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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor



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Henry James

JAMES, Henry, theologian, born in Albany, New York, 3 June, 1811; died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 18 December, 1882. When he was twelve years of age an accident so injured his leg that amputation was necessary. He was graduated at Union in 1830. Having inherited wealth from his father, a merchant in Albany, he did not immediately adopt a profession, but studied law for a time in Albany, and afterward became a student in Princeton theological seminary. There he argued with the professors against the doctrine of justification by faith, and infused his unorthodox opinions into the minds of other students. He therefore decided in 1835, after two years' residence in Princeton, to leave the institution. Going to England, he continued the study of theology and philosophy, and was attracted to the tenets of the Sandenianian sect. After his return he published an edition of Robert Sandeman's "Letters on Theron and Aspasia," with an introductory essay (New York, 1839). In 1840, in a pamphlet entitled " Remarks on the Apostolic Gospel," he denied the doctrine of the Trinity, while affirming the divinity of Christ. In 1848 he visited Europe again, and there became familiar with the writings and doctrines of Emanuel Swedenborg, and in the main adopted the theological system and social philosophy of that thinker, but objected to the ecclesiastical organization of the New Jerusalem church. "What is the State?" a lecture delivered in Albany, was published in 1846, and in 1847 a "Letter to a Swedenborgian," in which he opposed ecclesiasticism, while approving the Swedenborgian doctrines. A series of lectures that he delivered in New York city in 1849 were published under the title "Moralism and Christianity, or Man's Experience and Destiny" (New York, 1850); also a second series, delivered in 1851, in a volume entitled "Lectures and Miscellanies" (1852), containing, besides the lectures, some magazine and review articles. His subsequent works elucidated more fully his theological system, in which the central idea was the absolute divinity of God and the divine humanity of Christ, and set forth social doctrines similar to the teachings of the theoretical socialists. On repeated visits to England he frequented the society of Thomas Carlyle and other leaders of thought. At home he was the intimate associate of the transcendental philosophers, though differing with them in opinion. He resided for many years in New York city, and for some time in Newport, Rhode Island, but in 1866 removed to Cambridge, Massachusetts He contributed to the New York "Tribune" a series of letters on "English and Continental Life," and in later life published "Personal Recollections of Carlyle" and other reminiscences in the periodicals. Besides the works already mentioned he published " The Church of Christ not an Ecclesiasticism" (New York, 1854); "The Nature of Evil Considered in a Letter addressed to the Reverend Edward Beecher, D. D." (1855); "Christianity the Logic of Creation" (London and New York, 1857); "Substance and Shadow, or Morality and Religion in their Relation to Life" (Boston, 1863); "The Secret of Swedenborg, being an Elucidation of his Doctrine of the Divine Natural Humanity" (1869); and "Society the Redeemed Form of Man." His "Literary Remains" were edited by his son William (Boston, 1885).--His son, William, born in New York city, 11 January, 1842, resided much with his father abroad, studied in the Lawrence scientific school at Harvard, and accompanied the Thayer expedition to Brazil in 1865-'6. After his return he studied medicine, and was graduated M. D. at Harvard in 1869. In 1876 he became assistant professor of physiology in the Cambridge medical school, in 1880 assistant professor of philosophy in Harvard college, and in 1885 full professor of philosophy. He has published his father's "Literary Remains."--Another son, Henry, novelist, born in New York city, 15 April, 1843, was educated under his father's supervision in New York, Geneva, Paris, and Boulogne-sur-Mer. His family went abroad in 1855, and remained in Europe till 1858. After spending another year in Europe (at Geneva and Bonn) he returned to New York, and in 1862 entered the Harvard law school. In 1865 he began to contribute sketches to the magazines. A year or two later he essayed serial stories, but during the first ten years of his literary career produced no extended novel. The subject most frequently treated of in his works is the contrast between American and European life and manners. The scenes of several are laid in the Old World, and the principal characters are Americans travelling abroad and coming for the first time in contact with European society, or members of the American colonies in foreign capitals. When the action of his stories takes place in the United States, he introduces foreigners or travelled Americans in order to illustrate the divergences between American and European life. A familiarity with the Old World from his boyhood, and long periods of residence abroad, afforded suggestions and abundant materials for this kind of social study. In 1869 he went to Europe, where he has since resided, alternating between England and Italy. In 1874 he returned for a few months, and wrote anonymous criticisms on literature and art for the "Atlantic Monthly." His novels, after appearing serially, were issued in book-form in Boston and London, and many of them translated into French and German. A part of his earlier tales and sketches and nearly all of his later ones were also republished. Mr. James originated the international novel, and is classed with Thomas Bailey Aldrich and William D. Howells as a representative of the analytical and metaphysical school of novelists. Many of his novels close abruptly, leaving the reader in doubt concerning the subsequent fate of the actors in the story, where other authors would invent a denouement. In both style and method he has followed French models. He early acquired a mastery of the French tongue so complete that a story contributed by him to the "Revue des deux mondes" has been praised by severe French critics as an example of elegant French. His earliest published story was a tale of the war, entitled "The Story of a Year." In 1867 he published "Poor Richard," a brief serial story, which was followed in 1869 by "Gabrielle de Bergerac," of about the same length. "Watch and Ward" (1871) was longer, and "Roderick Hudson," published serially in 1875, was the first of his extended novels. During his visit to the United States in 1874-'5 he published a volume of "Trans-Atlantic Sketches" (Boston, 1875). "A Passionate Pilgrim," depicting the emotions of an enthusiastic traveller among the historical scenes of the mother country, was printed in a volume with other stories in the same year. " The American," regarded by many as his best novel, appeared as a serial during 18772'8. In the latter year "Daisy Miller" was published, and in immediate succession "An International Episode." The former, describing the follies of an American girl on the continent of Europe, and the compromising situations in which she placed herself by defying European rules of propriety, first brought upon the author the reproaches of his countrymen, who accused him of having become denationalized, and of devoting his talents to deriding and belittling his own land and people. "The Europeans" appeared in 1878; also a short serial entitled the "Pension Beaurepas." In the same year was issued a volume of critical essays on "French Poets and Novelists," treating of Alfred de Musset, Gautier, Baudelaire, Georges Sand, and other modern French writers. He is the author of "Hawthorne" in the "English Men of Letters" series. "Confidence" was published in 1879, followed by sketches and stories and essays in the "North American Review" and various magazines. "Washington Square," a story of New York life of a past period, appeared simultaneously on both sides of the ocean in the "Cornhill Magazine" and " Harper's Magazine" in 1880. "A Bundle of Letters" and "Diary of a Man of Fifty" (1880) are shorter works. "The Portrait of a Lady," delineating the character of an American female newspaper correspondent, was published in the "Atlantic Monthly" and "Macmillan's Magazine" in 1880-'1. "The Siege of London" was published in 1883, and "Portraits of Places" in 1884. Sketches of French life and scenes were published in the "Atlantic Monthly," serially, under the title of "En province," and afterward in a volume under that of "A Little Tour in France" (Boston, 1884). "Tales of Three Cities" appeared in book-form during the same year, and in 1885 he issued "The Author of Beltraffio," with other stories. In 1886 he published "The Bostonians" and "Princess Casamassima."

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM

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