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Sunday, April 15, 2018

Embrace Life; No Regrets

“Do not mind anything that anyone tells you about anyone else. Judge everyone and everything for yourself.” – Henry James

Born in New York City on this date in 1843, James grew up in wealth and with many educational opportunities from his early childhood.  He aspired to writing while still in elementary school, a love that ultimately led to his full-time career in the profession.  By his mid-20s he already was regarded as one of the most skillful writers in America.

By age 30 he had largely relocated to Europe, eventually settling in England and becoming one of the major figures of trans-Atlantic literature. His works frequently juxtapose characters from both Europe and the United States.  His fundamental theme was the innocence and exuberance of the New World in clash with the corruption and wisdom of the Old, illustrated in some of his most well known novels like Daisy Miller (1879), The Portrait of a Lady (1881), and The Bostonians (1886).

James wrote hundreds of short stories, novels, books of criticism, travel, biography, autobiography, and plays, earning numerous writing awards, including 3 nominations for the Nobel Prize in Literature. 

In an interview shortly before his death in 1915, he gave this advice to young writers:  "Live all you can; it's a mistake not to. It doesn't so much matter what you do in particular, so long as you have your life. If you haven't had that what have you had?”  
“I think I don't regret a single 'excess' of my responsive youth - I only regret, in my chilled age, certain occasions and possibilities I didn't embrace,”

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