Henry James: Search and Destroy

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Oddly, I have never read any works by The Master (as he came to be known by writers of the next generation, only half in jest). I am more interested in knowing what you think are the cream of his works, rather than worry about what's the dregs.

So go ahead and learn me good. What's up with this James guy anyway?

Aimless (Aimless), Friday, 2 September 2005 15:37 (fourteen years ago) link

ezra pound wrote a hi-larious and oddly useful overview of james that maybe first appeared in 'transition' - but i read it in his new directions 'literary essays'. it's awesome to read someone so bluntly in public say something like: 'dude wrote way too much and you'll never get to it all, and even some of the good stuff is boring as shit, so here is what you should try to get to if you have time and can stand it, by the way james roolz'.

Josh (Josh), Friday, 2 September 2005 16:23 (fourteen years ago) link

i just googled to see if i could find that and got to the head of department's page at my university. whacko.

tom west (thomp), Friday, 2 September 2005 16:52 (fourteen years ago) link

I'm tempted to say most of it--that I've read, anyway--is cream. Not sure he "wrote too much," and apart from the earliest work, it's all pretty great. Debate rages whether the last three books--Wings of The Dove, Ambassadors, and Golden Bowl--are tremendous masterpieces, elliptical hairshirts, or both, but I guess you could start with Portrait of A Lady, then try one of the above (I'd say The Ambassadors,) then...I dunno. I love The Tragic Muse, among the lesser-read ones. What Maisie Knew is great too. Also, any number of the stories are great. The Beast in The Jungle is a favorite.

I could go on and on about this, but...Portrait is a great place to start.

Dark Horse, Friday, 2 September 2005 22:02 (fourteen years ago) link

Of the easier stuff, which was the only stuff they could make us read at school, I remember liking a short story called "The Real Thing." Still do like it.

k/l (Ken L), Friday, 2 September 2005 23:17 (fourteen years ago) link

i like 'the spoils of poynton', myself

tom west (thomp), Saturday, 3 September 2005 13:14 (fourteen years ago) link

Second Portrait of A Lady. Personal favourites include The Bostonians and Washington Square. The Turn of the Screw is an excellent ghost story.

Whether the later works represent a degeneration into solipsistic self-indulgence or his greatest triumphs is a matter of taste. Personally I prefer the middle period stuff. The Ambassadors will give you a chance to decide if late period James is for you. Alternatively What Maisie Knew is a kind of bridge between the middle and later styles, without being as long or "difficult" as the final 3 novels: it may be worth trying it first - if you like where he seems to be going stylistically with WMK you will probably enjoy the later works.

frankiemachine, Sunday, 4 September 2005 12:26 (fourteen years ago) link

A while ago I devoted a huge chunk of my reading time over the space of about two years to reading all of James, and it was worth every minute, and I just asked my wife for a the Library of America's edition of the tales and stories for a future birthday or Christmas present (she also just reminded me that I mentioned this reading program in the online singles ad that she answered). I second just about everyone's recommendations, and would add The Princess Cassmasima (revolutionary politics vs. art), The Aspern Papers (the most terrifying story of romantic deceit and unrequited love you'll ever read), The Beast in the Jungle (carpe diem!), and his last novel (actually a converted play), The Outcry, a comedy about rich Americans buying up British art treasures. And whatever you do, DO NOT START WITH THE SACRED FOUNT, which even James' biographer, Leon Edel, could never figure out.

I especially second What Maisie Knew, which is not only a bridge to the later, more difficult, novels, but visciously funny as well. If you're in the U.S. hunt for a used copy of the Anchor Doubleday paperback edition, which has a great Edward Gorey cover that makes Maisie look like one of the Gashlycrumb Tinies.

moriarty (moriarty), Friday, 16 September 2005 03:36 (fourteen years ago) link

Mispelled a title in my post. Guess which one.

moriarty (moriarty), Friday, 16 September 2005 03:37 (fourteen years ago) link

Princess Cassmasima. Did you really mean Maisie was viscously funny? I have found large sections of James very viscous, but really did enjoy Maisie.

Jaq (Jaq), Friday, 16 September 2005 11:45 (fourteen years ago) link

I've only read Portrait of a Lady, but it's one of the great reads; for all its literary qualities, it's also a suspenseful relationship story, where you just want to know what happens next and long to sit the heroine down and give her some downhome advice.

