Pass It On

Tidbits and treats from the Sunnyvale Public Library Reference Division

Great Books IV – Henry James February 11, 2009

Filed under: Authors,Fiction,reader's advisory — svref @ 11:28 am


Henry James (1843-1916) wrote of innocent people in a harsh world, and of Americans discovering the complexity of European society. His novels often had a global focus, with characters moving in a social world that encompassed New York, Paris and other international hot spots.

Contemporaries like H.G. Wells objected to the sometimes ponderous style of James’s fiction, but his strong themes and patiently constructed effects attracted other fans like T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. James’s stories and novels continue to fascinate readers, and many have been adapted into films. “Every good story is of course both a picture and an idea,” James wrote in 1888, “and the more they are interfused the better the problem is solved.”

Stop by our Great Authors display in the fiction section of the library to discover writing by and about Henry James.

Sources: Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2009; “Henry James,” Dictionary of American Biography, American Council of Learned Societies, 1928-1936; The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Quotations, Oxford University Press, 1997. Photo from


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