Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

Author Collection


By: Henry James (1843-1916)

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James The Turn of the Screw

Christmas Eve. Guests round a fireside begin telling each other ghost stories. One of them relates a true incident involving the governess of his little nephew and niece. Strange events begin to take place, involving the housekeeper, a stranger who prowls round the grounds, a mysterious woman dressed in black and an unknown misdemeanor committed by the little nephew. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James was published in 1893 and it remains one of the best-known and admired works of this great American writer...

The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James The Portrait of a Lady

Regarded as one of James’ finest works, The Portrait of a Lady revolves around the life and the development of Isabel Archer as she embarks on a scrupulous journey of self-discovery, forced to choose between her individual freedom and the preset conventions of society. Moreover, the novel explores themes of existentialism, objectification of women, wealth, suffering, and the conflict between individual longing and social conformity. Set in the second half of the 19th century, the novel opens with the introduction of Isabel Archer, a naive young woman from Albany, New York...

Washington Square by Henry James Washington Square

First appearing as a serial in Cornhill Magazine in 1880, Washington Square focuses on the strained relationship between father and daughter, which is instigated as a result of opposing personalities, viewpoints, and lack of affection. At the same time, James presents an insidious father, who would rather sacrifice his daughter’s happiness and condemn her to a lifetime of misery, simply to prove the accuracy of his prediction. Essentially a tragicomedy, the novel focuses on themes including family, deception, cruelty, manipulation, and opposed principles...

Daisy Miller: A Study in Two Parts by Henry James Daisy Miller: A Study in Two Parts

Daisy Miller is an 1878 novella by Henry James. It portrays the confused courtship of the eponymous American girl by Winterbourne, a compatriot of hers with much more sophistication. His pursuit of her is hampered by her own flirtatiousness, which is frowned upon by the other expatriates they meet in Switzerland and Italy. Her lack of understanding of the social mores of the society she so desperately wishes to enter ultimately leads to tragedy.

An International Episode by Henry James An International Episode

Two men visting the US from London meet a pair of charming women who return the visit the following year in London. Romantic intrigues, miscommunication and cultural faux pas abound in this short but delightful novel.

The Europeans by Henry James The Europeans

The Europeans: A sketch is a short novel by Henry James, published in 1878. It is essentially a comedy contrasting the behaviour and attitudes of two visitors from Europe with those of their relatives living in the ‘new’ world of New England. The novel first appeared as a serial in The Atlantic Monthly for July-October, 1878. James made numerous minor revisions for the first book publication.

The American by Henry James The American

One of James’s early novels, The American plunges right in to one of the writer’s most enduring subjects, that of the innocent, or at least inexperienced, American abroad, seeking to come to terms with the social customs and conventions of an old European aristocracy (think of Daisy Miller, Portrait of a Lady, The Wings of the Dove and others). The aptly named Christopher Newman, having made a small fortune from business in California, has come to the Old World for the first time, determined to enlarge his experience by learning all he can of it...

The Ambassadors by Henry James The Ambassadors

Henry James considered The Ambassadors his best, or perhaps his best-wrought, novel. It plays on the great Jamesian theme of Americans abroad, who finds themselves in an older, and some would say richer and more sophisticated, culture that that of the United States. The protagonist is Lambert Strether, a man in his fifties, editor of a small literary magazine in the manufacturing town of Woollett, Massachusetts, who arrives in Europe on a mission undertaken at the urging of his patron, Mrs. Newsome, to bring home her son Chadwick...

The Golden Bowl by Henry James The Golden Bowl

The Golden Bowl is a 1904 novel by Henry James. Set in England, this complex, intense study of marriage and adultery completes what some critics have called the “major phase” of James’ career. The Golden Bowl explores the tangle of interrelationships between a father and daughter and their respective spouses. The novel focuses deeply and almost exclusively on the consciousness of the central characters, with sometimes obsessive detail but also with powerful insight.

