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Henry James

Novels 1871-1880 (LOA #13): Watch and Ward / Roderick Hudson / The American / The Europeans / Confidence (Library of America Complete Novels of Henry James #1)

Henry James


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Here is an immensely engaging introduction to one of the great novelists of our own or any country, the first volume in the Library of America edition of Henry James's complete works.

James’s first novel, Watch and Ward (1871), written when he was only 28, is a Pygmalion-type story in which a proper Bostonian gentleman grows to love and eventually marry the much younger woman whose guardian he is.

Roderick Hudson (1875) is a novel about a headstrong and proud young American sculptor of generous native talent who loses his way among the entanglements and temptations of Italy. 

The American (1877) was written in Paris and is filled with scenes of Parisian life, the expatriate culture of American tourists, and the closed and protective world behind the barriers of old families and traditions.

In The Europeans (1878) a pristine, conservative, 1830s New England village is invaded by two visiting cousins, brother and sister, from the European branch of one of the town’s leading families. 

Confidence (1880), a little-known and charming novel of American expatriates traveling through the great cities and watering-places of Europe, is a light drawing-room comedy about the romantic entanglements among two old friends and the two very different women they encounter.

 is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.

Praise For Henry James: Novels 1871-1880 (LOA #13): Watch and Ward / Roderick Hudson / The American / The Europeans / Confidence (Library of America Complete Novels of Henry James #1)

“[W]hat a wholly delightful book! All the themes that are to dominate James’s work are already there—the clash of innocence and experience, the exquisite moral sensibility, the comedy of circumstance—but deployed with an unassuming wit, humor, and lightness of touch that recalls Jane Austen. A Henry James not yet aware of the importance of being Henry James is a charming spectacle indeed.” — The Weekly (Seattle)

Library of America, 9780940450134, 1312pp.

Publication Date: November 15, 1983

About the Author

Henry James (1843-1916), born in New York City, was the son of noted religious philosopher Henry James, Sr., and brother of eminent psychologist and philosopher William James. His many works include Washington Square (1880), The Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Princess Casamassima (1886), The Aspern Papers (1888), The Turn of the Screw (1898), and three large novels of the new century, The Wings of the Dove (1902), The Ambassadors (1903) and The Golden Bowl (1904). He died in London in February 1916.

William T. Stafford (1924–1991), volume editor, was a professor of English at Purdue University, a founder and editor of the journal Modern Fiction Studies, and the author of numerous studies of James’s novels, plays, and criticism.