The Complete Letters of Henry James, 1855–1872


The Complete Letters of Henry James, 1855–1872

Volume 2

Henry James
Edited by Pierre A. Walker and Greg W. Zacharias
Introduction by Alfred Habegger

The Complete Letters of Henry James Series

528 pages
Illus., family trees


August 2006


$95.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

August 2006


$95.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

The Complete Letters of Henry James fills a crucial gap in modern literary studies by presenting in a scholarly edition the complete letters of one of the great novelists and letter writers of the English language. Comprising more than ten thousand letters reflecting on a remarkably wide range of topics—from James’s own life and literary projects to broader questions on art, literature, and criticism—this edition is an indispensable resource for students of James and of American and English literature, culture, and criticism. It will also be essential for research libraries throughout North America and Europe and for scholars who specialize in James, the European novel, and modern literature.

Pierre A. Walker and Greg W. Zacharias have conceived this edition according to the exacting standards of the Committee on Scholarly Editions. The first in the series, this two-volume work includes the letters from 1854 to 1869 in volume one and the letters from 1869 to 1872 in volume two.

Author Bio

Pierre A. Walker is a professor of English at Salem State College. He is the editor of Henry James on Culture: Collected Essays on Politics and the American Social Scene, available in a Bison Books edition, and the author of Reading Henry James in French Cultural Contexts. Greg W. Zacharias is a professor of English and the founder and director of the Center for Henry James Studies at Creighton University. He is the author of Henry James and the Morality of Fiction.


“Luxuriously spacious design. . . . The textual editing of the letters is fantastically thorough, every blot, deletion, insertion and misspelling being lucidly presented in the text itself and further described in endnotes to each letter; for the reader this evokes the dash and spontaneity of James’s pen, and for the scholar it clarifies every possible ambiguity caused by that dash. . . . The letters themselves are so vivid, funny and revealing that [the edition] is already indispensable.”—Alan Hollinghurst, The Guardian

“These extraordinary, profoundly welcome volumes are the first fruits of an epic undertaking by two heroic American scholars, Pierre Walker and Greg Zacharias. . . . [T]hese early volumes give a wonderfully pleasurable picture of a writer at the beginning of his journey, enduring setbacks and barren spells, but already showing the impressive resilience, wisdom and wit that were the foundations of his astonishing career.”—Philip Horne, The Daily Telegraph

“[James’s] letters have never before appeared in their entirety. The University of Nebraska Press is attempting, slowly, to make up for that fact in a scholarly edition that obviates the need for any other."—Benjamin Markovits, Times Literary Supplement

"Excellently annotated. . . . This rich undertaking will reward historians, biographers, and literary critics."—Choice

"Rippling through these letters are the first imaginative stirrings of one of the greatest fiction and travel writers in the language. He was also one of the most entertaining—and prolific—correspondents. . . . James’s correspondence, its editors estimate, will run to at least 140 volumes and will include more than 10,000 letters. The most comprehensive edition before this . . . offered just 1,000 or so. The partiality of that selection is revealed by this magisterial new venture, whose two opening volumes brim with a wealth of hitherto unpublished letters. . . . These are richly enthralling letters. The sooner the next 138 or so volumes appear, the better.”—Peter Kemp, Sunday Times (London)

"The volumes are beautiful, solidly put together, with big type, wide margins, and copious annotations remarking on cross-outs and misspellings and new words written over old ones. . . . [They] bring a high seriousness to letters that were usually dashed off; certainly the scholars preparing these volumes will have spent many more hours on each letter than did either James or the recipients he was addressing."—Edmund V. White, The New York Review of Books

"These volumes are the first in a complete edition of James's letters and they set a very high standard for subsequent volumes to follow."—David Seed, Journal of American Studies

“[T]he general public has been deprived of James’s full epistolary record until now. . . . All the more reason to celebrate the present volumes, handsomely produced and extensively and intelligently annotated, which inaugurate a complete edition in some 140 volumes, and to feel gratitude toward the editors and the University of Nebraska Press.”—Peter Brooks, Bookforum

“[This] collected edition of James’s letters was needed. . . . These two volumes . . . . throw much light on [Henry James’] relationship with his family and his country of birth while at the same time helping us towards some understanding of his health problems, such as they were. Some of the letters from Italy are small masterpieces of description; they are alert and sensitive and full of astute judgments. Sometimes, too, James is funny, irreverent and outspoken.”—Colm Tóibín, London Review of Books

“It is precisely the comprehensive scope of this project—to collect and publish all of James’s letters in a scholarly edition—that makes these first two volumes and their promise of more to come so remarkable. . . . Besides its comprehensiveness, what makes this University of Nebraska Press edition distinctive is the editors’ decision to use ‘plain-text editing.’ . . . For these moments of new understanding and for the painstaking editorial energy that accompanies them, the only suitable response to the arrival of The Complete Letters of Henry James: 1855-1872 is to fall to our knees in gratitude.”—Renée Tursi, The Henry James Review


2007 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

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