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

By Leon Edel | Go to book overview

FATHERS AND DAUGHTERS

HE had apparently begun Washington Square while he was on the Continent, intending it to be a short story, and hoping to send it to the Atlantic. Early in 1880 he wrote to Howells that "I tried to squeeze it down for you, but it was no use." At first he offered it to Scribner's, judging it to be a rather thin tale; however, that magazine had just finished the serial of Confidence. Washington Square, on an accurate estimate of its length, turned out to be even longer than Henry supposed, requiring six instalments. He sold it finally to the Cornhill. Harper's New Monthly Magazine took it in America and both journals used illustrations by George du Maurier. This was the first time Henry had achieved simultaneous serialization on both sides of the ocean, and it enabled him to lay plans for an even longer stretch of leisure for the writing of his promised big novel.


I

Washington Square was based on an anecdote told him by Mrs Kemble, a small item of her family history. Her brother had jilted an heiress when he discovered that her father would disinherit the girl. This simple theme Henry transferred to a mansion in New York. In England, when it was published, it began with a sale double its predecessor's, and it has always been one of the most popular of James's works, even though its author depreciated it, feeling that it was too simple and unvarnished a narrative. He had, indeed, told it without varnish, and with an unsparing economy, in a structure wholly scenic; and while Henry began by focusing the story on the jilting of the girl, he ended up with a brilliant picture of a father's clumsiness in dealing with his daughter's love and his crude failure to spare her feelings. The father is understandably concerned; he wants to protect his daughter, a rather plain and altogether unpretentious girl.

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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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