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HENRY JAMES AND THE JACOBITES, by Maxwell Gelamar, Houghton Mifflin, 462 pp., $7.

In fact, this reputation was part of his value in the magazine market, where his name on the contents page added a touch of literary class — whether his stories were read or not.


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James often explored this mismatch between popularity and lasting value in tales such as The Figure in the Carpet. Shrewdly, he also saw that what readers respond to is not the real writer, but a persona which they buy into or construct. The last piece of writing James worked on before he fell ill was an essay about the young English soldier-poet Rupert Brooke.

Henry James Biography

Brooke had died the previous April of blood poisoning on a troop ship in transit to Gallipoli, just weeks after the publication of his sonnets , including his best known poem, The Soldier. This obituary perhaps said more about Churchill and his agenda than about Brooke, however. Notably, it appeared alongside an appeal for more young men to enlist for military service. By editing and promoting his writing, Lubbock would play a major part in creating one of the most enduring versions of James, that of the serious literary craftsman and thoughtful, scrupulous student of human nature.

There are certainly many other versions of James, often contradictory: shy, self-assured, homosexual, heterosexual, altruistic, rapacious, self-aware and self-deluded. You might wonder where, a century on, we can ever find the real James.

Henry James on Anthony Trollope

Like his creation Hugh Vereker in The Figure in the Carpet, he has vanished, leaving us to puzzle endlessly over his rich and multi-layered work. And that, of course, is the hallmark of a great writer.

Screen music and the question of originality - Miguel Mera — London, Islington. UEA Inaugural lecture: Alternative performance measures: do managers disclose them to inform us, or to mislead us? Edition: Available editions United Kingdom. Hazel Hutchison , University of Aberdeen. Henry James in Vintage James.

Reading Henry James

Henry James War-poet Rupert Brooke. Jeffrey Skemp. It seemed to me that if the arc of the book were to destroy her through her inability to handle the abundance put before her, that this could be a very damaging image in a world where women still face major barriers to equal opportunity and compensation for work; to autonomy in our bodily lives, especially our sexual lives; and, simply by virtue of being women, to being recognized in our full humanity.

I did not, however, end up furious at Henry James. The portrait, too, of her controlling husband Gilbert Osmond is masterful in its evocation of how violent and terrifying the demand that one give up the self to another can be. Of course it had not been physical suffering; for physical suffering there might have been a remedy. Throughout the novel, Ralph, who is ill, is as ambivalent as Isabelle is about the prospect of his inheritance. Ralph receives that same amount of money that Isabelle does.

His bequest from his father is traditional and socially sanctioned. Does that put him in the same kind of moral danger in which it seems to put Isabelle? And he does with half of his inheritance before he receives it exactly what Isabelle does with all of hers: he turns it over to another sensibility.

Henry James: a brief introduction

He chooses her like she chooses Osmond, absent only the element of manipulation of Ralph by Isabelle. Is that immoral or is it not? There are questions under that question about the distribution of wealth and whose lives and wills matter. People are an ends, not a means, and the novel as a form explores the gap between that ideal state in which they are not to be used and a world in which they always are. Isabelle takes her insights, her growth as a person, her autonomy, and, finally, an experience of her own physical desire into the difficulties of her future.

He gives a rich, satisfying study of all that James must have needed to read, consider, experience and brave in order to revise the kiss to affect Isabelle as it does. I read it differently.


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I see Isabelle taking her desire with her, alive in her body, along with her own mind and her powerful ability to choose. She may or may not express that desire in the future, but she has it and knows it. I was not angry when I finished The Portrait of a Lady. I was engaged, with my sensibilities aroused. It is a promising state in which to turn back to the world.

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