Education: The Lesson of the Master

Henry James' biographer teaches the secrets of his craft

It is 10 o'clock of a sleepy August morning at Dartmouth. The central green, scene of continuous softball games throughout the day, is still quiet. But in 122 Silsby Hall, a short, wiry professor —with a dapper little mustache and the florid gestures of a born talker—is holding forth with enthusiasm. "I remember how frightened I was when I was first given access to Henry James' papers," he says. "They were in a basement room in Harvard's Widener Library—four tables piled high with boxes, each box containing 250 to 500 letters, plus trunks...

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