Henry James was one of the great American literary critics, but James was
better known as a novelist and short-story writer (Magill 750). In the nineteenth century
James was considered to be an important and influential writer. James's writing career
has been separated into three phases.
The first phase of James's career was from 1875 to 1885. This phase begins
with the story "Madame de Mauves". In this story James shows how different the
American and European cultures are compared to one another. James also wrote The
American during this phase and it was a great success. The American tells of a young
American in the European society. Another of his successes of this first phase was
Daisy Miller. In this story it tells of an American girl that disobeys European customs.
James's greatest piece of literary work in this first phase was The Portrait of a Lady.
This literary work tells of American and European cultures that fail to unite their
traditions with one another. James introduces a different style of writing called point of
view and characterization in this phase. The outcome of this different writing style
The second phase of James's career was from 1885 to 1897. In this second
phase James loses the contact with the readers that he once possessed (Magill 772-
73). The literary works of this phase dealt mainly with the English life proper (Magill
929). All the works in this second phase were failures in their day, but now these
literary works are considered to be some of James's greatest works. Even though
these literary works were failures of their day, they were the "context of the modernist
movement." Also in this second phase, James writes about authors unable to reach
their readers. The second phase of James's career was a failure in both the financial
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