The Correspondence of Henry James and Henry Adams, 1877-1914

Henry James, Jr., Author Louisiana State University Press $25 (107p) ISBN 978-0-8071-1729-3
Monteiro ( Robert Frost and the New England Renaissance ) here culls from the many volumes of collected letters of James (1843-1916) and Adams (1838-1918) their correspondence to each other: 25 letters from James to Adams, four from James to Adams's wife, Clover, seven from Adams to James. Also included is an appendix cataloguing letters known to have been written but as yet unlocated and, most crucially, a comprehensive preface and footnotes to set the contexts. Although the compilation is clearly an academic exercise, devotees of the two to agree with `their' later writers will take pleasure anew in their elegant prose as the correspondents observe place--James writes from Lamb House in Sussex, the U.S. and the Continent, Adams from his Washington, D.C., home and from Paris--and comment on contemporaries, family and their mutual heritage. Praising James's biography William Wetmore Story and His Friends , Adams bemoans in a 1903 letter that Bostonians of the correspondents' class are ``the same mind . . . Story, Summer, Emerson and Alcott, Lowell and Longfellow . . . and all the rest . . . so you have written not Story's life, but your own and mine,'' then in 1909 observes that ``we are altogether a dilapidated social show, bric-a-brac or old clo' shop.'' By 1911 he is complaining, ``As for the world, I am done with it, and have no relations with it,'' to which James counters, ``I still, in presence of life (or what you deny to be such) have reactions--as many as possible.'' When James died, Adams suffered the loss deeply, for he had ``no one Jamesian to talk to,'' a sentiment readers, too, will feel keenly. Photos. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1992
Release date: 06/01/1992
Genre: Nonfiction
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