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The Art of the Novel

Critical Prefaces

With an Introduction by R. P. Blackmur and a new Foreword by Colm Tóibín

This collection of prefaces, originally written for the 1909 multi-volume New York Edition of Henry James’s fiction, first appeared in book form in 1934 with an introduction by poet and critic R. P. Blackmur. In his prefaces, James tackles the great problems of fiction writing—character, plot, point of view, inspiration—and explains how he came to write novels such as The Portrait of a Lady and The American. As Blackmur puts it, “criticism has never been more ambitious, nor more useful.”

The latest edition of this influential work includes a foreword by bestselling author Colm Tóibín, whose critically acclaimed novel The Master is told from the point of view of Henry James. As a guide not only to James’s inspiration and execution, but also to his frustrations and triumphs, this volume will be valuable both to students of James’s fiction and to aspiring writers.

400 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2011

Literature and Literary Criticism: American and Canadian Literature

Table of Contents

Foreword by Colm Tóibín
Introduction by Richard P. Blackmur
I. Preface to “Roderick Hudson”
II. Preface to “The American”
III. Preface to “The Portrait of a Lady”
IV. Preface to “The Princess Casamassima”
V. Preface to “The Tragic Muse”
VI. Preface to “The Awkward Age”
VII. Preface to “The Spoils of Poynton”
VIII. Preface to “What Maisie Knew”
IX. Preface to “The Aspern Papers”
X. Preface to “The Reverberator”
XI. Preface to “Lady Barbarina”
XII. Preface to “The Lesson of the Master”
XIII. Preface to “The Author of Beltraffio”
XIV. Preface to “The Altar of the Dead”
XV. Preface to “Daisy Miller”
XVI. Preface to “The Wings of the Dove”
XVII. Preface to “The Ambassadors”
XVIII. Preface to “The Golden Bowl”

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