Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Henry James reads the papers

[Henry James, Jr. to William Dean Howells]

Cambridge, May 10th [1867]

Dear Howells —

Thanks again for your papers* — They are utterly charming, & a 100 times the most graceful, witty and poetical things yet written in this land. I especially liked the chapter on Ferrara. — Que n'y suis-je-pas! But they are all delightful and I await the rest. Your manner seems to me quite your own & yet it reminds one vaguely of all kinds of pleasant & poignant associations. Thou hast the gift — "go always!" I like the real levity of your lightness & the real feeling of your soberness; and I admire the delicacy of your touch always & everywhere.

The worst of it is that it is almost too sympathetic. You intimate, you suggest so many of the refinements of the reality, that the reader's soul is racked by this superfluous enjoyment. But as I say, I think I can stand another batch.

Your's always
H.J. jr.

*Italian Journeys by William Dean Howells

-from Henry James: A Life in Letters by Philip Horne.

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