It’s estimated that Henry James wrote 40,000 letters in his lifetime, many of them lost, many still in private hands, many unpublished. Just the letters that editors know about will eventually require 140 volumes to print, and in toto, they may comprise one of the greatest literary epistolary efforts — particularly the youthful, uncharacteristically funny and lively missives. (“To Alice on the view from St Peter’s in Rome: ‘I’m sure I saw one of the pontifical petticoats hanging out to dry.’”) Colm Toibin explains on the publication of The Complete Letters of Henry James, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2.