Tag Archives: novel

Fiction and Lying as Art

“It is here in very truth that he competes with life;it is here that he competes with his brother the painter in his attempt to render the look of things, the look that conveys their meaning, to catch the colour, the relief, the expression, the surface, the substance of the human spectacle.” James, Henry. Major Stories & Essays. New York: Library of America, 1999. Pg.581. – James’ argument of fiction as art reminds me of research paper I wrote last semester arguing that Stephen Crane is an impressionist writer using techniques of the impressionist painters. Agree with James that fiction writing is “one of the fine arts” (575).

“Try to be one of the people on whom nothing is lost!” Pg. 581 – the definition of an artist, and the way to experience life.

“A novel is a living thing, all one and continuous, like any other organism, and in proportion as it lives will it be found, I think that each of the parts there is something of each other of the other parts” pg. 582 – great analogy – a novel is about life and takes on its own life, needs to be cohesive, a body of parts.

“He forgets that when Art surrenders her imaginative medium she surrenders everything.” Wilde, Oscar. “The Decay of Lying.” In Intentions. New York: Brentano’s, 1905. Pg. 24. – art is not simply imagination, it’s interpretation.

Discutable

Only a short time ago it might have been supposed that the
English novel was not what the French call discutable. It had no
air of having a theory, a conviction, a consciousness of itself
behind it—of being the expression of an artistic faith, the result
of choice and comparison. I do not say it was necessarily the
worse for that; it would take much more courage than I possess
to intimate that the form of the novel, as Dickens and Thackeray
(for instance) saw it had any taint of incompleteness. (pg 1

Henry James, The Art of Fiction

Notes- Criticizing, lack of,foreign terminology

Impression of Life

A novel is in its broadest definition a personal, a direct impression of life : that, to begin with, constitutes its value, which is greater or less according to the intensity of the impression. But there will be no intensity at all, and therefore no value, unless there is freedom to feel and say.

 

Henry James, “The Art of Fiction”, in Major Stories & Essays, Library of America College Editions, p578

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.