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LEON EDEL
HISTORY OF AN IMAGINATION

This is the memoir Leon Edel talked about but never got around to writing.

In May of 1981, Arnold Mann interviewed the renowned Henry James biographer at his home in Hawaii. During the course of the interview, which took place over six days, Mann listened as Edel told his own story, from his childhood days growing up the son of Russian immigrants on the Canadian frontier, to his early encounters with Bernard Shaw, Bertrand Russell, Edith Wharton and James Joyce, to his days as a Tommy gun-toting psychological warfare officer during World War II, and finally to his writing years and the five-volume James biography which earned him multiple gold medals, international acclaim, and a place in literary history.

This is the story of an imagination devoted to a lifetime of literary study and the pursuit of literary psychology, with a penchant for uncovering the personal myths of the world’s great writers.

This is Leon Edel in his own words. It’s a fascinating story, complete with the biographer’s own personal myth, which surfaced during the course of the interview.


Click to read the full interview at the Center for Henry James Studies


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