Synopses & Reviews
The Complete Notebooks of Henry James
opens a clear window into the private workshop of America's master novelist. Leon Edel, James' highly-acclaimed award-winning biographer, and Lyall H. Powers, critic and editor of James' letters to Edith Wharton, have assembled and edited this definitive volume.
It contains the nine scribbler-notebooks originally published by Oxford in 1947, with considerable updating and annotations that both correct the identification of stories developed by James from his various notes and reveal many noted Victorians whom he concealed through the use of initials. Edel and Powers have also restored certain previously omitted portions of the notebooks, as well as including over 20,000 words of new material. This new material consists of a series of James' pocket diaries in which, amid appointments and luncheon dates, he jotted down observations and ideas for his fiction and commented on his personal relations. They also provide some fugitive dictated notes, in which James offered an autobiographical meditation on the "turning point" in his life and the "working out" of a story based on a passion murder by an American aquaintance in the south of France.
That's not all; Edel and Powers also give us James' long out-of-print statements for his unfinished novels The Ivory Tower and The Sense of the Past, scenarios for unfinished plays, notes on his "cash accounts," and the writer's deathbed dictation, as well as a long outline of The Ambassadors and jacket cover notes now identified as James' own writing. An appendix provides a substantial, and previously unpublished, fragment of Hugh Merrow, a story he never completed. Through all these collected writings never intended for the public eye, we see the artist at work. His private prayers to his Muse and exhortations to himself make for exhilarating reading.
About the Author
About the Editors
Leon Edel is the author of Life of Henry James which received numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Arts and Letters.
Lyall H. Powers is Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan and is author and editor of several critical studies of Henry James.