James's biographer and a leading James scholar provide the definitive edition of the writer's notebooks, which were discovered among his papers by Edel in 1937. Of the material here assembled, much was previously unpublished, including pocket diaries and dictated notes.
The Complete Notebooks of Henry James opens a wide, clear window into the private workshop of America's master novelist, the architect of modernism in fiction. It is a volume that deserves to be called definitive. Assembled and edited by Leon Edel, James's much-acclaimed prizewinning biographer, and Lyall H. Powers, critic and editor of James's letters to Edith Wharton, this book includes the nine scribbler-notebooks that were published by Oxford in 1947; these have been considerably updated and annotated to correct the identification of stories developed by James from his various notes and to reveal many noted Victorians James concealed through use of their initials. Certain omitted portions of the notebooks have also been restored. This volume is especially noteworthy for the body of new material that it contains. It includes a series of James's pocket diaries in which, amid appointments and luncheon dates, he jotted down observations and ideas for his fiction and commented on his personal relations. Also here are some fugitive dictated notes, in which James offered an autobiographcial meditation on the "turning Point in his life and the "working out" of a story based on a passion murder by an American acquaintance in the south of France. James's long out-of-print statements for his unfinished novels The Ivory Tower and The Sense of the Past, scenarios for unfinished plays, the writer's deathbed dictation--all these are here as well. An appendix includes a substantial fragment of a story James never completed, and the book even provides insight into James's "cash accounts." Everywhere throughout the collection, in writings never intended for the public eye, the artist is seen at work. his private prayers to his Muse and exhortations to himself make exhilarating reading.
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