel Porte, Edgar Rosenberg, and Michael Steinberg. I am greatly indebted to experts and friends elsewhere: Thomas R. Arp, Richard Brodhead, Michael Colacurcio, Robert Dawidoff,