2016 marks the centenary of the death of Henry James (15 April 1843-28 February 1916), and will be a year in which James’s heritage will be celebrated, and will come under scrutiny, in a variety of settings and in different modes. This first conference of the centenary year will take place in London, James’s adopted home and the location of much of his fiction, and will be hosted by the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library, one of the world’s greatest libraries. Taking advantage of another centenary, it will give special attention to James’s richly complex relation to Shakespeare, as well as to other writers, especially poets. In addition to academic papers, it will also involve readings by creative writers – in poetry and prose – of works inspired by James and his example.
James was himself much given to the act of remembrance, whether reminiscing in his biographical and autobiographical writings, or echoing the words and works of other writers and artists in his fiction. Likewise, James has had a vivid afterlife in various literary and artistic forms up to the present day.
The academic organisers are Philip Horne (University College London), Gert Buelens (Ghent University) and Oliver Herford (University of Birmingham).