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

By Leon Edel | Go to book overview

PROVINCIAL STORM

WILLIAM JAMES was married in July 1878 to Alice Howe Gibbens, a Boston schoolteacher and a woman of considerable charm and refinement. She came from Weymouth, Massachusetts, of an old New England family, and had lived abroad for several years with her mother. The marriage took place in the very month of "Daisy Miller," and William, in the first flush of his honeymoon and of his release from the paternal hearth where he had lingered to his thirty-seventh year, resumed his vigorous criticism of Henry's work. We shall never know exactly what he wrote to his brother, for Henry destroyed William's letters of this period. William, however, kept Henry's and from these we can deduce some of his strictures. The elder brother attacked the slightness of The Europeans and objected to the ending of "Daisy," which seemed to him frivolous. He asked for greater "fatness and bigness" in Henry's stories. To the author of these works, flushed with his recent success, William's observations seemed as ill-founded as they were ill-timed. His reply is sufficiently documentary: "I was depressed on reading your letter by your painful reflections on The Europeans. But now, an hour having elapsed, I am beginning to hold up my head a little." He felt that William tended to take such works "too rigidly and unimaginatively." William, he said, seemed to think that "an artistic experiment was a piece of conduct, to which one's life were somehow committed." Henry added: "I don't trust your judgment altogether (if you will permit me to say so) about details; but I think you are altogether right in returning to the importance of subject. I hold to this very strongly." William's criticism of "Daisy" was simply "queer and narrow," Henry said, and any creative artist would so judge it. (William had felt that Henry's remark about Winterbourne's attachment to a lady in Geneva was out of place immediately after the scene in

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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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