Read by Richard Mitchley (Unabridged: 1hr 30mins)
Henry James was born 15th April 1843 in New York City.
His youth was spent travelling with his family receiving what was an "extraordinarily haphazard and promiscuous" education as they journeyed through London, Paris, Geneva, Boulogne-sur-Mer and Newport, Rhode Island, according to the father's current interests and publishing ventures. James studied primarily with tutors and only briefly attended schools.
Undoubtedly the quality of his writing has ensured his name is enshrined in the American literary tradition.
James was a committed Anglophile and spent most of his adult life as an expatriate in Europe. Many of his novels juxtapose the Old World with the New World. Classics such as ‘The Portrait of a Lady’, ‘Daisy Miller’ and ‘The Ambassadors’, display the entanglement between American and European cultures and mentalities. They highlight the differences between the two worlds through following the experiences of American expatriates in Europe.
A prolific author he was able to easily move across genres to create vivid and totally real worlds and situations and to offer sophisticated observations of human relations as well as realistic, social criticism. As a critic James was unafraid to venture into reviews and essays of those other literary giants around him. These together with his short stories and, of course, classic novels, make Henry James an author to be not only admired but read, and read often.
In 1915 Henry James became a British citizen.
On 28th February 1916, at the age of 72, Henry James died in Chelsea, London.
He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1911, 1912 and 1916. He never won.
The Death of the Lion is a formidable short story with a sharply comic view of the literary "lionization" of an author by many who know little of his work. It is a situation Henry James himself was often in.