The Altar of the Dead by Henry James The Altar of the Dead

A fable of literally life and death significance, the story explores how the protagonist tries to keep the remembrance of his dead friends, to save them from being forgotten entirely in the rush of everyday events. He meets a woman who shares his ideals, only to find that the past places what seems to be an impassable barrier between them. Although James was not religious in any conventional sense, the story shows a deep spirituality in its treatment of mortality and the transcendent power of unselfish love.

The Wings of the Dove by Henry James The Wings of the Dove

The Wings of the Dove, published in 1902, represents to my memory a very old–if I shouldn’t perhaps rather say a very young–motive; I can scarce remember the time when the situation on which this long-drawn fiction mainly rests was not vividly present to me. The idea, reduced to its essence, is that of a young person conscious of a great capacity for life, but early stricken and doomed, condemned to die under short respite, while also enamoured of the world; aware moreover of the condemnation and passionately desiring to “put in” before extinction as many of the finer vibrations as possible, and so achieve, however briefly and brokenly, the sense of having lived.

The Aspern Papers by Henry James The Aspern Papers

One of James’s favorite short novels, the Aspern Papers tells of the efforts of the nameless narrator to procure the papers of a famous, but now dead, American poet. His attempts to secure them from the poet’s former lover and her niece, now recluses in Venice, are stymied both by them, and by his own mistakes in his quest.

The Beast in the Jungle by Henry James The Beast in the Jungle

'The Beast in the Jungle' is a 1903 novella by Henry James, first published as part of the collection, The Better Sort. Almost universally considered one of James' finest short narratives, this story treats appropriately universal themes: loneliness, fate, love and death. The parable of John Marcher and his peculiar destiny has spoken to many readers who have speculated on the worth and meaning of human life.

The Jolly Corner by Henry James The Jolly Corner

“The Jolly Corner,” published in 1908, is considered by many to be a ghost story ranking second only to “The Turn of the Screw.” James’s protagonist, Spencer Brydon, is an American of 56, returned to New York after 33 years in Europe, where he has apparently accomplished little while living off his New York rentals. His friendship with Alice Staverton, and his engagement in the development of a property awaken him to the possibilities that might have been his, had he chosen a different course of life...

What Maisie Knew by Henry James What Maisie Knew

When Beale and Ida Farange are divorced, the court decrees that their only child, the very young Maisie, will shuttle back and forth between them, spending six months of the year with each. The parents are immoral and frivolous, and they use Maisie to intensify their hatred of each other.

The Pupil by Henry James The Pupil

Pemberton, a young American with an Oxford education and out of money, takes a job tutoring Morgan Moreen, the 12-year old son of an American couple living in Europe in a style not quite matched by their income. Morgan, who is highly intelligent, is also precocious and perceptive enough to understand his parents' pretentious aimlessness. Nor, as it happens, do his parents pay Pemberton the salary to which they'd agreed -- shouldn't he be satisfied, after all, by his life with them, and by the joy of tutoring young Morgan? Alternately charmed and put off by the Moreen family, Pemberton is left to choose between his attachment to his young pupil and his need to get on in life.

In the Cage by Henry James In the Cage

In the Cage is a novella by Henry James, first published as a book in 1898. This long story centers on an unnamed London telegraphist. She deciphers clues to her clients' personal lives from the often cryptic telegrams they submit to her as she sits in the "cage" at the post office. Sensitive and intelligent, the telegraphist eventually finds out more than she may want to know.

The Figure in the Carpet by Henry James The Figure in the Carpet

The story ostensibly concerns a young literary critic who greatly admires the writer Hugh Vereker. A meeting with Vereker, however, shows him that he — and all other critics — have in fact missed the great point of Vereker’s work, and the critic (and his editor) thereupon devote themselves to trying to unravel the mystery. James’s story, however, almost certainly has an autobiographical side to it, perhaps itself criticizing those critics who couldn’t see, or wouldn’t see, the figures lost in the carpet of his own writing.

