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Reading Groups

Curiosities: Little-Known Short Novels by Henry James with Sheridan Hay

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Once a week Thursdays, 6:00 pm EDT - 7:30 pm EDT September 7 to September 28, 2023

Online via Zoom

The ‘With Books’ option includes both titles required for this group at a 10% discount from our Bookstore.

Two short, fairly obscure novels by Henry James are now available in New York Review paperback editions—reason enough for another James Reading Group to discuss them. Both novels began as plays, and their brisk, plot-driven narratives mark them distinctly from James’s longer and more familiar novels. The Other House is a startling story of a struggle for possession—a precursor to The Spoils of Poynton and What Maisie Knew—but an even more disturbing depiction of the uncontrollable passions that lie beneath the polished veneer of civilized life. In contrast, The Outcry, the last complete novel of James to be published, is an effervescent comedy of money and manners. A popular success in its day (surprising even its author) but long unavailable and almost unknown, The Outcry is surprising, amusing and revisits some favorite Jamesian themes – who does art belong to: those with the money to possess it, or those with the sensibility to appreciate it?

Meeting Dates:
9/7, 9/14, 9/21, 9/28
Online via Zoom

Session I & II: The Other House
Sessions III & IV: The Outcry

Participants should read the following in advance of the first meeting: The Other House: Book First, pages 5 to 102.


Led by

  • Sheridan Hay Photo

    Sheridan Hay

    Sheridan Hay

    Sheridan Hay holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her first novel, The Secret of Lost Things (Doubleday/Anchor), which features a lost novel by Herman Melville, was a BookSense Pick, a Barnes and Noble Discover selection, shortlisted for the Border’s Original Voices Fiction Prize, and nominated for the International Impac Award. A San Francisco Chronicle bestseller and a New York Times Editor’s Choice, foreign rights have been sold in fourteen countries. An historical novel, Unfolded, will be published in 2024. Sheridan has led The Center’s Moby-Dick reading group many times, as well as leading a popular Henry James group, and most recently, a group dedicated to the work of Shirley Hazzard.