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Order and Design

Henry James's Titled Story Sequences


Prof. Richard P. Gage

Henry James wrote six collections of stories to which he gave titles distinct from any stories contained therein. This study analyzes thematic continuities and ideas that led James to sequence the tales in these collections. Gage also analyzes Volume Eighteen of the «New York Edition» to reveal how James's redeployment of stories from The Better Sort yields a different design from the earlier collections. James's ordering of tales is not haphazard but purposeful. In the titled collections, he builds narratives to distill themes suggested by the titles. In Volume Eighteen, the reader is left to create the title or meaning.
Contents: James's titled story collections - Terminations, Embarrassments, The Two Magics, The Soft Side, The Better Sort, and The Finer Grain - are organized to suggest the titles. Volume Eighteen of the «New York Edition» is similarly sequenced.
This study examines a new Jamesian Form differing form the nouvelle and the novel - the story sequence.