The Complete Letters of Henry James, 1884–1886


The Complete Letters of Henry James, 1884–1886

Volume 2

Henry James
Edited by Michael Anesko and Greg W. Zacharias
Katie Sommer, Associate Editor

The Complete Letters of Henry James Series

376 pages


October 2021


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October 2021


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About the Book

Recipient of the Approved Edition seal from the Modern Language Association’s Committee on Scholarly Editions
This second volume of The Complete Letters of Henry James, 1884–1886 contains 156 letters, of which 111 are published for the first time, written from December 24, 1885, to December 31, 1886. These letters mark Henry James’s ongoing efforts to care for his sister, develop his work, strengthen his professional status, build friendships, engage timely political and economic issues, and maximize his income. James details work on his midcareer novel The Princess Casamassima and announces plans for The Tragic Muse. This volume opens with James’s engagement with friends in Britain and France and concludes with his arrival in Italy for a six-month visit.

Author Bio

Henry James (1843–1916) was an American author and literary critic. He wrote some two dozen novels, including The Portrait of a Lady and The Golden Bowl, and left behind more than ten thousand letters.
Michael Anesko is a professor in the Department of English and in the American Studies Program at Pennsylvania State University. He is a general editor of The Cambridge Edition of the Complete Fiction of Henry James and author of Henry James and Queer Filiation: Hardened Bachelors of the Edwardian Era.
Greg W. Zacharias is a professor in the Department of English and the director of the Center for Henry James Studies at Creighton University. He is editor of the Henry James Review and of A Companion to Henry James.
Katie Sommer has been associate editor of the Complete Letters of Henry James series since 2007 and has worked on the Henry James letters project since 2001.


"Michael Anesko and Gregory W. Zacharias's achievement amounts to a culmination; they have given us authoritative editions comprising all James’s extant letters, complete with helpful contextual information."—Rafael Walker, Edith Wharton Review

Praise for The Complete Letters of Henry James, 1878–1880, volumes 1 & 2
“Michael Anesko’s superb introduction to both volumes places James’s letters in these crucial years in the context of James’s literary works and the broader social history in which they were produced. . . . These new volumes of The Complete Letters of Henry James deserve our admiration for their scholarly rigor and the teamwork required not only of the volume editors and Michael Anesko but also of the associate editors, editorial assistants, and advisory group of this monumental project. . . . These handsome volumes . . . [are] extraordinary resources.”—John Carlos Rowe, Resource for American Literary Study

Praise for earlier volumes in The Complete Letters of Henry James series
“Reading [these] edited letters is a delight. The transcriptions allow one to read fluidly rather than haltingly, preserving the rhythm and tone of the original communications together with their content. The explanatory notes do a superb job of contextualizing the letters and identifying references and allusions within them. I could not help but admire the astonishing discernment and scholarship manifested in this volume.”—Sarah Wadsworth, professor of English at Marquette University
“Rippling through these letters are the first imaginative stirrings of one of the greatest fiction and travel writers in the language. [James] was also one of the most entertaining—and prolific—correspondents. . . . These are richly enthralling letters.”—Peter Kemp, Sunday Times (London)
“This latest volume of the Complete Letters represents, no less than its forebears, an inestimable contribution to readers hitherto obliged to hunt down James’s letters in various selections or scattered archives, and deserves to be greeted with the same jubilant chorus of praise and gratitude.”—Alicia Rix, Times Literary Supplement


