Henry James, The Sacred Fount

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The Sacred Fount

(1901) is the most enigmatic of James’s novels. Whilst it was written immediately before James’s three late major novels,

The Ambassadors


The Wings of the Dove


The Golden Bowl

, it has never received the critical or popular attention which these command. However,

The Sacred Fount

explores many of James’s governing concerns, announcing many of the elements and techniques for which the later novels are so much admired. James himself had reservations about

The Sacred Fount,

describing it in his letters as a “trade-accident”, a “

jeu d’esprit”

, and a “consistent joke” (IV, 196, 186). He also excluded it from the New York Edition of his work published by Scribners (1907-09). Nevertheless,

The Sacred Fount

is a fascinating and complex novel in its own…

2351 words

Citation: Hutchison, Hazel McNair. "The Sacred Fount". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 October 2006 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=7635, accessed 22 June 2024.]

7635 The Sacred Fount 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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