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Archive for the ‘Henry James’ Category

I had a long slow argument with Henry James while reading The Wings of the Dove. Was he an immortal genius? Or a purveyor of pretentious soap operas? Here’s who won the argument:

“On that especial issue, Peter made something like a near approach, taking into account his great reasons, the particulars and nuances and complexities, they being, of course, more important than the main point, they being really fine, and grand, and ravishing, and although he hung fire on his answer, and really, who might blame him, before committing himself, as it were, to a more definite position, which if stated plainly, might fall a little flat, might seem a little thin, might reveal too baldly a poverty of thought and a desolation of feeling, conveniently concealed in a thicket of syntax, great flashes of brilliance aside, yet he did half commit himself, in the end, all of which is to say, perhaps, he wouldn’t decide James wasn’t coming out something more ahead than not.”

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