The Grasping Imagination: The American Writings of Henry James
Published: December 1970© 1970
310 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.70 in, 8 b&w illustrations
There has been almost no study of the American writings of Henry James, that is, the fiction, essays, and travel literature with an American setting. The great bulk of Jamesian criticism deals with the international novels, particularly his late works.
This study places James’s career in a new perspective by discussing its American aspect. It gives the critic an opportunity to come to grips with the evolution of James’s technique from his second short story to his penultimate, unfinished novel, The Ivory Tower.
‘Unsensational and eminently readable, it brings the best kind of “key” to a reading of James: a lucid intelligence and knowledge illumined by personal insights. It is [the author’s] contention, amply documented and convincingly argued, that the more obvious international aspect of James’s fiction has overshadowed its equally distinct American aspect. In charting that course for the first time, Mr. Buitenhuis does more than enforce James’s American roots, which have so often been questioned; he also helps to clarify and heighten the dramatic confrontation of the Old World and New, which was the central concern of his fiction.’ Nona Balakian, The New York Times