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Experience is never limited, and it is never complete; it is an immense sensibility, a kind of huge spider-web of the finest silken threads suspended in the chamber of consciousness, and catching every air-borne particle in its tissue.

HENRY JAMES, The Art of Fiction

It is difficult to speak adequately or justly of London. It is not a pleasant place; it is not agreeable, or cheerful, or easy, or exempt from reproach. It is only magnificent.

HENRY JAMES, The Notebooks of Henry James

True happiness, we are told, consists in getting out of one's self; but the point is not only to get out -- you must stay out; and to stay out you must have some absorbing errand.

HENRY JAMES, Roderick Hudson

There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.

HENRY JAMES, The Portrait of a Lady

Sorrow comes in great waves ... but it rolls over us, and though it may almost smother us it leaves us on the spot, and we know that if it is strong we are stronger, inasmuch as it passes and we remain. It wears us, uses us, but we wear it and use it in return; and it is blind, whereas we after a manner see.

HENRY JAMES, letter to Miss Grace Norton, July 28, 1883

Summer afternoon--summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.

HENRY JAMES, attributed, A Backward Glance

We must know, as much as possible, in our beautiful art ... what we are talking about -- and the only way to know is to have lived and loved and cursed and floundered and enjoyed and suffered. 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.

HENRY JAMES, letter to Hugh Walpole, August 21, 1913

She had always been fond of history, and here [in Rome] was history in the stones of the street and the atoms of the sunshine.

HENRY JAMES, "Greville Fane", The Real Thing and Other Tales

She had an unequalled gift, especially pen in hand, of squeezing big mistakes into small opportunities.

HENRY JAMES, The Portrait of a Lady

London doesn't love the latent or the lurking, has neither time, nor taste, nor sense for anything less discernible than the red flag in front of the steam-roller. It wants cash over the counter and letters ten feet high.

HENRY JAMES, The Awkward Age


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