165. (Henry James)

The post below I now see is muddled. Please see post 167 for a clearer statement. I detect in Nelson Goodman’s response to the question of ‘what good philosophy does’ an affinity with Henry James. The question, said Goodman, takes things from the wrong side. Rather than suppose that philosophy ought to do the world good, he thought we should proceed from the idea that … Continue reading 165. (Henry James)

40. (Henry James)

Henry James’ critical perception of others didn’t depend on his seeing himself in their words; but he might have been stirred to self-reflection in articulating a discovery (or discovering an articulation) about Tennyson: It is poised and stationary, like a bird whose wings have borne him high, but the beauty of whose movement is less in great ethereal sweeps and circles than in the way … Continue reading 40. (Henry James)

37. (Henry James)

His sentences are moved to excess with a wariness of waste. The inheritance of scrupulous, new-world economizing is carried over, by an instinct that lived on the nerves, to react against authors whose imaginations abnegate their responsibilities for accounting. Authors ought, the years of reviews, letters, and personal achievements suppose, to know where to draw the circle of attention, should discern where the relations between words, … Continue reading 37. (Henry James)

35. (Henry James)

Propriety and property, position and possession: the late James, James of The Golden Bowl, evolved an entire style to brace these against one another, to give each its due and record the toll each takes on the other.  That novel, with its Italian prince, its London imperium, is an intimate epic, concerned to be, as epics can be, both the justification for and cautionary tale against … Continue reading 35. (Henry James)

4. (Henry James)

A friendly debate this afternoon about late Henry James and consciousness: what late Henry James does to, makes of, or conjures of consciousness (each verb representing a distinct position that a critic might take) is one of the intractable problems of literary criticism; it’s a wonder of his work that he can create characters as vividly as he does (whether they seem like vivid people … Continue reading 4. (Henry James)