Author: Henry James

Henry James, Portrait by John Singer Sargent, Around 1913

Henry James (18431916) was one of the most influential writers of the late nineteenth century. His novels include The Portrait of a Lady (1881) and The Wings of the Dove (1902), both of which remain literary classics today. Born to a wealthy and urbane family in New York City in 1843, James briefly studied at Harvard Law School before devoting himself to writing full-time in his early twenties. He traveled widely in Europe and eventually settled in England, becoming a British subject in 1915, the year before his death. Though James left the United States, many of his works focused on Americans traveling or living in Europe. Through these short stories and novels, James explored the nature of American values and culture, often in contrast to those of Europeans.

Pandora

Henry James

While the virtues and self-command he champions appear to be gender-neutral, historically they would have been of far less civic value to America’s women, whose activities were long limited largely to the domestic sphere and whose role in civic life was confined mainly to voluntary, local charitable activity. Yet in a society informed by the American creed, eventually a new type would come into its own: the self-made American girl, whose subtle portrait is brilliantly painted in this story, “Pandora,” written in 1884 by Henry James (1843–1916).

The Story of a Year

Henry James

This story by the prolific novelist and storywriter Henry James (1843–1916) raises deep questions about what loved ones left behind owe to their lovers who go off to war, and especially about how they—we—should honor the love and explicit wishes of those who do not make it back alive.