MLA Approves Henry James

The Modern Language Association has worked since 1883 to “strengthen the study and teaching of languages and literatures.” That effort is continued in the Committee on Scholarly Editions, which edits, critiques, awards, and promotes excellent scholarly works. One way the CSE recognizes such excellent works is through their “Approved Editions” seal. Each seal represents approval of the edition’s method’s and practice by  a high-level committee of peers in the field. In the eleven years since the seal’s inception, each of the eleven volumes of The Complete Letters of Henry James have received the seal.

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The Complete Letters of Henry James, edited and compiled by professors Michael Anesko, Pierre A. Walker, and Greg W. Zacharias, fills a crucial gap in modern literary studies by presenting in a scholarly edition the complete letters of one of the great novelists and letter writers of the English language. Comprising thousands on thousands of letters reflecting on a remarkably wide range of topics—from James’s own life and literary projects to broader questions on art, literature, and criticism—these editions are an indispensable resource for students of James and of American and English literature, culture, and criticism.

“The textual editing of the letters is fantastically thorough, every blot, deletion, insertion, and misspelling being lucidly presented in the text itself and further described in endnotes to each letter; for the reader this evokes the dash and spontaneity of James’s pen, and for the scholar it clarifies every possible ambiguity caused by that dash,” said Alan Hollinghurst in The Guardian. “The letters themselves are so vivid, funny, and revealing that [the edition] is already indispensable.”

Michael Anesko is a professor of English and American studies at Pennsylvania State University. He is a general editor of The Cambridge Edition of the Complete Fiction of Henry James and the author, most recently, of Monopolizing the Master: Henry James and the Politics of Modern Literary Scholarship. Pierre A. Walker is a professor of English at Salem State University. He is the editor of Henry James on Culture: Collected Essays on Politics and the American Social Scene (Nebraska, 1999). Greg W. Zacharias is a professor of English and the founder and director of the Center for Henry James Studies at Creighton University. He is the editor of A Companion to Henry James and the coeditor of Tracing Henry James.

The eleventh volume of the series will be released in October 2017.