Using hundreds of letters only recently made available and taking a fresh look at primary materials, Novick reveals a man utterly unlike the passive, repressed, and privileged observer painted by other biographers. Henry James is seen anew, as a passionate and engaged man of his times, driven to achieve greatness and fame, drawn to the company of other men, able to write with sensitivity about women as he shared their experiences of love and family responsibility. James, age thirty-eight as the volume begins, basking in the success of his first major novel, The Portrait of a Lady , is a literary lion in danger of being submerged by celebrity. Ironically, while struggling to excel in the theatre, James writes such prose masterpieces as The Wings of the Dove and The Golden Bowl. Through an astonishingly prolific life, James still finds time for profound friendships and intense rivalries.
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