Henry James by Sheldon M. Novick
The Young Master

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Synopsis

As if Henry James himself were guiding us, we visit old Calvinist New York in the mid-nineteenth century, and share the coming-of-age of a young man whose boldness of spirit and profound capacity for affection attract both men and women to him. We journey with James through Italy and France, witness his first love affair in Paris, and settle with him in London at the height of Empire in the Victorian Age. We scale the heights of London society with him, and as the world opens to James we share with him the experience of writing a series of celebrated and successful novels, culminating with Washington Square (on which the play The Heiress is based) and his masterpiece The Portrait of a Lady. The Washington Post Book World notes: “It is no small ambition to write a biography of James that is commensurate with that master, and Sheldon Novick has done it.”

“Splendidly written . . . Novick has aimed to bring James back to life and he has succeeded brilliantly.”
–The Washington Post Book World

“Like a movie of James’s life, as it unfold moment to moment.”
–The New York Times

“Masterful in bringing James and his world to life.”
–San Francisco Examiner-Chronicle

“Beautifully written, with a grace that enables [Sheldon Novick] to weave his subject’s words in and out of his own with a properly Jamesian suavity . . . Novick’s account gives one a profound respect for James’s persistence and power of will.”
–The New Republic

NOTE: This edition does not include a photo insert.
 

About Sheldon M. Novick

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Sheldon M. Novick is the author of Henry James: The Mature Master, Henry James: The Young Master and Honorable Justice: The Life of Oliver Wendell Holmes, and is the editor of The Collected Works of Justice Holmes. He is Adjunct Professor of Law and History at Vermont Law School, and lives in Norwich, Vermont.
 
Published July 27, 2011 by Random House. 592 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Henry James

Kirkus Reviews

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This sequel to Henry James: The Young Master (1996, etc.) chronicles, in numbingly Jamesian detail, the expatriate writer’s attempt, in his social life and his work, to create a venue for “large & confident action—splendid & supreme creation.” Novick (Law and History/Vermont Law School) follows t...

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Kirkus Reviews

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for perpetuating the notion that James ``retreated from the terrors of heterosexual rivalry into a world of delicate imagination.'' However, even though Novick's assumption that James was homosexual seems plausible given the latter's aversion to marriage and intense attachment to young men, the b...

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The New York Times

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''He felt a sharp and unbearable idea staring at him, like something alive and fierce and predatory in the air, whispering to him that he had preferred her dead rather than alive, that he had known what to do with her once life was taken from her, but he had denied her when she asked him gently f...

Jun 20 2004 | Read Full Review of Henry James: The Young Master

The New York Times

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In the title essay of a collection published this year, the novelist and critic David Lodge declared 2004 to have been “The Year of Henry James.” This was because 2004 saw the publication of two major “biographical” novels about James — “The Master,” by Colm Toibin, and Lodge’s own “Author, Autho...

Dec 23 2007 | Read Full Review of Henry James: The Young Master

Publishers Weekly

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immorality of loves that are perfectly conventional."" By the close of this first part of a two-volume life, James has focused in his fiction on a ""spontaneous moral sense that would be the distinctive American trait in the stories and novels."" To give it reality, he developed his formula of th...

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The New York Review of Books

Novick called the first half of his biography of Henry James, going up to 1881 and the publication of The Portrait of a Lady, The Young Master, a term whose resonances he seemed not quite to hear: Did James not struggle for mastery, by a prolonged, unresting process of discovery, or was Master, l...

Feb 14 2008 | Read Full Review of Henry James: The Young Master

Project MUSE

And, although Tóibín's essay takes us through to James's last New York story, he also uses James to warn that the critic's word is not conclusion: "Nothing is my last word about anything—I am interminably supersubtle and analytic" (NY).

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Indeed, the remarkable "digestibility" of James is reflected in the wealth of screen adaptations recorded in Horne's own lively screen history of James.

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Griffin, editor of the Henry James Review and author and editor of a number of works on Henry James.

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With The Young Master, I see no point in wasting anyone's time by demonstrating once again that Novick has no evidence for his strange and improbable claim that in the spring of 1865, both in Cambridge and in his parents' home in Boston, James "performed his first acts of love" (109)--physical, s...

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The position Novick adopts here, that James's letters and tales suggest he was "a man at ease with sexuality in general" (13), reprises the reductive approach to James's sexuality taken in Novick's recent biography: "it has seemed most reasonable to assume that when [James] seemed to be having a ...

| Read Full Review of Henry James: The Young Master

Project MUSE

With The Young Master, I see no point in wasting anyone's time by demonstrating once again that Novick has no evidence for his strange and improbable claim that in the spring of 1865, both in Cambridge and in his parents' home in Boston, James "performed his first acts of love" (109)--physical, s...

| Read Full Review of Henry James: The Young Master

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