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Five siblings: two celebrated (novelist Henry and the philosopher William James); two brothers overshadowed by them; and one dazzling sister, Alice. Beginning with the peculiar courtship of Henry James Sr and Mary Walsh in the late 1830s and ending with the death of Henry James Jr in 1916, HOUSE OF WITS tells the story of the James family's driven and anguished quest through some of the most glittering and varied scenes of the nineteenth century. Restless and striving, the Jameses were always searching for a better house or palazzo, a better school for the children, a more exciting metropolis to live in, a snobbier club to join, a bigger and brainier magnum opus to write. Never satisfied with their conquests, they shifted from New York to grand imperial Victorian London, jaunting to German spas and Italian ruins, before they at last settled in fiercely academic Boston, a city that matched their ambitious intellectual aims and afterward launched the younger Jameses towards careers, marriages and never-satisfied international house-hunts of their own. With a narrative that calls to mind the spirit of a Henry James novel, but with an even stranger cast of characters, HOUSE OF WITS dazzlingly recreates the interactions in the lives of an astounding family.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780316726573
ISBN-10: 0316726575
Format: Paperback
(233mm x 152mm x 42mm)
Pages: 704
Imprint: Little, Brown & Company
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Publish Date: 3-Jul-2008
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Paul Fisher

Paul Fisher has taught American literature at Harvard, Yale, Wesleyan, Boston University and Wellesley College. This is his first major work of non-fiction.

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