The Real Thing by Henry James The Real Thing

The Real Thing is, on one level, a somewhat ironic tale of an artist and two rather particular models. Yet it also raises questions about the relationship between the notion of reality in our humdrum world, and the means that an artist must use in trying to achieve, or reflect, that reality. Though the protagonist is an artist and illustrator of books, not a writer, it's not hard to imagine that James has himself, and other writers, in mind.

A Small Boy and Others by Henry James A Small Boy and Others

A Small Boy and Others is a book of autobiography by Henry James published in 1913. The book covers James’s earliest years and discusses his intellectually active family, his intermittent schooling, and his first trips to Europe.

The Death of the Lion by Henry James The Death of the Lion

This short novel is a black comedy about fame, manipulation, pretension, and surviving it all. The narrator, a reprehensible and seedy journalist, sets out to interview a minor author, and in his own quest for glory, turns the author into the celebrity of the day. The sudden and untimely death of the author, with his latest work unfinished, presents a troubling dilemma for the narrator, which he resolves with no more conscience than he had when he began his quest. (Introduction by Christine Dufour)

The Spoils of Poynton by Henry James The Spoils of Poynton

The recently widowed Adela Gereth, a lover of beauty and passionate collector of fine objects, strikes up a friendship with the young Fleda Vetch, when both of them find themselves guests in the tasteless house of the Brigstock family. Mrs. Gereth fears that her son Owen, an honorable but somewhat unimaginative young man, may take up with one of the Brigstock girls, and indeed he presently announces his engagement to Mona, the eldest daughter. That means that Mrs. Gereth will have to leave Poynton, the beautiful house that she and her husband filled with the furniture, china, tapestries, and other objects that they lovingly collected over the years...

The Sacred Fount by Henry James The Sacred Fount

Published in 1901, The Sacred Fount delves into the interior observations and obsessions of one Englishman during a weekend gathering in the country. Regarding himself as a master of human psychology, the narrator watches the goings-on of the other guests and weaves theories about the interpersonal implications of what he witnesses, leaving the not infrequently perplexed reader the task of sorting out whether his conclusions are facts or fancies. (Introduction by S. Kovalchik)

Sir Dominick Ferrand by Henry James Sir Dominick Ferrand

“Levity” is not a word often applied to Henry James, but this story has about it an attractively lighthearted quality. It tells of Peter Baron, a poor, young struggling writer of adequate, if not transcendent, talent, who lives in a dreary London boarding house inhabited also by a mysteriously clairvoyant and beautiful young widow, with her small boy. When Baron buys himself a second-hand writing desk to stimulate the creative juices, he finds carefully hidden within it a cache of letters that appear to compromise a recently deceased statesman...

The Bostonians (Vol. 1 & 2) by Henry James The Bostonians (Vol. 1 & 2)

This bittersweet tragicomedy centers on an odd triangle of characters: Basil Ransom, a political conservative from Mississippi; Olive Chancellor, Ransom's cousin and a Boston feminist; and Verena Tarrant, a pretty, young protégée of Olive's in the feminist movement. The storyline concerns the struggle between Ransom and Olive for Verena's allegiance and affection, though the novel also includes a wide panorama of political activists, newspaper people, and quirky eccentrics.

The Birthplace by Henry James The Birthplace

Neither the name of Shakespeare nor that of Stratford appears directly in this short piece by James, and yet both are absolutely central to his plot. The story has to do with Mr. and Mrs. Gedge, tempted away from a dreary northern town library, which he runs, to become the wardens – caretakers and tour guides – of the house where the greatest writer of the English language was born, and in which he grew up.Or did he? There is, after all, a paucity of facts about His life (in James's text, that pronoun is always capitalized, as befits a deity) and only the slenderest of historical evidence about the existence of such a man...

