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Henry James Goes to War

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Edited By Miroslawa Buchholtz, Dorota Guttfeld and Grzegorz Koneczniak

Within the past decades, Henry James has been seen going to the movies and to Paris, both far more likely destinations for him than battlefields of the modern world. Sending him off to war seems to be a preposterous idea, but the exaggeration inscribed in the title of the present volume is meant to stress the historicity of wars and battles underlying James’s life and work, quite apart from conflict on which literature thrives at all times. The book consists of five parts devoted to various forms and aspects of conflict. It deals with both literal and metaphorical battles of which the author was aware or in which he was involved. Apart from addressing James’s attitude to two major conflicts, the Civil War and World War One, the articles range from critical discussions of James’s biography, criticism, and fiction, to studies of the intertextual connections between his œuvre and works of both past and present authors.
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Henry James’s Struggle with Writing and Friends

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Greg W. Zacharias, Center for Henry James Studies, Creighton University

Introduction

Very late in life, writing the third volume of his autobiography, The Middle Years, which were some of the last pages he would ever attempt, Henry James returned to a way of representing his life that he had used explicitly since at least the preparation of the New York Edition prefaces and implicitly for much longer than that. The representational strategy to which James returned exploited a tension, at least, which escalated at times to a struggle, between his social life and work. In The Middle Years that tension organizes a section that occupies about one-third of the unfinished volume – nearly forty of its one hundred and nineteen pages. The section, chapters five, six and seven, describes several outings that took place in October 1878, while James visited his friend, Mrs. Greville, who took him to see both George Eliot and Tennyson.

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