The Relationship between Henry and William James and its Repercussions on the Novelist's Work


  • María Antonia Álvarez Calleja



James, Henry, William, Hermanos, Rivalidad, Biografías, Literatura norteamericana


According to Henry James's biographers, there was a clear sibling rivalry between him and his brother. The young Henry could not compete with William because of his own mild character, nor accompany him in the boys' games, always presided by his eider brother. The novelist could yet remember, at the end of his life, William's insult: "I play with boys who curse and swear," while with a mixture of affection and praise, describes the philosopher in his autobiography as a distant and elusive figure -"William was always round the comer and out of sight"- and complains of never being in the same classroom, even though the difference of age was just sixteenth months. This rivalry marked the writer; hence his predilection for second sons through all his fiction: Roderick Hudson, Morgan in "The Pupil," Kate Croy, Owen Wingrave or Valentin in The American, among other main characters. Henry could not equal William's action, but he would develop his imagination and reach the summit of his career, becoming the father of the modern English novel.


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How to Cite

Álvarez Calleja, María Antonia. 1989. “The Relationship Between Henry and William James and Its Repercussions on the Novelist’s Work”. Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina De Estudios Ingleses, no. 2 (December):7-19.