In these unsettling stories Henry James explores writers, artists and the creation of art. In 'The Aspern Papers', a tenacious critic attempts to get his hands on a trove of memorabilia from his idol, a long-dead poet, but finds that the cost may be too great.
A wonderful new selection of Henry James's short stories exploring the relationship between art and life, edited by Michael Gorra.
This volume gathers seven of the very best of Henry James's short stories, all focussing the relationship between art and life. In 'The Aspern Papers', a critic is determined to get his hands on a great poet's papers hidden in a faded Venetian house - not matter what the human cost. 'The Author of Beltraffio', 'The Lesson of the Master' and 'The Figure in the Carpet' all focus on naive young men's unsettling encounters with their literary heroes. In 'The Middle Years', a dying novelist begins to glimpse his own potential, while 'The Real Thing' and 'Greville Fane' both explore the tension between artistic and commercial success. These fables of the creative life reveal James at his ironic, provocative best.
Henry James was born in 1843 in New York and died in London in 1916. In addition to many short stories, plays, books of criticism, autobiography and travel, he wrote some twenty novels, the first published being Roderick Hudson (1875). They include The Europeans, Washington Square, The Portrait of a Lady, The Bostonians, The Princess Casamassima, The Tragic Muse, The Spoils of Poynton, The Awkward Age, The Wings of the Dove, The Ambassadors and The Golden Bowl.
Michael Gorra is Professor of English at Smith College and the author of Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece (2012), a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in biography.