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Theme of the Week: Henry James

“Portrait of Henry James”, oil painting by John Singer Sargent (1913)

Henry James was an American-British writer who spent most of his writing career in Britain. He is regarded as one of the key figures of 19th-century literary realism.

He is best known for a number of novels showing Americans encountering Europe and Europeans. His method of writing from the point of view of a character within a tale allowed him to explore issues related to consciousness and perception, and his style in later works has been compared to impressionist painting.

5 Facts about Henry James

1. Henry James was born and raised in America but loved England so much that he traveled there often and eventually died there as a British citizen.

2. Even though he died in England, his body was returned to the United States and buried in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

3. Henry James influences as a writer were Honoré de Balzac, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henrik Ibsen, Ivan Turgenev and George Elito.

4. He frequently wrote about character differences between people from the Old World (Europe) and people from the New World (United States).

5. For most of his life, James possessed ambitions for success as a playwright. He converted his novel The American into a play that enjoyed modest returns in the early 1890s. In all he wrote about a dozen plays, most of which went unproduced.


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