The Coxon Fund by Henry James The Coxon Fund

This novella explores the relationship between Frank Saltram, a charismatic speaker who is also a freeloader; Ruth Anvoy, a young American who visits her widowed aunt, Lady Coxon, an American who married a Brit; and George Gravener, a British intellectual with a future in politics who becomes engaged to Ms. Anvoy. The story revolves around the dispersal of The Coxon Fund, a sum of money left by Ms. Anvoy’s father with the stipulation that is be given to a great man to publish and pursue moral truth.

Roderick Hudson by Henry James Roderick Hudson

Published as a serial in 1875, Roderick Hudson is James's first important novel. The theme of Americans in Europe, so important in much of James's work, is already central to the story. Hudson is a young law student in Northampton, Massachusetts, who shows such surprising ability as a sculptor that the rich Rowland Mallett, visiting a cousin in Northampton, decides to stake him to several years of study in Rome, then a center of expatriate American society. The story has to do not only with Roderick's growth as an artist and the problems it brings, but also as a man susceptible to his new environment, and indeed his occasional rivalries with his American friend and patron...

The Reverberator by Henry James The Reverberator

Another Jamesian look at Americans in Paris. What happens when a reporter for an American scandal sheet (The Reverberator) is looking for a good story, though one which might interfere with the marriage plans of a young American woman in the City of Light? This book has been described as "a delicious Parisian bonbon," and its generally good humor stands in contrast with some of the writer's other work.

The Last of the Valerii by Henry James The Last of the Valerii

An unnamed American painter resident in Rome serves as narrator in this story, watching as his god-daughter Martha, becomes the wife of Prince Marco Valerio. The young bride is eager to use some of her American fortune in the service of archeology at the Villa Valerio, her husband's somewhat run down Roman house. Archeology can be, her god-father suggests, a rather expensive hobby, but to his (and her) surprise, the dig brings to light a lovely marble statue of Juno. Martha is overjoyed, but it is soon clear that her husband is overcome by the discovery, and overcome in ways that are to be disquieting...

Sir Edmund Orme by Henry James Sir Edmund Orme

Henry James wrote a number of ghost stories -- The Turn of the Screw being the most famous. Did he believe in ghosts himself, as did many of his contemporaries? It's generally possible to find earthly interpretations, Freudian and other, for his ghosts. Sir Edmund Orme, though, is unquestionably a real ghost -- except of course that James's unnamed narrator tells the story in the voice of yet a third man, and the narrator himself passes no judgments on the factual nature of what he is reporting (there's a resemblance here to The Turn of the Screw)...

Book cover Some Short Stories [by Henry James]
Book cover The Tragic Muse
Book cover The Bostonians, Vol. II (of II)
Book cover Italian Hours
Book cover Hawthorne (English Men of Letters Series)
Book cover The Lesson of the Master
Book cover Confidence
Book cover Picture and Text 1893
The Middle Years by Henry James The Middle Years
Book cover The Outcry
Book cover Pandora
Book cover The Diary of a Man of Fifty
Book cover The Madonna of the Future
Book cover A Little Tour of France
Book cover A Bundle of Letters
Book cover The Author of Beltraffio
Book cover Glasses
Within the Rim and Other Essays by Henry James Within the Rim and Other Essays
Book cover A Passionate Pilgrim
Book cover The Golden Bowl — Volume 1
Book cover The Point of View
Book cover Views and Reviews
Book cover The Marriages
Book cover Embarrassments
Book cover The Finer Grain
Book cover A Little Tour in France
Book cover Madame De Mauves
Book cover The Patagonia
Book cover The Golden Bowl — Volume 2
Book cover Four Meetings
Book cover The Pension Beaurepas
Book cover Eugene Pickering
Book cover Georgina's Reasons
Book cover The Path Of Duty
Book cover The Beldonald Holbein
Book cover Greville Fane
Book cover Nona Vincent
Book cover Louisa Pallant

Popular Genres
More Genres
Languages
Paid Books