Literary Birthday – 15 April – Henry James

Henry James was born 15 April 1843, and died 28 February 1916.

Henry James Quotes

  1. Life is a predicament which precedes death.
  2. Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.
  3. Do not mind anything that anyone tells you about anyone else. Judge everyone and everything for yourself.
  4. We work in the dark – we do what we can – we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.
  5. I don’t want everyone to like me; I should think less of myself if some people did.
  6. The only reason for the existence of a novel is that it does attempt to represent life.
  7. Ideas are, in truth, force.
  8. Make the short story tremendously succinct – with a very short pulse or rhythm – and the closest selection of detail – in other words summarise intensely and deeply and keep down the lateral development. It should be a little gem of bright, quick, vivid form.
  9. There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.
  10. I hold any writer sufficiently justified who is himself in love with his theme.
  11. It takes a great deal of history to produce a little literature.
  12. In art economy is always beauty.
  13. I intend to judge things for myself; to judge wrongly, I think, is more honourable than not to judge at all.
  14. Never say you know the last word about any human heart.
  15. One can’t judge till one’s forty; before that we’re too eager, too hard, too cruel, and in addition much too ignorant.
  16. She feels in italics and thinks in CAPITALS.

Henry James was an American-born British writer. He was regarded as one of the key figures of 19th century literary realism. James became one of his generation’s most well-known writers for such works as The Portrait of a Lady and The Turn of the Screw. James’ imaginative use of point of view, interior monologue and unreliable narrators in his own novels and tales brought a new depth and interest to realistic fiction, and foreshadowed the modernist work of the 20th century. After living in England for 40 years, James became a British subject in 1915.

Source for Image: National Portrait Gallery, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 15th April 2013