THE TROUBLED PUBLICATION HISTORY of one of James’s last stories, “Julia Bride” (1908), offers a fitting coda to this study, not least because it reprises the author’s vexations at this stage of his career with editors, publishers, and illustrators. Just as significant, the story and James’s Preface for it constitute a final authorial appeal to an American public that was just beginning to show signs “of responsible consciousness, of roused and reflective taste” (LC 2: 1267).
The seed for the story had been planted by J. Henry Harper, who urged James in 1894 to do another Daisy Miller for his magazine (Notebooks 100). James dropped the idea, only to take it up a dozen years later. Like “Miss Gunton of Poughkeepsie” (1900), “Julia Bride” was indeed a revisiting of Daisy, his earliest and most successful portrait of an American ingénue, and an obvious attempt to win back some of her audience. Between 1906 and 1908 he drastically cut down the story three times to suit the Harper editors. Only after the firm’s director, Colonel George Harvey, interceded on James’s behalf did the tale finally appear in the Monthly in March—April 1908, accompanied by four halftone reproductions of gouaches by William T. Smedley, a staff artist who specialized in contemporary scenes of New York life.
Further frustrations with the publisher ensued. According to Pinker’s correspondence with Harper’s (Harper & Brothers Records, Series 1, Box 7), James protested the firm’s plan to release the story again in book form; the author considered the material too slight for a single volume, and he didn’t want the “less important book” to overshadow a new novel he expected to deliver to Harper’s the following year. Harper’s management responded by agreeing to defer the volume until after publication of the promised novel (which never materialized), and thus “Julia Bride” came to be reissued in September 1909 as a handsome little