Quotes by Henry James

He had dropped upon a seat halfway down the nave and, again in the museum mood, was trying with head thrown back and eyes aloft, to reconstitute a past, to reduce it in fact to the convenient terms of Victor Hugo, whom, a few days before, giving the rein for once in a way to the joy of life, he had purchased in seventy bound volumes, a miracle of cheapness, parted with, he was assured by the shopman, at the price of the red-and-gold alone. He looked, doubtless, while he played his eternal nippers over Gothic glooms, sufficiently rapt in reverence; but what his thought had finally bumped against was the question of where, among packed accumulations, so multiform a wedge would be able to enter..
– Henry James
Cats and monkeys; monkeys and cats; all human life is there.
– Henry James
Do not mind anything that anyone tells you about anyone else. Judge everyone and everything for yourself.
– Henry James
It is, I think, an indisputable fact that Americans are, as Americans, the most self- conscious people in the world, and the most addicted to the belief that the other nations are in a conspiracy to under-value them.
– Henry James
She had an unequalled gift... of squeezing big mistakes into small opportunities.
– Henry James
She was a woman who, between courses, could be graceful with her elbows on the table.
– Henry James
Summer afternoon - Summer afternoon... the two most beautiful words in the English language.
– Henry James
The only obligation to which in advance we may hold a novel, without incurring the accusation of being arbitrary, is that it be interesting.
– Henry James
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?
– Henry James
There are women who are for all your 'times of life.' They're the most wonderful sort.
– Henry James
Thanks to his constant habit of shaking the bottle in which life handed him the wine of experience, he presently found the taste of the lees rising as usual into his draught.
– Henry James
We work in the dark - we do what we can - we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.
– Henry James
The only success worth one's powder was success in the line of one's idiosyncrasy... what was talent but the art of being completely whatever one happened to be?
– Henry James
The face of nature and civilization in this our country is to a certain point a very sufficient literary field. But it will yield its secrets only to a really grasping imagination. To write well and worthily of American things one need even more than elsewhere to be a master.
– Henry James
People talk about the conscience, but it seems to me one must just bring it up to a certain point and leave it there. You can let your conscience alone if you're nice to the second housemaid.
– Henry James
Money's a horrid thing to follow, but a charming thing to meet.
– Henry James
Life is a predicament which precedes death.
– Henry James
It takes an endless amount of history to make even a little tradition.
– Henry James
It takes a great deal of history to produce a little literature.
– Henry James
In art economy is always beauty.
– Henry James