Sussex Centre for Modernist Studies marks Henry James centenary with Lamb House conference

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Held at Lamb House in Rye, James’s home during the last 18 years of his life, the conference programme included scholars from the US, Paris, Sussex, Cambridge, UCL and Leeds and focused on James’s time at Lamb House and its effects on his late style. 

The event, in association with the National Trust and the University of Sussex Centre for Modernist Studies, began with an introduction from Dr Pam Thurschwell of the University of Sussex and Claire Reed, Curator at the National Trust.

After listening to papers on the author, attendees had had the opportunity to take a tour of Lamb House, including some of James’s books and possessions.

The day also included a reading of a short story inspired by James’s notebooks by critically acclaimed novelist and author of Henry James and the Imagination of Pleasure, Tessa Hadley, and concluded with a ‘speed dating’ style discussion on the writer’s later works. 

James, renowned writer of such classic novels as The Portrait of a Lady and The Turn of the Screw, first became aware of Lamb House in a painting by his friend, and was instantly enamoured.

Moving in in 1897, the refuge from the hustle and bustle of London life that Lamb House gave him inspired a new wave of creativity in James’s writing.

The event is the latest in a number of events this year organised by the University of Sussex Centre for Modernist Studies, under the theme of ‘Sussex Modernism.’

Previous events include lectures at the Towner Gallery Eastbourne and at Bexhill De La Warr Pavilion in May, and a one-day conference on the Bloomsbury Group at Charleston House. 

By: Patrick Reed
Last updated: Wednesday, 19 October 2016