Henry James, 1843-1916



Henry James was born in New York City into a wealthy family. His father, Henry James Sr, was one of the best-known intellectuals in mid-nineteenth-century America, whose friends included Thoreau, Emerson and Hawthorne. His Irish grandfather had provided the wealth that endowed his heirs with the privileges of comfort and social affluence. James made little money from his novels. After living in Paris, where James was contributor to the New York Tribune, he moved to England, living first in London and then in Rye, Sussex. During his first years in Europe James wrote novels that portrayed Americans living abroad.

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Isabel Archer's aunt comes to America after the death of Isabel's father in order to take her niece to Europe. On her arrival in England, Isabel meets her cousin Ralph, her uncle, Mr. Touchett, and the great nobleman of the area, Lord Warburton, who immediately falls in love with her. After a short time, Warburton proposes to Isabel, but she turns him down, maintaining that she cherishes her freedom and independence too much to marry. A short time later, her journalist friend Henrietta Stackpole arrives in England and tells Isabel that her American suitor Caspar Goodwood has followed Isabel to England.

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