All Bunged Up (Jake Proudlock), Friday, 16 September 2005 12:19 (fourteen years ago) link

Eep! I should introduce you 'round - ILB, this is RJM; RJM, ILB.

His ad also mentioned he looked like John Ryhs-Davies. How could I say no?

Jaq (Jaq), Friday, 16 September 2005 12:23 (fourteen years ago) link

No, I don't spell well. Anybody can spell well. But I spell with incredible feeling.

moriarty (moriarty), Friday, 16 September 2005 12:53 (fourteen years ago) link

Jaq, you aren't the first person to find James viscous. His viscosity is legendary.

Aimless (Aimless), Friday, 16 September 2005 14:38 (fourteen years ago) link

He oozes viscosity.

All Bunged Up (Jake Proudlock), Friday, 16 September 2005 17:47 (fourteen years ago) link

I believe I heard once that he "chewed more than he bit off." Or maybe I read it somewhere. A university bathroom wall?

k/l (Ken L), Friday, 16 September 2005 17:59 (fourteen years ago) link

I also really enjoyed The American, but several stabs at The Golden Bowl were discouraging. So very funny, but so wound about and complicated, it just wore me down.

Jaq (Jaq), Friday, 16 September 2005 18:54 (fourteen years ago) link

I got to like him better after I read the New Directions anthology of short stories. Beast in the Jungle, Figure in the Carpet, etc.
He's kind of like a score composer (takemitsu, bernard hermann) of a novelist.

steve ketchup, Saturday, 17 September 2005 13:15 (fourteen years ago) link

two years pass...

I read What Maisie Knew and I kinda got lost for a little while about two thirds of the way through, yet I still really want to read Ambassadors and Wings of the Dove. What can I do???

Drugs A. Money, Friday, 25 January 2008 00:07 (eleven years ago) link

you can stop reading What Maisie Knew. I like it, but it's not his best. Ambassadors and Wings of the Dove are amazing.

horseshoe, Friday, 25 January 2008 18:58 (eleven years ago) link

i always say this, but Portrait of a Lady is the best first James read, i think.

horseshoe, Friday, 25 January 2008 18:59 (eleven years ago) link

Many of his short stories and novellas are brilliant, too. And THe Europeans, Washington Square and The Spoils of Poynton are all great and relatively short, for those who struggle with longer, denser, more indigestible James.

James Morrison, Sunday, 27 January 2008 03:43 (eleven years ago) link

four years pass...

Roderick Hudson is so damn assured; every sentence is an epigram aimed without cruelty at a phantom target.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 26 April 2012 02:39 (seven years ago) link

I've got Roderick Hudson on the shelf, awaiting its moment. thx.

Aimless, Thursday, 26 April 2012 02:47 (seven years ago) link

seven years pass...

I finished THE ASPERN PAPERS last night. A novella of about 100 pages. The writing is rich, ambiguous, wry. The story has a little of WASHINGTON SQUARE - the supposedly undesirable woman being strung along - but it's more interesting than I recall that. The sense of motive is richer: literature, research, archives as something to value obsessively. This is also prescient, I suppose, about the growth of archives like the Harry Ransom and Beinecke Libraries, et al.

The same book contains 'The Middle Years'. This is also terrific - about a writer who feels he is finished, and reflects on his own work and meets a reader of it. Tremendous sense of self-reference, HJ writing partly about himself.

I had feared that I would find HJ too dense, but I'm getting on OK with these shorter works.

the pinefox, Monday, 16 September 2019 08:16 (two months ago) link

Finished 'The Middle Years'. Very strange and typically Jamesian in combining class, mysterious wealth, art (but you never get to read the art), youth and age - and here, illness and death - all in about 20 pages - and in being literal and symbolic at once, or making it hard to distinguish them.

The last page is astounding. It feels like HJ's farewell, but was drafted more like 1892 I think:

A second chance—that’s the delusion. There never was to be but one. We work in the dark—we do what we can—we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.

the pinefox, Monday, 16 September 2019 12:30 (two months ago) link

yeah, that's one of his most famous quotes. Jamesian that I am, those stories about writers have never moved me much; they verge on self-pity at times. But as an entry point to the oeuvre they're terrific. The Henry James so many readers are afraid of didn't develop That Style until 1901

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 16 September 2019 12:38 (two months ago) link

Finished 'The Private Life'. Incredible - and also in a drawing-room comedy mode. As wild and suggestive a high-concept idea as most SF, fantasy or Gothic.