Table of Contents

Symbols and Abbreviations    

December 24    To Theodore E. Child    
December 29    To Henrietta Reubell    

January 1    To Thomas Bailey Aldrich    
January 5    To Archibald Philip Primrose, Lord Rosebery    
January 7    To Elizabeth Boott    
January 11    To Mrs. Pfeiffer    
January 13    To Mrs. Pfeiffer    
January 21    To Edward Tyas Cook    
January 23    To Edward Tyas Cook    
January 25    To Frederick Macmillan    
January 28    To Edmund Gosse    
January 31    To Mr. Pfeiffer    
February 2    To Thomas Bailey Aldrich    
February 4    To Robert Louis Stevenson    
February 6    To Edwin Lawrence Godkin    
February 7    To Grace Norton    
February 11    To Maria Theresa Villiers Earle    
February 12    To Mary Smith Mundella    
February 22    To Elizabeth Boott    
February 22    To Francis Boott    
February 25    To Lady Elizabeth Eberstadt Lewis    
February 26    To Lady Elizabeth Eberstadt Lewis    
March 3    To Thomas Bailey Aldrich    
March 3    To Edward Lee Childe    
March 8    To Edith Russell, Lady Playfair    
March 9    To William James    
March 11    To Henrietta Reubell    
March 12    To Edwin Lawrence Godkin    
<b>c. March 14 <n> August 28 </b>    To Sir John Forbes Clark    
<b>c. March 14 <n> August 28 </b>    To Lady Constance Wilhelmina Frances Leslie    
March 14    To George Du Maurier    
March 17    To Elizabeth Boott    
March 18    To Edmund Gosse    
March 18    To Mary James Wilkinson Mathews    
<b>March 19 <n> August 27 </b>    To Louisa and Mary Wilhelmina Lawrence    
March 19    To Laurence Alma-Tadema    
March 26    To Thomas Bailey Aldrich    
<b>March 27 or April 3, 10, or 17 </b>    To Robert Louis and Frances Van de Grift Stevenson    
<b> March 29 or April 5 or 12 </b>    To Sidney Colvin    
<b> March 29 or April 5 or 12 </b>    To Frances Van de Grift Stevenson    
March 29    To Thomas Bailey Aldrich    
March 29    To Emma Wilkinson Pertz    
April 2    To Thomas Bailey Aldrich    
April 7    To Ellen “Nellie” Epps Gosse    
April 7    To William James    
April 7    To Emma Wilkinson Pertz    
April 8    To Margaret Oliphant    
April 13    To Catharine Walsh    
April 16    To William Jones Hoppin    
April 18    To Frances Van de Grift Stevenson    
April 21    To Thomas Bailey Aldrich    
April 22    To Margaret Oliphant    
April 26    To Alfred Lyttelton    
April 29    To Thomas Bailey Aldrich    
<b>May 1886</b>    To Edmund Yates    
May 3    To Anne Benson Skepper Procter    
May 10    To Mary Morton Hartpence Sands    
May 13    To Mrs. Phelps    
May 16    To Lady Elizabeth Eberstadt Lewis    
May 19    To James Bryce    
May 19    To Henrietta Reubell    
May 19    To Laurence Alma-Tadema    
May 21    To Thomas Bailey Aldrich    
May 25    To Francis Boott    
May 27    To Thomas Bailey Aldrich    
May 29    To Mary James Wilkinson Mathews    
June 5    To Thomas Bailey Aldrich    
June 10    To Lady Isabella Augusta Persse Gregory    
June 10    To Miss Townley    
June 13    To Catharine Walsh    
June 13    To William James    
June 15    To Marion Langdon    
<b>June 18 </b>    To Frederick Macmillan    
June 24    To Frederick Macmillan    
June 26    To Lady Elizabeth Eberstadt Lewis    
June 28    To Thomas Bailey Aldrich    
July 5    To Robert Underwood Johnson    
July 7    To Thomas Bailey Aldrich    
July 12    To Robert Underwood Johnson    
July 14    To Ariana Randolph Wormeley Curtis    
July 16    To Robert Louis Stevenson    
July 16    To Grace Norton    
July 23    To Robert Underwood Johnson    
July 25    To Robert Underwood Johnson    
July 30    To Robert Louis Stevenson    
<b>August 5 </b>    To George Du Maurier    
<b>August 7 </b>    To Edmund Gosse    
August 12    To Elizabeth Boott    
<b>August 12 </b>    To Edmund Gosse    
August 15    To Francis Boott    
August 28    To Edmund Gosse    
August 28    To Frederick Locker-Lampson    
September 4    To James Russell Lowell    
<b>c. September 8 <n>c. October 1 1886</b>    To Edmund Gosse    
September 10, 11    To William James    
September 12    To Lady Jane O’Meara Simon    
September 14    To Julian Russell Sturgis    
September 20    To Frederick Macmillan    
September 20    To Julian Russell Sturgis    
September 27    To Houghton, Mifflin and Company    
September 28    To Robert Underwood Johnson    
September 29    To Henry White    
<b>October 1 </b>    To Florence Eveleen Olliffe Bell    
October 2    To Houghton, Mifflin and Company    
October 8    To Houghton, Mifflin and Company    
October 12    To Houghton, Mifflin and Company    
<b>October 13 </b>    To Margaret Oliphant    
October 13    To Archibald Philip Primrose, Lord Rosebery    
October 18    To Elizabeth Boott    
October 19    To William Dean Howells    
October 20    To Katharine de Kay Bronson    
October 21    To Isabella Stewart Gardner    
October 22    To Edmund Gosse    
October 22    To Frederick Macmillan    
October 25    To Edmund Gosse    
October 25    To Robert Underwood Johnson    
October 25 <b>1886<n>87 or 1890<n>94</b>    To Elizabeth “Lily” Gaskell Norton    
October 26    To Isabella Stewart Gardner    
October 26    To Edmund Gosse    
October 28    To Carlo Placci    
October 29    To Edmund Gosse    
October 30    To Catharine Walsh    
<b>November 3 </b>    To Edmund Gosse    
<b>November 3 </b>    To Elizabeth “Dolly” Yates Thompson    
November 4    To Francis Boott    
November 4    To Katharine de Kay Bronson    
November 5    To Isabella Stewart Gardner    
November 5    To Robert Louis Stevenson    
<b>November 8 </b>    To Edmund Gosse    
November 9    To Edwin Lawrence Godkin    
November 12    To Elizabeth “Lily” Millet    
November 12    To Henrietta Reubell    
November 12    To Robert Louis Stevenson    
November 13    To William James    
November 16    To Katharine de Mattos    
November 16    To Katharine Peabody Loring    
November 16    To James Russell Lowell    
November 17    To Frederick Locker-Lampson    
November 20    To Ellen “Nellie” Epps Gosse    
November 25    To Mrs. Simpson    
November 26    To Francis Boott    
<b>November 27 </b>    To Florence Eveleen Olliffe Bell    
December 1    To Henry Alden    
December 1    To Violet Paget    
December 1    To Robert Louis Stevenson    
December 6    To Katharine de Kay Bronson    
December 6    To Lady Louisa Erskine Wolseley    
December 6    To Charles Eliot Norton    
December 7    To Grace Norton    
December 7    To William Dean Howells    
<b>December 11, 18, or 25 1886; April 9, 16, 23, or 30 1887; or May 7, 14, or 21 1887</b>    To Emma Wilkinson Pertz    
December 19    To William Archer    
December 19    To Robert Louis Stevenson    
December 23    To William James and Alice Howe Gibbens James    
December 24    To John Milton Hay    
December 31    To Linda White Mazini Villari    

Biographical Register    
General Editors’ Note    
Works Cited    

Also of Interest