JAMES, Henry. The Tragic Muse. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin, 1890.
2 volumes, 8o. Original red cloth, gilt-lettered on front cover and spine (some wear). Provenance: Alice James (148-1892), the author's sister (note from E.H. James); Edward Holton James (note in vol. I; signature dated 1892 in vol. II).
FIRST EDITION, SIGNED BY JAMES on the front flyleaf in vol I. ALICE JAMES' COPY: according to the note written by her nephew, E.H. Holton, on the front flyleaf, the book was "Left me by Aunt Alice." He later writes: "Concord Dec. 18 1939. This book was left me by my aunt Alice James who died in England in 1892 [the date of his signature in vol. II]. I wrote the above note at that time. Henry James's signature is on the next page but one. The book must have been bought in Boston, according to the mark of the bookseller [W.B. Clarke] below. E.H. James."
Henry James once wrote that their parapetic upbringing made them "hotel children." Certainly the five James children had a colorful upbringing, and would remain close throughout their lives. Alice identified perhaps most with Robertson and Garth Wilkinson, the two "lesser" James sons; the shadows cast by the elder brothers were immense and dominating. The publication of Alice's famous diary in 1934, postponed at the insistence from Henry that it would embarass the family, was in some ways a tribute to Robertson and Garth.
James visited his nephew E.H. (Ned) James in Seattle in 1905. "Ned James would later be cut out of his uncle's will because he espoused attacks against George V, who he alleged had made a morganatic marriage." But the occasion of their visit was congenial, as recounted by Ned James: "I sat by the hour, with wide open mouth, drinking in his wonderful exotic conversation. He was bored by the west, by the 'slobber of noises,' which we call our language, by the stream of vacant stupid faces of the streets and everywhere the 'big ogre of business'" (Leon Edel, Henry James, New York, 1985, p.611). BAL 10590.