James's friendship with Constance Fenimore Woolson ended in 1894 when he tried to drown a boatload of her dresses in the Venetian lagoon; she had fallen to her death three months before. It was an elusive friendship that echoed his mysterious relationship with Minny Temple who had died twenty years earlier. From their graves, these two women haunted his imagination and his fiction, inspiring the creation of his heroines.
Lyndall Gordon is the prizewinning biographer of people such as Charlotte Bronte, Virginia Woolf and Mary Wollstonecraft. Born and raised in South Africa, Lyndall is a fellow of St Hilda's College, Oxford.