Henry James' First Short Story "A Tragedy of Error" Is Published

A Tragedy of Error is the title of a short story by American writer Henry James, his first, written at the age of 21 and published anonymously in the February 1864 issue of Continental Monthly.

This story was never collected and published by James in book form, but appears in the Library of America edition of his stories that cover the years 1864-1874.

The story is approximately 7500 words in length, divided into four parts, and written using the third person narrative voice.

Henry James’ first short story, A Tragedy of Error, was published in the long-defunct Continental Monthly in February, 1864. Published anonymously, Henry James never admitted that this story was his, and it was Leon Edel who “discovered” it. This story, with its love triangle, mistaken identity, and death, was inspired by Léone Léoni, by George Sand, one of James’ favorite authors. It harkens forward to the stories of Guy de Maupassant, which often contain paradoxes of identity and confusion, and whose denouements appear often in the final sentence of the stories.