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Biographical Sketch

Henry James Jr. and Sr. in 1854. Photograph by matthew Brady
Henry James led a fascinating life, the many experiences of which directly affected his writings. Born into a wealthy family with nontraditional ideas of the role of children and education, an emphasis was placed on his education and that of his siblings. Although an American by birth, and despite a constant patriotism to his native country, he felt that he was a European at heart, and spent most of his life in Europe. Friends with many of the intellectual leaders of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, by whom he was highly respected, Henry James had a profound influence on generations of writers despite many years of critical and popular neglect.

In order to examine the work of Henry James and its importance, it is necessary to have a brief understanding of the man. The pages that follow offer a brief introduction to his life and his legacy. If you are interested in finding out more about Henry James, please visit the Suggested Readings page.

Click to begin: 1843-1864