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The Birthplace

Henry James

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .und themselves slightly depressed, various little guides, manuals, travellers' tributes, literary memorials and other catch-penny publications; which, however, were to be for the moment swallowed up in the interesting episode of the induction or initiation appointed for them in advance at the hands of several persons whose relation to the establishment was, as superior to their own, still more official, and at those in especial of one of the ladies who had for so many years borne the brunt. About the instructions from above, about the shilling books and the well-known facts and the full-blown legend, the supervision, the subjection, the submission, the view as of a cage in which he should circulate and a groove in which he should slide, Gedge had preserved a certain play of mind; but all power of reaction appeared suddenly to desert him in the presence of his so visibly competent predecessor and as an effect of her good offices. He had not the resource, enjoyed by his wife, of see. . . Read More

Community Reviews

having visited the birthplace myself this summer it was remarkable seeing hj predict a lot of my emotions about it, although i remain fervently stratfordian whereas henry was (as in all things) ambiguous

A classic that must be read by all those who follow the authorship question. Look to Twain’s book for biting wit, but this offering from James is presented as you would expect from his insightful pen. What goes on in the mind of someone who is wise to the Game is the thing of interest for James.

Morris Gedge--the librarian of a provincial and obscure library--moves with his wife Isabel to the birthplace of William Shakespeare, where they are invited to serve as custodians and caretakers of the Stratford property. The story does not mention Shakespeare but it is clear that Shakespeare is the