(15 April 1843 – ) was an American-born writer, regarded as one of the key figures of 19th-century literary realism
. He was the son of Henry James, Sr., a clergyman, and the brother of philosopher and psychologist William James
and diarist Alice James
James alternated between America and Europe for the first 20 years of his life, after which he settled in England, becoming a British subject
in 1915, one year before his death.
Everything about Florence seems to be coloured with a mild violet, like diluted wine.
The face of nature and civilization in this our country is to a certain point a very sufficient literary field. But it will yield its secrets only to a really grasping imagination... To write well and worthily of American things one need even more than elsewhere to be a master.
It's a complex fate, being an American, and one of the responsibilities it entails is fighting against a superstitious valuation of Europe.
One might enumerate the items of high civilization, as it exists in other countries, which are absent from the texture of American life, until it should become a wonder to know what was left.
Whatever question there may be of his [Thoreau's] talent, there can be none, I think, of his genius. It was a slim and crooked one; but it was eminently personal. He was imperfect, unfinished, inartistic; he was worse than provincial — he was parochial; it is only at his best that he is readable.
He would agree that life is a little worth living — or worth living a little; but would remark that, unfortunately, to live little enough, we have to live a great deal.
It is, I think, an indisputable fact that Americans are, as Americans, the most self-conscious people in the world, and the most addicted to the belief that the other nations of the earth are in a conspiracy to undervalue them.