More from and about
Henry James
(biographical info at bottom of page)

  

Live all you can; it's a mistake not to. It doesn't so much matter
what you do in particular, so long as you have your life.
If you haven't had that what have you had?

   

To believe in a child is to believe in the future. Through their aspirations they will save the world. With their combined knowledge the turbulent seas of hate and injustice will be calmed. They will champion the causes of life's underdogs, forging a society without class discrimination. They will supply humanity with music and beauty as it has never known. They will endure. Towards these ends I pledge my life's work. I will supply the children with tools and knowledge to overcome the obstacles. I will pass on the wisdom of my years and temper it with patience. I shall impact in each child the desire to fulfill his or her dream. I shall teach.
  
  
To take what there is in life and use it, without waiting forever in vain for the preconceived, to dig deep into the actual and get something out of that; this, doubtless, is the right way to live.

      
Life is, in fact, a battle. Evil is insolent and strong; beauty enchanting, but rare; goodness very apt to be weak; folly very apt to be defiant; wickedness to carry the day; imbeciles to be in great places, people of sense in small, and mankind generally unhappy. But the world as it stands is no narrow illusion, no phantasm, no evil dream of the night; we wake up to it, forever and ever; and we can neither forget it nor deny it nor dispense with it.
  
Whatever life you lead you must put your soul in it--to make any sort of success in it; and from the moment you do that it ceases to be romance, I assure you: it becomes grim reality! And you can't always please yourself;  you must sometimes please other people. That, I admit, you're very ready to do; but there's another thing that's still more important--you must often displease others. You must always be ready for that--you must never shrink from it. . . . You must be prepared on many occasions in life to please no one at all--not even yourself.
   

Excellence does not require perfection.

     

And remember this, that if you've been hated, you've also been loved.

   

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True happiness, we are told, consists in getting out of one's self;
but the point is not only to get out - you must stay out;
and to stay out you must have some absorbing errand.

   

The right time is any time that one is still so lucky as to have.

   

Don't mind anything any one tells you about any one else.
Judge everyone and everything for yourself.

   
    
Henry James (1843-1916), American-born writer, gifted with talents in literature, psychology, and philosophy.  James wrote 20 novels, 112 stories, 12 plays and a number of works of literary criticism.

Henry James was born on April 15, 1843 in New York City into a wealthy family.  His father, Henry James Sr., was one of the best-known intellectuals in mid-nineteenth-century America.  In his youth James traveled back and forth between Europe and America.  He studied with tutors in Geneva, London, Paris, Bologna and Bonn.  At the age of 19 he briefly attended Harvard Law School, but preferred reading literature to studying law.  James published his first short story, "A Tragedy of Errors" two years later, and devoted himself to literature.  In 1866-69 and 1871-72 he was a contributor to the Nation and Atlantic Monthly.

From an early age James had read the classics of English, American, French and German literature and Russian classics in translation.  His first novel, Watch And Ward (1871), was written while he was traveling through Venice and Paris.  After living in Paris, where he was contributor to the New York Tribune, James moved to England, living first in London and then in Rye, Sussex.  During his first years in Europe James wrote novels that portrayed Americans living abroad.  In 1905 James visited America for the first time in twenty-five years, and wrote "Jolly Corner."

The outbreak of World War I was a shock for James and in 1915 he became a British citizen as a declaration of loyalty to his adopted country and in protest against the US's refusal to enter the war.  James suffered a stroke on December 2, 1915.  He died three months later in Rye on February 28, 1916.
  

  

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