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Testamentary ActsBrowning, Tennyson, James, Hardy$
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Michael Millgate

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198183662

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198183662.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 26 November 2021

Henry James

Henry James

(p.73) Henry James
Testamentary Acts

Michael Millgate

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on Henry James, a novelist, a critic, a travel writer, and a poet. In this chapter, the discussion focuses on the poet's revision and modification of his works. In the latter years of his life, Henry James scrutinized his novels and stories within the principles of selectivity and integration. His revisions of his works were almost entirely based on his memory, on what he can recall of his original works. While he may have returned to the time of the origins of his work, there is a difficulty in distinguishing which of his initial conceptions managed to recapture and which he remained consistently faithful in revising his works. He approached his works with a sense of re-touching and careful revision. He subjected all his texts to the same revisionary procedures wherein his objective was to bring all selected texts to conformity with those stylistic habits he developed over the course of his life and he destroyed a large number of works he no longer wished to preserve. The role of Henry James Jr. as sole executor of his father's will and the role of his sister-in-law, Alice James, as his literary heir are also discussed. The family of Henry James never understood his literary standing and significance, however, Henry James produced enough volumes of works that established him even beyond death and he destroyed unwanted works that may not have defined him as Henry James.

Keywords:   Henry James, novelist, poet, revision, Henry James Jr, executor, literary heir

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