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Henry James

Henry James

Author: Henry James

Dates: 15 April 1843 – 28 February 1916

Nationality: American

Title of Book: The Tragic Muse

“Mother wouldn’t like it. She has inherited the fine old superstition that art’s pardonable only so long as it’s bad–so long as it’s done at odd hours, for a little distraction, like a game of tennis or of whist. The only thing that can justify it, the effort to carry it as far as one can (which you can’t do without time and singleness of purpose), she regards as just the dangerous, the criminal element. It’s the oddest hind-part-before view, the drollest immorality.”

“She doesn’t want one to be professional,” Biddy returned as if she could do justice to every system.

“Better leave it alone then. There are always duffers enough.”

“I don’t want to be a duffer,” Biddy said. “But I thought you encouraged me.”

“So I did, my poor child. It was only to encourage myself.”

“With your own work–your painting?”

“With my futile, my ill-starred endeavours. Union is strength–so that we might present a wider front, a larger surface of resistance.”


Brief Biography: James was an American write but spent most of his career in England and became a British subject in 1915. He was a key figure in literary realism. James’ style of writing from the point of view of a character allowed him to explore issues of consciousness and perception.