Henry James: Background information when reading The Empty Family

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The Empty Family


by Colm Toibin

The Empty Family
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2011, 288 pages
    Jan 2012, 288 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
BJ Nathan Hegedus

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Henry James

Young Henry JamesHenry James (1843-1916), the prolific American writer of the late 19th/early 20th century, was known to pick up ideas for his stories from dinner party conversations. Colm Tóibín puts this bit of knowledge to use in his short story "Silence", when he has fictional character Lady Gregory share a secret with James as they sit next to each other at a dining table. A source of great influence and inspiration for Tóibín over the years, Tóibín paid homage to James in his well-received novel, The Master, a biographical work of fiction which begins in 1895 when James's hopes of becoming a prominent playwright were dashed by the success of Oscar Wilde.

Born in New York City, Henry James spent forty years living in England. He became a British citizen one year before his death, in protest of America's initial reluctance to enter World War I. His stories often placed American characters in a European setting, interacting with Europeans. These relationships ...

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