Henry James was an American Gothic author, best known for his works, The Turn of the Screw, The Portrait of a Lady, and The American. He was born in New York on the 15th of April 1843. His parents were of Irish descent with his paternal grandparents hailing from Bailieborough, Co. Cavan. His father, Henry James Sr. was a noted intellectual, and his mother, Mary Robertson Walsh was a writer. James enjoyed a privileged upbringing, travelling extensively throughout Europe in his childhood. Though he entertained notions of studying at Harvard Law, it was literature that finally grasped his attention.
As a writer, James was extremely prolific and diverse in his outpouring of work. He wrote fiction, non-fiction, plays, novellas, short stories, novels, literary critiques, travel pieces, and biographies. His first publication was released anonymously in 1864. His works of fiction are remarked upon for their use of techniques such as inner monologues, point of view, and even unreliable narrators. These methods served to allow the reader an insight into the world of the piece, and the inner psyche of the characters that would have been uncommon at the time. His work often deals with juxtapositions of the Old World and the New with characters being displaced from one side of the Atlantic to the other, a concern with which he would have undoubtedly been familiar.
James became enamoured with England from a young age, and, after a brief stint of living in Paris, he relocated to London in 1876, later moving to East Sussex. James became deeply loyal to his new home, and became an English citizen in 1915. he was highly critical of the American refusal to join World War I on behalf of the British, and it has been suggested that this change of citizenship may have been an act of protest to the inaction of his nation of birth.
James' private life remains somewhat of a mystery. He never married and it is unclear whether he formed any strong romantic attachments at any stage in his life.
James died of stroke at his home in East Sussex on the 28th of February 1916
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