All posts by JC


When the possibilities themselves had, accordingly, turned stale, when the secret of the gods had grown faint, had perhaps even quite evaporated, that, and that only, was failure. It wouldn’t have been failure to be bankrupt, dishonoured, pilloried, hanged; it was failure not to be anything.

Henry James, “The Beast in the Jungle,” in The Complete Tales of Henry James
(New York: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1964), 379.

Notes: expectancy, failure = not accomplishing anything?, false modesty = egotism/pride


For what is Nature? Nature is no great mother who has borne us. She is our creation. It is in our brain that she quickens to life. Things are because we see them, and what we see, and how we see it, depends on the Arts that have influenced us.

Oscar Wilde, “The Decay of Lying,” in Intentions (New York: Brentano’s, 1905), 41.

Notes: perception – what is real? objective vs. subjective;  life without art = reality?


We must grant the artist his subject, his ideas, his donée : our criticism is applied only to what he makes of it.

Henry James, “The Art of Fiction,” in Partial Portraits (New York: Macmillan, 1894), 394-395.

Notes: style, subjective criticism, freedom of speech