William James's sexuality revealed in his New York stories, writer claimsBreaking News
James's biographer, Leon Edel, explained his vituperativeness toward New York - so out of character for this master of evasion and indirection - as a reflection of James's dismay at the vast changes he found in the Edenic city of his childhood. But for Colm Toibin, author of "The Master," the acclaimed biographical novel about James published last year, James's anger at the city has another meaning. It reflects his sexual ambivalence, and perhaps offers a clue to the nature of "the obscure hurt" that James claimed he suffered in his youth, which kept him out of the Civil War, but may also have paralyzed him emotionally.
The New York of his boyhood was, James wrote, "an earlier, quieter world, a New York of better manners and better morals and homelier beliefs," a place where he and his brother William could wander free "to stretch our legs and fill our lungs without prejudice."
But then in 1855, when Henry was 12, his father uprooted the family, first to Switzerland, then to Paris, London, Newport, then back again to Europe. For Henry it was a time of dismal upheaval. In a telephone interview from Dublin, Mr. Toibin called it "a very serious psychological break."
Mr. Toibin suggested that the uprooting occurred in a crucial year when James was going through puberty. "Before the move, there was the uncomplicated business of being a child," he said.
Mr. Toibin does not define James as homosexual. His sexuality was complex. "We can say with certainty he was not heterosexual," he said. But the uprooting "caused an area of him to freeze."
comments powered by Disqus
- Rubio Surges Into Second In New Hampshire
- Branstad Says Cruz Ran ‘Unethical’ Campaign
- Christie Highlights Santorum’s Endorsement of Rubio
- Portman Comes Out Against Trade Deal
- Megyn Kelly Gets a Book Deal
- A Big List of the Bad Things Clinton Has Done
- An Unambiguous Sign Sanders Won Last Night’s Debate
- Still Friends at the End
- Quote of the Day
- Trump Still Leads as Clinton Slips
- Clinton Can’t Shake Image as Wall Street’s Friend
- Maddow Doesn’t See Sanders Winning
- Why Does the Media Still Shield Chelsea Clinton?
- Bush Jokes His Mother May Have Abused Him
- Rubio Closes the Gap in New Hampshire
- Transcribed Document: Soviet Politburo Discussed CIA Billion Dollar Spy Adolf Tolkachev
- Pentagon withholds Iraq War photos showing detainee abuse
- These Rebels Have Amassed A Library From Syria’s Ruins
- Was 1916 fire at Canadian Parliament set by German saboteur?
- United Nations Calls On U.S. To Pay African Americans Reparations For Slavery
- Juan Cole says America’s inclination to turn to the military started with Manifest Destiny
- History Jobs Drop
- Paul Krugman gives credence to Robert J. Gordon's pessimism about American economic growth
- Harvard President Drew Faust Condemns Free Tuition Proposal from Outsider Overseers Ticket
- Andrew Roberts says Trump is the Mussolini of America with double the vulgarity