All posts by LouKo

Art & Freedom

It appears to me that no one can ever have made a seriously artistic attempt without becoming conscious of an immense increase – a kind of revelation – of freedom. One perceives in that case – by the light of a heavenly ray – that the province of art is all life, all feeling, all observation, all vision.

Henry James, “The Art of Fiction”, in Major Stories & Essays, Library of America College Editions, p587

Feeling life

The power to guess the unseen from the seen, to trace the implication of things, to judge of whole things of the pattern, the condition of feeling life in general so completely that you are well on your way to knowing any particular corner of it – this cluster of gifts may almost be said to constitute experience, and they occur in country and in town, and in the most differing stages of education. If experience consists of impressions, it may be said that impressions are experience, just as they are the very air we breathe.

Henry James, “The Art of Fiction”, in Major Stories & Essays, Library of America College Editions, p581

Experience

Experience is never limited, and it is never complete ; it is an immense sensibility, a kind of huge spider-web of the finest silken threads suspended in the chamber of consciousness, and catching every air-borne particle in its tissue. It is the very atmosphere of the mind ; and when the mind is imaginative – much more when it happens to be that of a man of genius – it takes to itself the faintest hints of life, it converts the very pulses of the air into revelations.

Henry James, “The Art of Fiction”, in Major Stories & Essays, Library of America College Editions, p580

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