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Henry James: Novels 1901-1902: The Sacred Fount / The Wings of the Dove (Library of America) [Hardcover]

By Henry James & Leo Bersani (Editor)
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Item description for Henry James: Novels 1901-1902: The Sacred Fount / The Wings of the Dove (Library of America) by Henry James & Leo Bersani...

Presents two complete novels from Henry James.

Publishers Description
This volume brings together The Sacred Fount (1901), one of Henry James's most unusual experiments, and The Wings of the Dove (1902), one of his most beloved masterpieces and the novel that inaugurated the majestic and intricate "late phase" of his literary career.
Writing to his friend William Dean Howells, James characterized The Sacred Fount, the only one of his novels to be told in the first person, as "a fine flight into the high fantastic." While traveling to the country house of Newmarch for a weekend party, the nameless narrator becomes obsessed with the idea that a person may become younger or cleverer by tapping the "sacred fount" of another person. Convinced that Grace Brissenden has become younger by drawing upon her husband, Guy, the narrator seeks to discover the source of the newfound wit of Gilbert Long, previously "a fine piece of human furniture." His perplexing and ambiguous quest, and the varying reactions it provokes from the other guests, calls into question the imaginative inquiry central to James's art of the novel.
James described the essential idea of The Wings of the Dove as "a young person conscious of a great capacity for life, but early stricken and doomed, condemned to die under short respite, while also enamoured of the world." The heroine, a wealthy young American heiress, Milly Theale (inspired by James's beloved cousin Minny Temple), is slowly drawn into a trap set for her by the English adventuress Kate Croy and her lover, the journalist Morton Densher. The unexpected outcome of their mercenary scheme provides the resolution to a tragic story of love and betrayal, innocence and experience that has long been acknowledged as one of James's supreme achievements as a novelist. This volume prints the New York Edition text of The Wings of the Dove, and includes the illuminating preface James wrote for that edition.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   713
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 5" Height: 8"
Weight:   1.35 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Feb 2, 2006
Publisher   Library of America
ISBN  193108288X  
ISBN13  9781931082884  

Availability  0 units.

More About Henry James & Leo Bersani

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Henry James (1843-1916) is the author of such classic novels as Daisy Miller, The Golden Bowl, and Washington Square.
David Bromwich is a Sterling Professor of English at Yale University.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Authors, A-Z > ( J ) > James, Henry
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Classics
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > British > British > James, Henry
5Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > 19th Century
6Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > United States > General
7Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > Collections & Readers

Reviews - What do customers think about Henry James: Novels 1901-1902: The Sacred Fount / The Wings of the Dove (Library of America)?

The Edition In Itself  Jun 30, 2006
The three stars are aimed at the edition, rather than the work itself (The Master is never less than a 4 [although, I prefer his middle period to his later period].)

The edition falls short in the in inclusion of The Sacred Fount. Any edition which includes The Wings of the Dove should necessarily include The Ambassadors, and The Golden Bowl. These works are the core of his late oeuvre, and should be presented together. The Sacred Fount is interesting, but just that and nothing more. Obviously, the LOA had their mind on their money and their money on their mind when they produced this volume, thus doing a disservice to James lovers by not allowing them to have the Big Three in one package.

As far as the usage of the New York Edition, I'm absolutely fine with that decision: It's the last version touched by James and obviously the one he wanted to leave to his readers. It's his last word on his art, and we should respect that. If you want to track his artisitic development, buy a less expensive volume of the early version.
The combination of two of the greatest stories from during the turn of the nineteenth century  Apr 4, 2006
Henry James: Novels 1901-1902: The Sacred Fount & The Wings Of The Dove by Henry James, now released in current edition edited by Leo Bersani, is the combination of two of the greatest stories from during the turn of the nineteenth century. Composed of The Sacred Fount, the only of Henry James' stories to have been told in the first person perspective, and The Wings Of The Dove, as one of the greatest stories told by Henry James, Henry James: Novels 1901-1902 is an esteemed collection of two very great landmarkers in literary history. An important addition to either academic or public library system, Henry James: Novels 1901-1902 is very strongly recommended to all students of literature as well as collectors of Henry James greatest and most known works.
Why use the text of the New York Edition?!  Mar 10, 2006

Every previous volume of Henry James -- 4 volumes of novels and 5 volumes of stories -- does *NOT* use the New York Edition, preferring instead the earliest printed book edition (novels) or the earliest periodical text (stories).

This gives us a picture of James' evolving artistry over time.

Now, for some inexplicable reason, Bersani chooses to use the New York text for Wings.


One star.

LOA -- DUMB AND DUMBER  Feb 27, 2006

LOA blunders yet again, this time by inexcusably BOTCHING the volume that should have been the absolute capstone of the series: Wings, Ambassadors, Golden Bowl.

Instead, LOA will round out the series of Henry James' novels by publishing 4 less-than-generous volumes instead of the expected 3.

Here is what LOA should have published:

Novels 1896-1901

Other House
Spoils of Poynton
What Maisie Knew
Awkward Age
Sacred Fount
~1200 pages

Novels 1902-1904

Wings of the Dove
Golden Bowl
~1400 pages

Novels 1911-1916

Ivory Tower (unfinished)
Sense of the Past (unfinished)
~700 pages

Unfortunately, here is what they will actually publish:

Novels 1896-1898

Other House
Spoils of Poynton
What Maisie Knew
Awkward Age
~1000 pages

Novels 1901-1902

Sacred Fount
Wings of the Dove
~700 pages

Novels 1903-1904

Golden Bowl
~900 pages

Novels 1911-1916

Ivory Tower (unfinished)
Sense of the Past (unfinished)
~700 pages

Clearly, LOA will publish 4 volumes where 3 would suffice. They will doubtless use the extra revenue to fund such "choice" volumes as 6+ volumes of journalism (scoff!), movie criticism (ha!), and the "lyrics" of Cole Porter (groan). (Notice that those "lyrics" are not called "poems" -- because they most decidedly are not!) What's next? Journalism of the 1970s and 80s? The "lyrics" of Bob Dylan? The movie -- er, excuse me, "film" -- criticism of Siskel and Ebert?!

Not to mention that this volume reprints the New York Edition text of Wings, while every previous volume of novels reprints the first book edition. What an egregious editorial oversight... Plus, LOA pads this volume by including the Preface to the New York Edition, which is already included in the James volumes of literary criticism. LOA has resorted to publishing the same content twice!

With every passing year, LOA gets stingier and stingier. And with every passing year, its standard of what constitutes canonical writing falls ever, ever lower.

This volume rates at best one star on account of its meagre page count, incompetent textual editing, and shockingly poor series planning.

LOA's supporters are propping up an organization that has clearly lost sight of its original mission.


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