Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Keeping Up with THE JAMES FAMILY
Charles McGrath takes a look at The House of Wits, a new biography of the James family by Paul Fisher, just published by Henry Holt, in today's New York Times. McGrath notes: "None of this is news, exactly. The James archives have been pretty well raked over by now (the most revealing bits were probably burned by the younger Henry and his Aunt Catharine, worried about propriety), and there have been two family biographies already, as well as several exceptionally good books devoted to individual members of the family, Henry and William especially." In fact, Overlook is reissuing a paperback edition of F.O. Matthiessen's classic group biography, The James Family, next month. Originally published in 1947, The James Family has long been considered an essential resource for literature enthusiasts and intellectual historians. Back in print for the first time in forty years, Matthiessen's family biography includes selections from the writings of Henry James, Sr., William, Henry, and Alice James."