I would have thought that this was somehow about HJ himself and his life of writing - yet it seems that it was primarily inspired by meeting other writers like Browning and Tennyson. Perhaps then the self-reference, if there is any, is secondary or unintended.

the pinefox, Wednesday, 18 September 2019 09:37 (two months ago) link

Try "In The Cage", pinefox.

ban golf (jed_), Wednesday, 18 September 2019 10:50 (two months ago) link

and "The Beast in the Jungle."

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 18 September 2019 11:29 (two months ago) link

yes.

ban golf (jed_), Wednesday, 18 September 2019 11:48 (two months ago) link

Isn't 'In the Cage' about someone working in a post office? Think I did read that, and 'Crapy Cornelia', once - or may have just intended to.

I have not read 'Beast', but 'Death of the Lion' is next for me.

I'm glad to be reading these shorter HJ works, but I still feel that reading a longer novel by him would be a different kind of slog - I'm putting it off as I have been for years by picking off shorter items, including WASHINGTON SQUARE.

the pinefox, Wednesday, 18 September 2019 12:07 (two months ago) link

I finished 'The Death of the Lion'. Less satisfactory overall -- the theme of 'being a writer vs living out in society' is strained and, as Alfred's comment hinted, has a whingeing element (of all the problems to have, to be successful and feted!). The fact that going out to fashionable events literally leaves the writer dead is over the top. And the jealous narrator gets to have a hot chick despite having prevented her from doing the one thing she most wanted to do (see the writer). Overall the effect isn't so pleasing.

the pinefox, Thursday, 19 September 2019 09:18 (two months ago) link

The American and The Europeans are pretty easy going, don't know about page count but in my memory at least they feel on a par with Washington Square, and just as rewarding - The American especially.

The Pingularity (ledge), Thursday, 19 September 2019 09:30 (two months ago) link

The Spoils of Poynton is a great way to get into the later style. The introduction by David Lodge taught me a new word: aposiopesis.

What a ridiculous clusterfuck of totally uncool jokers (jed_), Thursday, 19 September 2019 10:44 (two months ago) link

It was absolutely my intention to read THE SPOILS OF POYNTON - but leaving the house today I didn't have any shorter HJ so picked up a long one I've owned for many years ... THE GOLDEN BOWL!

About 27 pages in out of 540. What have I let myself in for? I might have to stop and read another shorter one instead.

the pinefox, Thursday, 19 September 2019 22:50 (two months ago) link

fwiw, I read The Wings of The Dove and consider it to be one of the greatest... wastes of time of my reading life. It's like James doesn't even care about the situation, at all. I'm not even sure he cares about the characters. I mainly only remember my incredulity over the last 100 pages. "Surely not", "Surely someone has to say something to someone else soon that's actually about the situation here"

What a ridiculous clusterfuck of totally uncool jokers (jed_), Thursday, 19 September 2019 23:04 (two months ago) link

but Poynton is seriously good apart from the ending.

What a ridiculous clusterfuck of totally uncool jokers (jed_), Thursday, 19 September 2019 23:05 (two months ago) link

still, The Line of Beauty >>>>>>>>>>>>> The Spoils of Poynton.

What a ridiculous clusterfuck of totally uncool jokers (jed_), Thursday, 19 September 2019 23:06 (two months ago) link

Agreed!

You're right about TWOTD too. The Ambassadors, however, I've read four or five times with increasing pleasure.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 19 September 2019 23:15 (two months ago) link

The Golden Bowl is...batty. The situation is ridiculous; once you accept this, then you accept James' limning. The peak of the novel for me is an extended analysis of Adam Verver as a late 19th century capitalist type; I wove James' sharp insights into my master's thesis.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 19 September 2019 23:16 (two months ago) link

so, read The Ambassadors rather than Golden, if I had to choose?

What a ridiculous clusterfuck of totally uncool jokers (jed_), Thursday, 19 September 2019 23:21 (two months ago) link

If you want brisker, yes. Also: a real supporting cast.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 19 September 2019 23:29 (two months ago) link

excellent, thanks.

