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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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... Forty-one years after F.O. Matthiessen’s suicide, and 44 after his big book The James Family: A Group Biography, here is R.W.B.Lewis, Matthiessen’s pupil at Harvard, with one on the same subject, nearly as big. Its very title twists a touch awkwardly to avoid repeating that of its precursor, to which Lewis acknowledges a large ...
19 January 1989
The Letters of Edith Wharton 
edited by R.W.B. Lewis and Nancy Lewis.
Simon and Schuster, 654 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 0 671 69965 2
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Women Artists, Women Exiles: ‘Miss Grief’ and Other Stories 
by Constance Fenimore Woolson, edited by Joan Myers Weimer.
Rutgers, 341 pp., $42, December 1988, 0 8135 1347 2
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... abundant friendships to which these letters attest nor the new record which they provide of her passionate affair in middle age finally alters the impression of her essential solitude. When R.W.B.Lewis published his biography of the novelist in 1975, its revelations about her adulterous affair with the American journalist, Morton Fullerton, inevitably attracted much attention: especially when ...


Philip Horne

30 August 1990
Henry James and Edith Wharton: Letters 1900-1915 
edited by Lyall Powers.
Weidenfeld, 412 pp., £25, May 1990, 9780297810605
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... James his greater inclination to take her seriously. That period in the wings, however, seems to have left its mark on her – apparent, perhaps, in the account of the King’s Road fiasco. R.W.B.Lewis, Mrs Wharton’s biographer, and editor in 1988 of a selection of her letters, has noticed her ‘displaying in her earliest recorded comments on James clear signs of a restiveness of influence ...


Tony Tanner

22 April 1993
The Correspondence of William James. Vol. I: William and Henry 1861-1884 
edited by Ignas Skrupskelis and Elizabeth Berkeley.
Virginia, 477 pp., £39.95, January 1993, 0 8139 1338 1
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Henry James: The Imagination of Genius 
by Fred Kaplan.
Hodder, 620 pp., £25, November 1992, 9780340555538
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... already read Leon Edel’s biography – in Fred Kaplan’s new biography, and it is worth the effort. Inevitably Kaplan covers much of the same ground as Edel (not to mention F.W. Dupee or R.W.B.Lewis), but, taking advantage of the copious Jamesian research of the last twenty years, he can situate James in a more detailed historical, political and even economic (James and the market) context. He ...

Self-Made Man

Ruth Bernard Yeazell: Edith Wharton’s Domestic Arrangements

5 April 2007
Edith Wharton 
by Hermione Lee.
Chatto, 853 pp., £25, February 2007, 978 0 7011 6665 6
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... extensively documented relationships. Wharton’s complete letters have yet to be published, but only Berenson appears more frequently as a correspondent in the selection edited by R.W.B. and Nancy Lewis in 1988. ‘I beg instant cremation for this,’ she was writing to Fullerton almost from the start; but the fact that the erotically adventurous Fullerton had already been the victim of one ...

Studied Luxury

Margaret Anne Doody

20 April 1995
No Gifts from Chance: A Biography of Edith Wharton 
by Shari Benstock.
Hamish Hamilton, 546 pp., £20, October 1994, 0 241 13298 3
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Edith Wharton: An Extraordinary Life 
by Eleanor Dwight.
Harry Adams, 335 pp., $39.95, May 1994, 0 8109 3971 1
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... that ambiguous creature Morton Fullerton. Fullerton’s life is complex enough to be confusing to any reader of Benstock’s biography, or even of the clearer and more detailed biography of R.W.B.Lewis. Fullerton was the lover of several women (and some men). He constantly complained about being blackmailed by one of his ladies, Henrietta de Mirecourt, without being able to pay her off, close her ...

Gatsby of the Boulevards

Hermione Lee: Morton Fullerton

8 March 2001
Mysteries of Paris: The Quest for Morton Fullerton 
by Marion Mainwaring.
New England, 327 pp., £23, March 2001, 1 58465 008 7
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... confidence-man’s relationship with his distinguished mistress; the story of the researcher’s pursuit of her subject; and the story of a biographer’s treatment of his researcher. In R.W.B.Lewis’s acclaimed and prize-winning biography of Edith Wharton, published in 1975, he describes having first heard the name Morton Fullerton when he started work on his book in 1967, and being told that ...
14 December 1995
Henry James and the Art of Non-Fiction 
by Tony Tanner.
Georgia, 92 pp., £20.50, May 1995, 9780820316895
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... about’ not only for emphasis, but because I want it to carry some of the implications it takes in Principles of Psychology, the massive first book by Henry’s brother William, regarded by R.W.B.Lewis and others as one of the singular achievements in American writing of the 19th century. Principles never systematically or for long directly addresses the issues of language and style. When it does ...
16 April 1981
William Faulkner: His Life and Work 
by David Minter.
Johns Hopkins, 325 pp., £9.50, January 1981, 0 8018 2347 1
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... their love weak. It is a sentiment that still inspires sophisticated seekers after the purely indigenous origins of American fiction, as in the work of Richard Poirier (A World Elsewhere) or R.W.B.Lewis (The American Adam). One can see how smoothly Faulkner’s concentration on one obscure corner of Mississippi fits into this regionalist-patriotic pattern. His latest biographer says on his first ...

Paul de Man’s Past

Christopher Norris

4 February 1988
... and that these latest revelations merely confirm what should have been evident from the start. Already the professors are lining up to make statements to this or similar effect. Thus R.W.B.Lewis: ‘deconstruction is antihistorical ... it encourages scepticism about almost anything in the realm of human experience.’ Meanwhile de Man’s colleagues, ex-students and friends have registered a ...

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