Henry James at Work

Image of front cover of "Henry James at Work" with illustration of a person by Vanessa Bell


Vanessa Bell, front cover of "Henry James at Work"

Rights Statement:

The Vanessa Bell illustration featured on the cover is reproduced with permission from the copyright holder. This item has not been made available with a CC BY-NC-ND licence and cannot be downloaded and shared.

Source: Bruce Peel Library

Image Rights Holder: © Estate of Vanessa Bell. All rights reserved, DACS 2023.

Henry James at Work





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This pamphlet, written by Henry James's secretary and typist, describes his working methods and conditions from Bosanquet's point of view. The focus of the pamphlet is almost entirely on James's eccentric work habits, and in particular his practice of composing his work by speaking it aloud to be typed by his secretary. Bosanquet suggests that this common problem of writing a literary biography, that the subject spends most of his time sitting in a desk, is particularly exacerbated with James, since 'Many men and women whose prime business is the art of writing find rest and refreshment in other occupations. They marry or they keep dogs, they play golf or bridge, they study Sanskrit or collect postage stamps. Except for a period of ownership of a daschund, Henry James did none of these things.' (22)

Woolmer states that this was "the only book in The Hogarth Essay Series to be hand-printed by the Woolfs."