The Grasping Imagination: The American Writings of Henry by Peter Buitenhuis

By Peter Buitenhuis

There has been virtually no research of the yankee writings of Henry James, that's, the fiction, essays, and commute literature with an American surroundings. the nice bulk of Jamesian feedback bargains with the overseas novels, relatively his past due works.

This research areas James’s profession in a brand new point of view via discussing its American element. It offers the critic a chance to come back to grips with the evolution of James’s method from his moment brief tale to his penultimate, unfinished novel, The Ivory Tower.

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Extra info for The Grasping Imagination: The American Writings of Henry James

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3 The camera eye's record of a landscape often completely differs from an artist's rendering because the painter's eye is reading into the scene images, colours, and forms which he believes should be there through his knowledge of previous applicable schemata. 5 He incidentally opens up a fruitful field for the critic of literature. This is particularly true in the criticism of the work of Henry James, who was from his earliest years influenced by art and was for some time, indeed, a professional critic of painting.

Imbued with ideas about the necessity of realism in fiction, he was not able, even when writing in the romance form, to profit at this time by Hawthorne's example. The Romance of Certain Old Clothes, as the title suggests, is, for all its high colour, a costume drama, unredeemed by historical insight or credibility. In De Grey: A Romance, published six months later in the Atlantic, James attempted something more ambitious in this line, a long tale that has its origins in the characteristically Hawthornesque idea of the hereditary curse.

Although quite slight, the story is a significant development of the theme of the intimate association of love and death in James's fiction. Fulfilled love seems to demand in much of his work some human sacrifice. In this case a substitute or scapegoat pays the price so that, for once in a great while, the outcome of the story can be happy. The marriage, the narrator concludes, 'has been a truly happy one,' although, through some principle of equity, the couple has remained childless. Here again James insists upon a kind of moral retribution as a principle of his fiction.

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