What a ridiculous clusterfuck of totally uncool jokers (jed_), Thursday, 19 September 2019 23:53 (two months ago) link

The Ambassadors is James at his funniest

Brad C., Friday, 20 September 2019 00:22 (two months ago) link

The Europeans is!

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 20 September 2019 00:37 (two months ago) link

THE LINE OF BEAUTY, a masterpiece, is one of the reasons I want to read THE SPOILS OF POYNTON.

No spoilers on THE GOLDEN BOWL for the next ... 6 months, please. (Actually I'm 60pp in after a day and a night, which is good going for me. Only 480pp to go.)

I happen to have a rough idea of the stories and characters of both THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY and THE WINGS OF A DOVE and find both, especially the former, unpleasant -- I don't want to read 1000+ pages of it. So I think I will continue to avoid those two if I can get away with it.

But I hope to get to THE AMBASSADORS and THE EUROPEANS.

the pinefox, Friday, 20 September 2019 09:46 (two months ago) link

btw does anyone else know Lorrie Moore's rewrite of THE WINGS OF [*THE*] DOVE, 'Wings'? That's artful.

the pinefox, Friday, 20 September 2019 09:47 (two months ago) link

The Portrait of a Lady unpleasant?! How?

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 20 September 2019 10:17 (two months ago) link

Isn't it about a young woman who enters an abusive relationship with a ghastly manipulative older man, and refuses to leave it?

That's my recollection from the film and everything I've ever read about it.

I find it quite painful even to read about.

the pinefox, Friday, 20 September 2019 11:45 (two months ago) link

i read "what maisie knew" without advance knowledge of what it's about: in pinefox terms it's even more unpleasant (and very modern topic-wise: spoiler the parents are monsters)

maisie is less structurally lumpy than portrait

mark s, Friday, 20 September 2019 12:01 (two months ago) link

I have meant to read that for years. I might have reached it by now if I hadn't started THE GOLDEN BOWL first!

the pinefox, Friday, 20 September 2019 13:22 (two months ago) link

The Russian doll structure of What Maisie Knew brings out the creepiness.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 20 September 2019 13:24 (two months ago) link

mark s otm

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 20 September 2019 13:24 (two months ago) link

The Europeans is entertaining, but I can see why he left it out of the New York Edition; the set-up is strong but by the end the comedy feels thin, perhaps because his view of all the characters is so measured and sympathetic that it's hard to root for or against any of them.

Brad C., Saturday, 21 September 2019 01:44 (two months ago) link

Still pleasantly surprised that THE GOLDEN BOWL is actually readable.

the pinefox, Saturday, 21 September 2019 11:43 (two months ago) link

This thread inspired this primer.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 21 September 2019 14:55 (two months ago) link

is the 1875 Roderick Hudson better than the 1907 revision?

Brad C., Saturday, 21 September 2019 16:02 (two months ago) link

matter of opinion

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 21 September 2019 20:54 (two months ago) link

three weeks pass...

I finished THE GOLDEN BOWL after about 3 weeks.

One word: overkill. 540 pages to dither about two people having an affair which for a while deceives two other people who eventually cotton on to it but almost never mention it openly.

The prose is probably impressive in its perverse way - especially the quality of many different metaphors. But there is a strong sense of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, crushing a butterfly on a wheel, or taking the longest way round to go somewhere relatively nearby. There isn't enough at stake in the story to make this massive circumlocution and distension seem merited.

Another problem, not of HJ's making, is the sense that the basis of the story is probably outmoded - in that you surely couldn't write a 540-page novel now about two people having an affair and someone else being too polite to bring it up. 90% of readers would just scream 'Just confront them about it and get a divorce already!', and the like. Presumably for HJ that's not socially acceptable - and that gives him his story - but the change in mores in a relatively short time makes his tale seem the more pointless and unnecessary.

I realize that you could say something similar about any historical narrative - that Shakespeare's characters act in ways that we wouldn't, etc - but it feels like a problem here, as it wouldn't there -- maybe a) because we're not so distant from HJ, b) because HJ spins it out to such ridiculous length, c) because in Shakespeare so much seems at stake, in ways we can understand - the fate of kingdoms, social change, etc. HJ's story is largely abstracted from such contexts - the one element of interest in this regard is the idea of 'America', to which one of the couples heads at the end, but this idea not very explicitly or extensively addressed given the number of pages HJ had at his disposal.

