I was told of this short story (which I think is actually a novella) by Amanda Holmes Duffy, a writer and friend who now lives in Washington and works for the Politics and Prose Bookshop there. We became friends twenty years ago when we both lived in Brussels. She always recommends wonderful books. When she told me about this story, I was fascinated, and my interest only increased once I had read it. In this story, I think James manages to dramatize a problem which afflicts us all. Always there is that great, threatening, lurking fear. But what if our fear is only the fear of fear itself?
First published in the collection The Better Sort, Methuen & Co., 1903. Currently available in the Everyman Collected Stories Vol 2, 2000. Published as a Penguin Mini Modern Classic in 2011