The Year of Henry James: The Story of a Novel

From The Guardian:

Jamesh1 Lodge argues in The Year of Henry James, his record of the affair, that James has always been both a writer’s writer and a critic’s writer. Since Lodge himself is both together, the allure in his case proved doubly strong. But as he points out, James also created some of the most memorable women characters of the period, which makes him fit meat for the feminists; and queer theory gets a look in, too, as gay critics debate exactly how repressed his (probable) homosexuality was. In any case, novels about historical figures have become fashionable in the past decade or two, as Lodge reminds us, and a lot of these have been writers on writers. Literary types have never been notable for their lack of narcissism, and this book is no exception.

There’s another reason, however, for this rash of Henriads, which one wouldn’t really expect Lodge to note. In a post-political age, writers are more likely to be enthused by exquisite states of consciousness or the intricacies of personal relationships than by more workaday matters; and the aloof, fastidious James, a man famously described as chewing more than he could bite off, appears to fill this bill exactly.

More here. (For Anjuli Kolb who made me read James again recently).