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Carl Van Doren (1885–1950).  The American Novel.  1921.


Page 191

and stumbled about a long time without acquiring. You showed me the way and opened me the door.” New England, however, could not satisfy him. Early in 1869 he made the passionate pilgrimage to Europe which, in various forms, provides the theme for so immense a portion of his work: England, Switzerland, Italy, France in turn met his “relish for the element of accumulation in the human picture and for the infinite superpositions of history.” Singular contrast between the behavior of the Innocent Abroad and the Passionate Pilgrim! Without anything like so deep a sense for history as Mark Twain, Henry James had not Mark Twain’s ignorance to sustain him against the magnetic pull of Europe; nor had the younger man a touch of that indigenousness which restored Mark Twain to his original continent. Lacking any strong roots into the American soil, Henry James, though he returned to Cambridge in 1870 for two years, and after a further European sojourn during 1872–1874, for one year more, now succumbed to the centripetal pull which all along had been acting upon him, and in 1875 finally decided that his future belonged to Europe. For a year he tried Paris, where he met Turgenev and the Flaubert group—Edmond de Goncourt, Daudet, Maupassant, Zola; but he there felt too much a foreigner for comfort, and late in 1876 he settled for good in London, the natural home of his imagination.
  With Roderick Hudson (1876) James concluded the long years of experimentation through which, as had Hawthorne before him, he seriously ascended to his art. His first novel, Watch and Ward, issued as a serial in the Atlantic during 1871, was a trivial performance. Of



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