Henry James is the author of The Turn of the Screw, and The Jolly Corner. His father, Henry James Senior, was a friend of Thoreau, Emerson and Hawthorne. James' brother was the psychologist William James.

James was a friend of Robert Louis Stevenson and Edith Wharton, who secretly arranged a royalty advance for him which really came from her own account.

The Turn of the Screw is based on a story told to James by the Archbishop of Canterbury Edward White Benson about some children who were haunted by the ghosts of evil servants. James added the story to his notebook and worked on it while living in Lamb House in Sussex which was reputed to have a haunted room. Approximately forty years later, another writer of eerie tales, E.F. Benson (the Archbishop's son), lived in the same house.

James' novel The Aspern Papers about a critic who attempts to pry a writer's private papers from his survivors was based on similar attempts to obtain Percy Bysshe Shelley's papers from Mary Shelley's stepsister Claire Clairmont.

James was an admirer of the novelist Marianne Evans (George Eliot). James' neighbour had left Evans and Lewes his book The Europeans. Some days later, she paid an impromptu visit with James, and, as the two were leaving, Lewes hastened after them. Unaware the author was present, to James' embarrassment, he thrust The Europeans at them with the plea, Ah those books -- take them away, please, away, away!

In James' novel The Tragic Muse, the character Gabriel Nash is based on Oscar Wilde.

In his novel Boon, H.G. Wells based on James a character, George Boon, who argues that novels are properly used for propaganda, not art. James wrote back: It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance, and I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its process. If I were Boon I should say that any pretence of such a substitute is helpless and hopeless humbug; but I wouldn't be Boon for the world, and am only yours faithfully, Henry James.

Gothic Labyrinth
Gothic Labyrinth