Lansdown, Richard (2000) Introduction. In: Lansdown, Richard, (ed.) The Bostonians: a novel by Henry James. Penguin Classics . Penguin Books, London, UK, vii-xxx.

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[Extract] (Readers should be warned that in pursuing certain critical issues the Introduction reveals the plot of the novel.)

Many readers, myself among them, believe The Bostonians to be among Henry James's best full-length novels. (For his part, James described it in 1885 as 'the best fiction I have ever written'.1) Standing as it does between the novels of his apprenticeship and the profoundly complex and demanding works of his maturity, The Bostonians is special for a variety of reasons.

The first reason may sound academic: it is one of the novels omitted from the twenty-six-volume 'New York' edition of James's fiction, published between 1907 and 1909. For this edition James (whose last completed novel, The Golden Bowl, had been published in 1904) undertook not merely to reprint most of his novels and stories with newly written prefaces, but to revise comprehensively the style in which the earlier works had been written. The enterprise was certainly well-intentioned; indeed, James's prefaces amount to one of the most significant documents in the critical history of the novel. But whether it was wise of him to revisit his earlier successes with an aesthetic attitude and programme developed long afterwards is not so clear. Whatever our feelings on this score, three novels in particular never made it into the New York edition and consequently exist only in their original forms. All three, interestingly enough, are set in America: The Europeans (1878), Washington Square (1880) and The Bostonians (1886).

Item ID: 33243
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-0-14-043766-9
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The Bostonians: a novel by Henry James is edited with an introduction and notes by Richard Lansdown.

Date Deposited: 15 May 2015 05:15
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2005 Literary Studies > 200506 North American Literature @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture @ 100%
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