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Henry James Goes to Paris
Peter Brooks

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"Brooks's readings of James's novels are deep and rich."--Barbara Fisher, Boston Globe

"A brilliant study of how James's experiences that year lay repressed for two decades in what the novelist called 'the deep well of unconscious cerebration', before he transformed his style. Or, as Brooks, who is one of America's finest literary critics, puts it, how James 'missed much of what he experienced--but missed it, I think, only for the time being.' "--Frances Wilson, The Daily Telegraph

"In his fascinating new study, Henry James Goes to Paris . . . Peter Brooks . . . gives a detailed account of the year James spent there, a year that would shape him forever. . . . Mr. Brooks weaves together episodes from James's year in Paris with his novels, from Roderick Hudson onward, to make plain how painstakingly James absorbed the lessons of the masters even as he seemed to repudiate them."--Eric Ormsby, The New York Sun

"Peter Brooks is an engaging, lucid writer with a marvelous intuitive grasp of Jamesian complexities and a rare gifting for integrating biography, history, gossip and literary criticism."--David Laskin, Seattle Times

"In Brooks' excellent account of [James's] time in Paris we can begin to understand how the Balzacian disciple became the Master of the novel we know and still love to read today."--Book Depository

"This is a perceptive and well-finessed account of the novelist's growth, enlivened by several lightnesses of touch . . . and James should feel well served."--Ian F. A. Bell, Modern Language Review

"Unsurpassed as a James reader, Brooks grounds his larger argument in penetrating analyses of not only What Maisie Knew and The Golden Bowl but of two early signposts of James' development, The American and The Tragic Muse. These readings will surely lend new stature, and generate new interest, in all these novels."--David M. Robinson, American Literary Realism

"[A] rich and subtly presented case. . . . Henry James Goes to Paris explores the intersection of narrative and criticism, using an explanatory hypothesis of James's development to frame a series of perceptive critical readings."--John Attridge, Modernism/modernity

"[W]onderfully lively and original synthesis of biography, criticism and speculation."--Josh Cohen, European Legacy


"Under the guise of simply 'telling a story' about the young Henry James's stay in Paris in 1875-76, Peter Brooks describes the progressive emergence of the whole of novelistic modernity during the turn from the nineteenth to the twentieth century. You have to be, like Brooks, both historian and theorist, a scholar both of things French and American, to so masterfully carry out this project."--Philippe Hamon, Professor Emeritus, La Sorbonne Nouvelle

"Henry James Goes to Paris is a delight to read. Peter Brooks writes with much grace and with an intimate knowledge of James's novels and of the French masters (Flaubert, the Goncourt brothers, Zola) James came to know during his stay in Paris in 1875-76. The central theme of this wide-ranging and original study is James's early misunderstanding and even misreading of the French avant-garde writers that in time, however, contributed to his mature vision of the art of the novel. Brooks treats his subject with much subtlety, solid scholarship, and flexibility of mind."--Victor Brombert, author of Trains of Thought

"This critical narrative about James's relations with Paris and the circle of writers he encountered when he took up residence there in 1875 is a great pleasure to read. What makes it especially attractive is the fact that Brooks relies so heavily on primary documents. We have the illusion of learning about James directly, often in his own words. Most people today do not read criticism. They read narrative, and that's why biography is so popular. Yet to the degree that criticism can find a narrative form, it will find readers outside a narrow range of specialists. I expect this book to do that."--Michael Gorra, author of The Bells in Their Silence: Travels through Germany

"This is a thoroughly well-crafted, nuanced, and very Jamesian story about cross-cultural contact, modernity, and how one fine mind assimilated the most advanced (if not necessarily the 'best') artistic theories of his day. The result is a live picture of a crucial moment in the development of the novel."--Nicholas Dames, Columbia University

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File created: 4/21/2017

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