Henry James: At Home and Abroad

One Monday and Four Tuesdays, September 20 and 21, October 5 and 19, November 2, 12:30 p.m. | Rienzi, 1406 Kirby Drive (immediately north of Lazy Lane)

“The only obligation to which we may hold a novel,” Henry James once notably declared, “is that it be interesting.” We will explore five of the most “interesting” of James’s novels from the three major phases of his literary career. Our speaker is Caroline Levander, associate professor of English at Rice University and author of a number of articles on Henry James. The seminar will focus on James’s lifelong fascination with Europe and will consider how James’s most famous heroines, as well as their creator, confront the world abroad as part of what James described as the “complex fate of being American.”

On Monday, September 20, we will enjoy a private tour of Rienzi, a European-style villa built for Mr. and Mrs. Harris Masterson III and now the European decorative arts center of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Thereafter we will meet every other Tuesday in Rienzi’s elegant ballroom and discuss James’s books in the following order:

Monday, September 20: Tour of Rienzi
Tuesday, September 21: The Bostonians
Tuesday, October 5: The Portrait of a Lady
Tuesday, October 19: The Turn of the Screw and What Maisie Knew
Tuesday, November 2: The Golden Bowl



Registration for fall 2018 is ongoing. You may register online, by mail, or by phone with a credit card. 


If you are interested in traveling with the Houston Seminar to Natchez October 26-29, 2019 you may access the itinerary, trip cost, and registration documents here.

If you are interested in traveling to Virginia in the spring of 2019, please call the registrar at 713.666.9000 to place your name on a list. Please see Terms and Conditions for "travel list" policy. 


Please note a date in the Mid-term Elections course has changed from that published in the brochure. The course will meet the first two Mondays, October 29 and November 5 as planned, but will meet Tuesday, November 13 instead of Monday, November 12. 


Also note Art Underground: Carlos Cruz-Diez at the Cistern on Wednesday, November 14 is FULLY SUBSCRIBED. A second session has been added and will meet Monday, November 12 from 2:00-3:30 P.M. Registrations are being accepted for November 12. You may register online, or by phone.


Who Gets to Vote: Challenges for the 2020 Elections?
Speaker: Dale Ho, director of the American Civil Liberties Union Voter Rights Project
Monday, November 19, 6:30-8:00 P.M.
Location to be announced


Register today!


For additional information about any of our courses, to register offline, or to add your name to our mailing and/or email lists, please contact our adminstrator at  or phone 713.666.9000.