McClure in multiple American newspapers and then published in the British publication Black and White in April  and the following year as the title story in the collection, The Real Thing and Other Stories published by Macmillan. This story, often read as a parable, plays with the reality-illusion dichotomy that fascinated James, especially in the later stages of his career. For the illustrator who narrates the story, the genuine article proves all too useless for his commercial purposes. The story portrays the unfortunate victims of a society in which reality and representation are closely intertwined in ways that make art a difficult project to disentangle the two.
The Real Right Thing
Henry James' Writing Style and Short Biography | LitPriest
Henry James began writing The American while living in Paris in the winter of The novel first appeared in The Atlantic Monthly in twelve serialized, monthly installments from June to May In May , as the serialization ended, a complete edition was published. There is evidence that James had not completed the novel when it began to appear in the magazine; he also began the novel with the expectation of publishing it in a different magazine, and it only found a home in The Atlantic at the last minute. The American is James's third novel after Watch and Ward and Roderick Hudson ; however, since James was eventually displeased with the former work and made efforts to suppress it, The American is sometimes represented as his second work. The novel reflects James's preoccupation in this period with writing about Americans traveling abroad, a theme shared with slightly later works such as Daisy Miller and The Portrait of a Lady. While James is interested in exploring cultural and moral divisions between the Old World and the New, he also intended the novel as a partial defense of the American mode of life, being inspired to produce a rebuttal to a play by Alexandre Dumas called "L'Etrangere," which gave a negative depiction of Americans.
The Real Thing
It also appeared in the English Black and White magazine at the same time. It is worth noting that on its first appearance the tale itself carried illustrations, as was quite common with stories and serialised fiction at that time. Major and Mrs Monarch are truly pathetic figures. They cling to their snobbish notions of class and status — yet they are virtually empty figures. The narrator conceives of them as the products of a purposeless, trite, and conventional lifestyle.
While both stories involve the supernatural presence of a presumed dead family member, this element of the story is portrayed very differently between the two pieces. Doyne and Withermore feel as if the ghost of Doyne is in the house. This feeling of a ghost however is much like you might think of the feeling many people may have when losing a close friend or family member: that they still are in the house alive and well because the death was very recent. This feeling of a ghost in the house at first being ascribed to the death being recent seems very realistic and something that many people may have even experienced in their own lives.