The University of Wisconsin Press

Literature & Criticism / Art & Art History


The Painter’s Eye
Notes and Essays on the Pictorial Arts
Henry James
Selected and Edited with an Introduction by John L. Sweeney; with a Foreword by Susan M. Griffin

Between 1868 and 1897 Henry James wrote a number of short essays and reviews of artists and art collections; these essays were published in magazines such as Atlantic Monthly and Harper’s Weekly and in newspapers such as the New York Tribune. They included James’s comments on Ruskin, Turner, Whistler, Sargent, and the Impressionists, among many others. Thirty of these essays were collected and first published in a modern edition in 1956, accompanied by John Sweeney’s introduction, which sketches James’s interest in the visual arts over a period of years, focusing on the ways in which painting and painters entered his work as subjects.

Susan Griffin’s new forward places James’s observations in a contemporary context. Some of the novelist’s judgements will seem wrong to today’s readers: he was critical of the Impressionists, for example. But all of these essays bear the stamp of James’s critical intelligence, and they tell us a great deal about his development as a writer during those years.

Henry James (1843–1916) was an American-born writer and critic, best-know for his works of literary realism. James authored 20 novels, 112 stories, 12 plays and numerous pieces of literary criticism including, The American, The Europeans, and Confidence. John L. Sweeney was Curator of the Woodberry Poetry Room at Harvard University and lecturer on literature at the same university. Susan M. Griffin is chair and Justus Bier Professor of Humanities in the Department of English at the University of Louisville.

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Profile portrait of Henry James

December 1989

LC: 89-040258 N
276 p
p.   5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Cloth ISBN 978-0-299-12280-5
Paper ISBN 978-0-299-12284-3

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