Home  »  Volume XVII: American LATER NATIONAL LITERATURE: PART II  »  § 4. Transcendentalism

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). rn VOLUME XVII. Later National Literature, Part II.

XII. Henry James

§ 4. Transcendentalism

And here we have the very heart of his Americanism, if we may make bold to call it that. There is something in James’s estimate of spiritual values so fine, so immaterial, so indifferent to success or happiness or whatever merely practical issues, as to suggest nothing so much as the transcendentalism of Emerson, the otherworldliness of Hawthorne. There is here a psychology not of Scott or Thackeray, not even of George Eliot, still less of any conceivable Continental novelist; and one can hardly refer it to any but a New England origin.