Maybe you can say it's a kind of exercise - to write as much and as elaborately as possible about something basically trivial. A version of Flaubert's dream of the book about nothing.

the pinefox, Saturday, 12 October 2019 10:08 (two months ago) link

i mean i'm probably not going to get round to 540-pages worth any time soon -- i prefer HJ's early funny stuff -- but something that captures in great and subtle detail a world-view and sensibility that is now perhaps entirely vanished seems good not bad? fiction as a portrait of the realities of its moment etc etc, lest we merely project back onto all other times and places our own (fragile) world-views and sensibilities blah blah

mark s, Saturday, 12 October 2019 11:08 (two months ago) link

Ezra Pound:

If one were advocate instead of critic, one would definitely claim that these atmospheres, nuances, impressions of personal tone and quality are his subject; that in these he gets certain things that almost no one else had done before him. These timbres and tonalities are his stronghold, he is ignorant of nearly everything else. It is all very well to say that modern life is largely made up of velleities, atmospheres, timbres, nuances, etc., but if people really spent as much time fussing, to the extent of the Jamesian fuss about such normal trifling, age-old affairs, as slight inclinations to adultery, slight disinclinations to marry, to refrain from marrying, etc., etc., life would scarcely be worth the bother of keeping on with it. It is also contendable that one must depict such mush in order to abolish it.

(NB: I don't agree)

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 12 October 2019 11:39 (two months ago) link

I just like lots of guilt

(the gilt cup)

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 12 October 2019 12:30 (two months ago) link

Pound did get this right about Harry: "If one were advocate instead of critic, one would definitely claim that these atmospheres, nuances, impressions of personal tone and quality are his subject; that in these he gets certain things that almost no one else had done before him. These timbres and tonalities are his stronghold..."

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 12 October 2019 12:39 (two months ago) link

nevertheless ppl who ever use the word "velleities" deserve to be pinched sharply on the upper arm in my professional critical opinion

mark s, Saturday, 12 October 2019 12:39 (two months ago) link

What did you think, pinefox, of his characterization of Adam Verver, super capitalist? As a poeticized symbol of this era in American history, it's pretty sharp (my master's thesis drew upon this novel and this character).

I did think James evaded the difficulty of explaining to audience what the hell happens or doesn't happen between Maggie and her father for a hundred pages.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 12 October 2019 12:41 (two months ago) link

Pound deserved more than pinches for many things. xpost

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 12 October 2019 12:42 (two months ago) link

agreed but he didn't get pinched enough, in addition to everything else he deserved

mark s, Saturday, 12 October 2019 12:43 (two months ago) link

pinefox that's a typically enjoyable and clear and opinionated assessment.

thanks to this thread i'm reading h james for the first time (portrait of a lady) and the seeds of what people seem not to like about his later more elliptical style certainly seem to already be there. thinking mainly of the absurd double (and triple) negatives, the elaborate ways of saying simple things.

I'm really in love with what Pound talks about in that nice stretch you quote Alfred. but as Pound says in his uncharitable way there's an extraordinary sensitivity to others that is probably unrealistic, insofar as these people were probably rather a lot more bone-headed than James makes out. but reading it makes you feel that you actually ARE that sensitive to things, and that feeling lingers even after you've put the book down. it feels like you have superpowers.

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Saturday, 12 October 2019 13:23 (two months ago) link

less fun to me is the kind of crackerjack, screwball repartée the principals indulge in from time to time. oscar wilde elevated this sort of thing into a kind of platonic ideal but here i usually just feel like I'm listening to a bunch of wankers try to out-clever each other.

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Saturday, 12 October 2019 13:27 (two months ago) link

(new board desc obv)

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Saturday, 12 October 2019 13:27 (two months ago) link

But there is a strong sense of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, crushing a butterfly on a wheel, or taking the longest way round to go somewhere relatively nearby. There isn't enough at stake in the story to make this massive circumlocution and distension seem merited.

This is brilliant and almost Jamesian.

What a ridiculous clusterfuck of totally uncool jokers (jed_), Saturday, 12 October 2019 15:06 (two months ago) link

it's infectious!

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Saturday, 12 October 2019 15:54 (two months ago) link

Oddly, I have never read any works by The Master...

