Henry James: The Conquest of London, 1870-1883 - Vol. 2

By Leon Edel | Go to book overview

DAISY

"MY London life flows evenly along, making, I think in various ways, more and more a Londoner of me," Henry wrote to William at the end of January 1878. "If I keep along here patiently for a certain time I rather think I shall become a (sufficiently) great man. I have got back to work with great zest after my autumnal loafings, and mean to do some this year which will make a mark. I am, as you suppose, weary of writing articles about places, and mere potboilers of all kinds; but shall probably, after the next six months, be able to forswear it altogether, and give myself up seriously to 'creative' writing. Then, and not till then, my real career will begin. After that, gare à vous."

The passage reads as if Henry were proceeding according to a deliberate time-table. He must be patient for a "certain time;" he will make his mark "this year;" he will, after the next six months, be ready to begin to write in earnest. There was insight here into the inner calendar of his life. For what came to pass was that Henry wrote "Daisy Miller" during that winter; it was accepted by mid-April for the Cornhill Magazine--the journal of Thackeray and Trollope--and was published within six months. After that Henry was to be considered by the world "a (sufficiently) great man."


I

Almost the first thing Henry had done after returning from the Continent to his fireside in Bolton Street was to write the tale suggested by Miss Bartlett's anecdote: that of the American girl snubbed in Roman-American society. The story reads today-- has always read--as if it had flowed spontaneously out of the tip of Henry's pen; it has a splendid lucidity and a vividness of form and detail; a kind of ironic laughter echoes between its lines until

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Henry James: The Conquest of London, 1870-1883 - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations x
  • Introduction xi
  • Book One a Season in Cambridge 1870-1872 xv
  • The Precious Wound 17
  • The Exquisite Provincials 25
  • The Dispossessed 32
  • The Great American Novel 40
  • Alice 44
  • The Art of Seeing 51
  • Escape 57
  • Book Two Transatlantic Sketches 1872 61
  • Brother and Nephew 63
  • The Sentimental Tourist 69
  • A Parisian Autumn 75
  • Book Three Roman Hours 1873 81
  • A Roman Winter 83
  • The Two Palaces 91
  • Roman Rides 99
  • Six Women 108
  • A Study in Mauve 115
  • The Monocle 124
  • A Roman Spring 127
  • Book Four the Choice 1873-1875 135
  • William 137
  • Angel and Brother 146
  • The Fork in the Path 157
  • The Palpable Present 163
  • Roderick Hudson 176
  • A New York Winter 182
  • Benvolio 191
  • Book Five the Siege of Paris 1875-1876 201
  • Ivan Sergeyevich 203
  • The Lesson of the Master 209
  • Councils of the Gods 215
  • Pastel 223
  • Parisian Life 228
  • Silk Purse and Sow's Ear 238
  • The American 246
  • In the Provinces 261
  • A Channel Crossing 268
  • Book Six the Conquest of London 1876-1878 271
  • The Observant Stranger 273
  • London Clubs 284
  • The Bird of Paradox 287
  • A Little Journey 290
  • Daisy 303
  • The Two Secretaries 320
  • A Position in Society 328
  • Book Seven a Reasonable Show of Fame 1878-1879 341
  • The Objective Genius 343
  • The Bachelor of Bolton Street 347
  • Three Old Women 352
  • Visits 361
  • A Dinner at the Reform 367
  • Carthorse and Racer 370
  • The Bard and Mr Browning 374
  • Voltaire in Petticoats 377
  • C' Est Mon Plaisir... 381
  • Book Eight Portrait of a Lady 1879-1881 385
  • Provincial Storm 387
  • The Frail Vessels 395
  • Fathers and Daughters 401
  • A Neapolitan Episode 408
  • Fenimore 411
  • A Band of Egotists 421
  • Venice 437
  • Book Nine Terminations 1881-1883 449
  • Homecoming 451
  • The Dome and the Shaft 458
  • Mary James 465
  • An Exquisite Stillness 467
  • A Little Tour in France 475
  • November Parting 486
  • A Winter Summons 488
  • Son and Brother 494
  • Notes and Acknowledgments 511
  • Index 521
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