Americans Abroad

To Henry James, as to his fellow expatriates Whistler and Sargent, the culture of the Old World was “vast, vague and dazzling,” yet they could never quite forget or abandon the New

Worn out by the excitement of his first day in one of the cities of his dreams, a young American managed to find time that evening to dash off a letter from Rome to his younger brother in the States. “At last—” he wrote, “for the first time—I live! … I went reeling and moaning thro’ the streets, in a fever of enjoyment.” The newly born and ecstatic consciousness belonged to Henry James, who at twenty-six—the year was 1869—was well launched on a promising literary career; the brother, who was to become equally eminent, was William James.

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