1. “If Alice James had a circle, people must have thought she was interesting.”

    image   Portrait of Alice James via PBS

    Jean Strouse talks to Biographile about how she came to write the biography of Alice, the then nearly invisible sister of Henry and William James:

    I discovered Alice in a book by Calvin Tomkins called Living Well is the Best Revenge, about Gerald and Sara Murphy, who were friends with the American expatriate community in France in the 1920s, including Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. At one point, Tomkins wrote, the Murphys came back from Paris to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and dropped in on Alice James and her circle. I thought, “Oh, if Alice had a circle, people must have thought she was interesting.” I knew Henry had a sister, but that was about all I knew. I found Alice’s diary, which was out of print, in a secondhand bookstore.

    Read more of Strouse’s thoughts about her first biographical subject here.

  2. 'Alice James' by Jean Strouse

    Alice James’ spirit is imbued with the talent for a turn of phrase that the male contingent of her family is famous for. Her family was celebrated for its tireless effort not to be bores, but to be extraordinary. The James family dinners are that of legend—children arguing with parents, members pushing back their chairs and pacing the room as they formulated arguments. Those discerning enough to toil through Henry James’ texts for expository gems would find a more personal, self-depreciating and witty cipher in Alice.

         — from a review of Jean Strouse’s Alice James in Fiction Advocate, to read the rest of the review click here.

  3. A Very Short Review

    "Her brothers weren’t the only smart ones."  

        —- a “Very Short Review” by Tyler Cowen in The New York Times Magazine's "The One Page Magazine"

  4. Jean Strouse, author of Alice James at the NYPL

    Yesterday at the New York Public Library as part of the “Conversations from the Cullman Center" series, Jean Strouse, author of Alice James: A Biography, discussed her book and all things James family with Lorin Stein, editor of The Paris Review. The event was sold out, and after reading from the letters between Alice and her brothers William and Henry, both speakers were literally in tears. We call that a success.

  5. Jean Strouse on The Leonard Lopate Show

    Jean Strouse, author of Alice James: A Biography, will be on The Leonard Lopate Show today. She should be on soon, and you can listen to the live stream, or listen to the show after the fact, here.

  6. Two New York City Events This Week

    NYRB Classics is delighted to announce December events in New York City that will spotlight the Egyptian novelist Albert Cossery, as well as the recent re-issue of Jean Strouse’s biography of Alice James.

    Kabir coverDecember 6, 2011 at 7 p.m.
    Word Bookstore

    A panel discussion on Albert Cossery, famous for his characteristically witty, anarchistic depictions of the Middle East’s political and cultural pitfalls. The panelists are Robyn Creswell, poetry editor of The Paris Review, Anna Moschovakis, translator of Cossery’s The Jokers, and Anna Della Subin, associate editor of Bidoun. The moderator will be Alyson Waters, who has introduced and revised the translation of Proud Beggars and translated Colors of Infamy (recently published by New Directions). Free and open to the public.

    December 7, 2011 at 7 p.m.
    The New York Public

    Library Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

    Lorin Stein, editor of The Paris Review, will speak with Jean Strouse about the James family on the occasion of the re-issue of Strouse’s Bancroft Prize-winning biography, Alice James. For more information, click here.

  7. Alice James by Jean Strouse reviewed by Dead Critics →

    Topics discussed include illness, failure, Freudian psychology, sexuality, biography, and the dynamics in one quite exceptional family.

  8. Alice James by Jean Strouse

    Last week we released Alice James, the biography of Henry and William’s sister, by Jean Strouse. Alice is most famous for her Diaries, which present her witty and insightful opinions on life around her. She has often been considered a feminist icon: struggling through her multiple illness and the social conventions that kept her, as a woman, from achieving the worldly success that she desired and her brothers acquired. Here’s the first paragraph from the book:

    Interesting perceptions are preferable to marketable achievements only when there is enough money to go around. The money that paid for the unusual freedom of the James family had been earned long before Alice’s parents were married.