All posts by BA

Regretting lack of action

They looked at each other as with the feeling of an occasion missed; the present one would have been so much better if the other, in the far distance, in the foreign land, hadn’t been so stupidly meagre. There weren’t, apparently, all counted, more than a dozen little old things that had succeeded in coming to pass between them; trivialities of youth, simplicities of freshness, stupidities of ignorance, small possible germs, but too deeply buried–too deeply (didn’t it seem?) to sprout after so many years.

James, Henry. “The Beast in the Jungle.” In The Better Sort. New York: Scribner, 1903. Internet Archive. http://archive.org/details/bettersort00jamegoog (193)

Notes: met before, missed opportunities that he seems to regret, years have passed, observes her closely.

Portrayal of Life

The only reason for the existence of a novel is that it does attempt to represent life. When it relinquishes this attempt, the same attempt that we see on the canvas of the painter, it will have arrived at a very strange pass.

Henry James. “The Art of Fiction.” In Partial Portraits. New York: Macmillan,1894 Internet Archive http://archive.org/details/partialportraits00jameiala) 378.

Notes: Novels rooted in real life,  novels have a purpose, writer and painter are comparable

Even Mr. Robert Louis Stevenson, that delightful master of delicate and fanciful prose, is tainted with this modern vice, for we know positively no other name for it.There is such a thing as robbing a story of its reality by trying to make it too true, and The Black Arrow is so inartistic as not to contain a single anachronism to boast of, while the transformation of Dr. Jekyll reads dangerously like an experiment out of the Lancet.

Oscar Wilde. “The Decay of Lying.” In Intentions. New York: Brentano’s, 1905 (Internet Archive. http://archive.org/details/intentionsdecayo00wild) 10-11.

Notes: Fine line in stories, too realistic, imagination needed.