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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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... 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 debt. But ...

‘I can’t go on like this’

Ruth Bernard Yeazell, 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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... for Appleton’s own higher fees. Need in such matters is relative, of course, and the Lewises conscientiously note the ‘huge’ costs of restoring and running her two French houses (a villa outside Paris and a former convent on the Mediterranean coast), as well as her considerable generosity to a large number of personal dependents and ...

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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... 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 mouth, or break from her. The blackmail ...

Ranklings

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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... 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’. Even at the point of becoming one of the ...

Bros

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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... 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 can also take advantage of our more outspoken ...

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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... 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 blackmail ...

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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... 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 this Fullerton, an American journalist in ...

Hate, Greed, Lust and Doom

Sean O’Faolain, 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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... 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 page: ‘He is our great provincial.’ The ...

In Praise of Vagueness

Richard Poirier, 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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... 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 do so, however, it is with an urgency of ...

Paul de Man’s Past

Christopher Norris, 4 February 1988

... 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 pained and baffled response, finding the ...

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