Aimless (Aimless), Friday, September 2, 2005 8:37 AM (fourteen years ago)

I have now read:

Portrait of a Lady
The Spoils of Poynton
The Bostonians
Washington Square
Roderick Hudson

He's not quite my favorite, but I've learned to appreciate him now. His sense of pace can be glacial, but his payoff is always worthwhile and he can write exquisitely nuanced sentences.

A is for (Aimless), Saturday, 12 October 2019 17:20 (two months ago) link

I have really grown to hate Isabel Archer.

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 22:42 (one month ago) link

lol what

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 16 October 2019 00:06 (one month ago) link

Mods, can we delete Tracer's dangerous hate speech, ty

Ward Fowler, Wednesday, 16 October 2019 01:08 (one month ago) link

but reading it makes you feel that you actually ARE that sensitive to things, and that feeling lingers even after you've put the book down. it feels like you have superpowers.

this is exactly why i like the small amount of james i've read.

cheese canopy (map), Wednesday, 16 October 2019 01:18 (one month ago) link

That is very true. As our friend, Tracer Hand noted above you can, within the circumscribed limits afforded to you, actually begin, if you can ever actually really begin, to write things down in this very particular way.

What a ridiculous clusterfuck of totally uncool jokers (jed_), Wednesday, 16 October 2019 01:23 (one month ago) link

^that was shite but cut me some slack, my friends.

What a ridiculous clusterfuck of totally uncool jokers (jed_), Wednesday, 16 October 2019 01:25 (one month ago) link

I’m not sure James particularly likes Isabel. He has a great affection for her, but it often feels like a pitying affection. She’s tremendously vain. She’s obsessed with her own vague story, to the point of blindness to those around her apart from their impact upon her immediate happiness. He's constantly dropping remarks like "She was very observant, as we know, of what was good for her, and her effort was constantly to find something that was good enough." Which is, you know, her right, but it’s pretty wearing. And in some of the book’s situations it really borders on narcissism.

That said I'm only halfway through the book so I expect the creeping dread that accompanies every move of the maniacs around her will shortly be cashed in and I'll be feeling sorry for her.

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Wednesday, 16 October 2019 08:05 (one month ago) link

Isobel Archer feels like a Jamesian SELF-portrait to me - or at the very least, the character that HJ most identified with in his own fiction.

Ward Fowler, Wednesday, 16 October 2019 08:10 (one month ago) link

I'm surprised by that. Ralph feels more author-like to me - his illness forcing him into the role of perpetual observer.

I have to admit I'm feeling a certain amount of schadenfreude at Isabel's life with Osmond. Ralph tried to warn her. But she, supposedly valuing Ralph's opinion so highly, just carried on down whatever road flattered her most. Osmond has exquisite taste, and he chooses her. Deal's a good 'un.

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 17 October 2019 09:48 (one month ago) link

here's a extract from an essay that argues IA is partly a self-portrait but as much an echo of his beloved cousin minny: https://www.nku.edu/~emily/ludwig.html

self-portrait is not an outlier view critically iirc

mark s, Thursday, 17 October 2019 11:58 (one month ago) link

Critics (or maybe just Leon Edel) have also speculated that Osmond is whom James feared he might become.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 17 October 2019 11:59 (one month ago) link

"His ambition was not to please the world, but to please himself by exciting the world’s curiosity and then declining to satisfy it. It had made him feel great to play the world a trick."

What a ridiculous clusterfuck of totally uncool jokers (jed_), Thursday, 17 October 2019 12:09 (one month ago) link

what clown called it "portrait of a lady" and not "henry james: it me"

mark s, Thursday, 17 October 2019 12:49 (one month ago) link

Henrietta Stackpole and Mr Bantling are each others' beards, this seems obvious to me.

Ralph's deathbed scene near the end feels utterly unfkwable. Like how can anyone even think of writing another deathbed scene after that? And the annihilatingly light scene-setting for his funeral: "Three days after this a considerable number of people found time, at the height of the London “season,” to take a morning train down to a quiet station in Berkshire and spend half an hour in a small grey church which stood within an easy walk."

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Wednesday, 30 October 2019 00:03 (one month ago) link

"As if in acknowledgment of Ralph's influence on their too desiccated lives, they stood in this church erect, still, hands in their pockets."

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 30 October 2019 00:05 (one month ago) link

Just - fine, hang me out to dry, Henry James, I'm done, I'm wrung out

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Wednesday, 30 October 2019 00:07 (one month ago) link


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