Introduction

The aim of the editor has been to make the chosen Henry James text available in a form suitable for use on the world wide web, whilst retaining as much of the characteristic look of original printed sources as seemed desirable. The text has been either typed in or scanned and OCRed. For editions published before 2008, the raw text was then checked for the more obvious mistakes, marked up with a homegrown ‘quick’ markup and then converted to the required HTML by a (homegrown) Perl script. The resulting HTML version was carefully proof-read and corrected against the source text, which, except in the case of the playscripts, is an original book publication, overseen by Henry James. Details of the source for each work, and any deviations of the edition from this source, are given in an individual ‘note on the text’, which you can find through the link on each edition’s menu. The HTML editions have been converted to XHTML by a homegrown ‘converter’ Perl script and a lot of hard work. The new version has either been proof-read again or a new conversion to ASCII has been automatically compared with the earlier conversion to ensure continued integrity of the proofed text. New editions from 2009 onwards are made and proof-read straight to XHTML.

Of course no one, not even me(!), is perfect, so offers of further proof-reading will be welcomed. You may find it interesting to check the text against a modern paperback edition: some of the differences may be my errors and others may be the paperback editors’, while if you find many variants you probably have a different one of James’s own revised texts in your copy! – see my pages listing distinguishing textual variants in some of the novels and some of the tales. At the foot of this page you will find details of how to let me know about my mistakes.

Text editing

In preparing the texts here, punctuation has been internationalized and adapted for best results in normal text on various standard web-browsers as follows:

Non-English words have been standardized as italic – which most of them are in the sources – to enable separation of the languages in my concordance. The italic style is applied by the style sheet to the text which is marked with both XML namespace ‘xml:lang’ and HTML ‘lang’ language tags for widest compatibility.

Any changes additional to those required by my standard punctuation, are noted in the separate ‘text note’ page for each work, as are corrections of obvious errors and standardizations of spellings within each text. Other features have been retained from the sources, even when they may be due to differences in printers’ house styles between publications.

ASCII texts

In most cases an ASCII version of the final XHTML text is available for downloading. This text has been designed to be suitable for computerized analysis (for example concordance construction, KWIC indexing and so on) and the typographical symbols in the XHTML text have been replaced by ‘normal’ ASCII characters, as explained on a separate page.

The notes

For the benefit of an international audience, notes are gradually being provided for many of the place- and time-sensitive references in the text. Obscure words, though, are generally left without notes because the editor felt his time could be better used and English dictionaries are widely available. Some old usages of more common words, which have subsequently fallen out of favour, are noted, however.

The notes to individual words or phrases are made by hypertext links, but their text colour is the same as the rest of the text (unless you have used my new ‘reveal/hide links’ toggle or fixed the link colours in your browser set-up). Also there is no underlining of linked passages. This means that you can read the text without an extra emphasis on the linked words. Even without using the link ‘toggle’, you can still check for links if you wish, by putting the mouse pointer over the relevant text and seeing if it changes, or if the status bar on your browser has a message (as long as JavaScript is enabled), or if after a moment a ‘tool tip’ message which pops up by the pointer. As a guide, my notes come in three types: ‘translation’ notes which provide the translation of a foreign word or phrase, ‘explanatory’ notes which explain something factual, and ‘comments’ which offer my opinion, which you may wish to ignore while reading!

If you need to detect links you have already followed, look very closely and you should spot that they are slightly darker than the normal text (black instead of dark brown), but not enough, I hope, to spoil the flow for reading.

Look and feel

Talking of the flow of reading, I find the Micros**t Times New Roman script, to which many Windows’ browsers default, really irritating for reading prose text because it all ends up looking so lumpy! With the advent of cascading style sheets (now CSS2) here, I have taken the opportunity to specify, for preference, Century Schoolbook or Palatino Linotype 11-point – I hope you like whichever you’ve got (assuming you haven’t set your browser to override the pages’ settings).

To provide a suitable layout the text appears in a central panel, with a menu on the left and space for the notes on the right. You might want to adjust the overall width of your browser so that the menu and notes, which simply take up equal amounts of space either side of the fixed-size text panel, have enough room. A minimum 800×640 display is recommended. Apologies if you got a complete mess because your browser doesn’t support frames! – you should have had a ‘no frames’ link to follow. Much fuller description of all these features, and how to use them, is available on a comprehensive guide to using editions on this site.

Reporting corrections

If you spot any corrections which need to be made, or have any comments about my text layout and editorial method or indeed about the novel or tale itself, I would be delighted to hear from you.

For corrections please give details of the work, the current text (so that I can find it quickly! – try cut-and-paste from your browser) and the emendation required; thank you.