Henry James and Edith Wharton: Letters, 1900-1915

Henry James, Jr., Author Scribner Book Company $29.95 (412p) ISBN 978-0-684-19146-1
Twenty years James's junior, Wharton was just at the outset of her literary career when the friendship of these two expatriate novelists blossomed. James, comfortably settled in London, found in Wharton's company the sustained intimacy which his circle of young, attractive men could not provide. To Wharton, James was ``Dearest Cher Maitre,'' supportive confidant during her frenetic extramarital fling with his longtime friend William Morton Fullerton. The James-Wharton meeting of minds had ``a piquant touch of the erotic,'' as Powers (editor, with Leon Edel, of James's notebooks) observes; James nicknamed her automobile ``The Vehicle of Passion.'' Later, he became an almost avuncular comrade. Wharton, unbeknownst to him, diverted her own Scribner royalties so that James received from the publisher the largest advance of his career. Nearly all of the surviving letters are by James, but we get an exchange as complex, rich and varied as the correspondents' fiction. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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