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Death and the Maiden

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 6 August 1981

Alice James 
by Jean Strouse.
Cape, 367 pp., £9.95, February 1981, 0 224 01436 6
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The Death and Letters of Alice James 
edited by Ruth Bernard Yeazell.
California, 214 pp., £6.95, March 1981, 0 520 03745 6
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... admit what their father’s philosophy proscribed – the presence of evil in the James household. Jean Strouse, in her excellent biography of Alice, points out the difficulty that all this positive thinking caused James’s children: ‘To be innocent and good meant not to know the darker sides of one’s own nature. To love and be loved ... required the ...

800 Napkins, 47 Finger Bowls

Zachary Leader, 16 March 2000

Morgan: American Financier 
by Jean Strouse.
Harvill, 816 pp., £25, June 1999, 9781860463556
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... lives are sacrificed to the voracious demands of his class?’ The answer was mostly no. Yet as Jean Strouse shows, Morgan was not a monster. What he was, in a way peculiar to his type, was unreflective, serenely confident in the saving virtues of market stability and steady productive growth. So sure was Morgan of the rightness – for the nation ...

Making sentences

Philip Horne, 21 November 1991

The Jameses: A Family Narrative 
by R.W.B. Lewis.
Deutsch, 696 pp., £20, October 1991, 0 233 98748 7
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Meaning in Henry James 
by Millicent Bell.
Harvard, 384 pp., £35.95, October 1991, 9780674557628
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... has done it all, but a few have emerged from the shadow and achieved some stature of their own: Jean Strouse in Alice James: A Biography (1980); Ruth Bernard Yeazell in The Death and Letters of Alice James (1981); Howard Feinstein in Becoming William James (1984); Gerald Myers in William James: His Life and Thought (1986); Jane Maher in Biography of ...

I like you

Hermione Lee: Boston Marriage, 24 May 2007

Between Women: Friendship, Desire and Marriage in Victorian England 
by Sharon Marcus.
Princeton, 356 pp., £12.95, March 2007, 978 0 691 12835 1
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... feelings about his sister’s ‘Boston marriage’ to Katharine Loring (brilliantly analysed by Jean Strouse in her book about Alice James). His darkly sardonic attitudes to female partnerships might have clouded the generally positive, fresh, pioneering spirit of Marcus’s book. But even if the acceptance of female marriage in the 19th century was ...

Introspection and the Body

P.N. Johnson-Laird, 5 March 1987

William James: His Life and Thought 
by Gerald Myers.
Yale, 628 pp., £30, October 1986, 0 300 03417 2
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... a similar defence of William in his relations with Alice. Many of her troubles, according to Jean Strouse, her biographer, were William’s fault. He is supposed to have dominated her, to have flirted with her, and to have contributed by his engagement and marriage to her mental breakdown. There is no doubt about his affection for her, and no doubt ...


Andrew O’Hagan: The Bournemouth Set, 21 May 2020

... to do with England, she found her new life – her ‘career of invalidism’, as her biographer Jean Strouse puts it – quite workable. Once her brother had installed her in rooms at 40 Clarges Street, she didn’t leave her bed for nine weeks. The doctor ordered that her back be sponged with saltwater but could find no ‘organic trouble’. Yet ...

Leaping on Tables

Norman Vance: Thomas Carlyle, 2 November 2000

Sartor Resartus 
by Thomas Carlyle, edited by Rodger Tarr and Mark Engel.
California, 774 pp., £38, April 2000, 0 520 20928 1
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... a harsh reassessment. Carlyle had earlier translated the whimsical German Romantic novelist Jean Paul Richter, lyrical and discursive by turns, a major influence on Sartor Resartus, and Marx now noted and deplored the pervasive effect on Carlyle’s style of this ‘literary apothecary’. Anthony Trollope and Edward Fitzgerald thought Carlyle had ...

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