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Title: Henry James
Author: West, Rebecca, 1892-1983
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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HENRY JAMES

[Illustration: Photo portrait of Henry James]



HENRY JAMES

By

REBECCA WEST

KENNIKAT PRESS, INC. / PORT WASHINGTON, N. Y.



HENRY JAMES

First Published in 1916
Reissued in 1968 by Kennikat Press

Library of Congress Catalog Card No: 67-27663

Manufactured in the United States of America



AUTHOR'S NOTE


_I wish to acknowledge my indebtedness for help in compiling the
bibliography to Mr James B. Pinker, Miss Wilma Meikle, and Messrs
Constable; and to Messrs Macmillan for the loan of the New York Edition
of the Novels and Tales of Henry James._

R. W.



CONTENTS


                                     PAGE

  I. THE SOURCES                        9

 II. THE INTERNATIONAL SITUATION       24

III. TRANSITION                        55

 IV. THE CRYSTAL BOWL                  86

  V. THE GOLDEN BOWL                  105

   BIBLIOGRAPHY                       119

   AMERICAN BIBLIOGRAPHY              124

   INDEX                                127



I

THE SOURCES


At various times during the latter half of the eighteenth century there
crossed the Atlantic two Protestant Irishmen, a Lowland Scotsman, and an
Englishman, and thereby they fixed the character of Mr Henry James'
genius. For the essential thing about Mr James was that he was an
American; and that meant, for his type and generation, that he could
never feel at home until he was in exile. He came of a stock that was
the product of culture and needed it as part of its environment. But at
the time of his childhood and youth--he was born in 1843--culture was a
thing that was but budding here and there in America, in such corners as
were not being used in the business of establishing the material
civilisation of the new country. The social life of old New York and
Boston had its delicacy, its homespun honesty of texture, its austerer
sort of beauty; but plainly the American people were too preoccupied by
their businesses and professions to devote their money to the
embellishment of _salons_ or their intelligence to the development of
manners. Hawthorne and Emerson and Margaret Fuller and their friends
were trying to make a culture against time; but any record of their
lives which gives a candid account of how desperately these people had
to struggle to make the meanest living shows that the poor American ants
were then utterly unable to form the leisured community which is the
necessary environment for grasshoppers. "The impression of Emerson's
personal history is condensed into the single word Concord," wrote Mr
James later, "and all the condensation in the world will not make it
rich." There was no blinking the fact that in attempting to set up in
this unfinished country Art was like a delicate lady who moves into a
house before the plaster is dried on the walls; she was bound to lead an
invalid existence.

This incapacity of America to supply the colour of life became obvious
to Henry and William James, the two charming little boys in tight
trousers and brass-buttoned jackets, one of whom grew up to write
fiction as though it were philosophy and the other to write philosophy
as though it were fiction, at a very early age. It did not escape their
infant observation that the ladies and gentlemen who fascinated them by
dancing on the tight-rope at Barnum's Museum always bore exotic names,
and when they grew older and developed the youthful taste for anecdotic
art they found it could be gratified only by such European importations
as Thorwaldsen's _Christ and His Disciples_, the great white images of
which were ranged round the maroon walls of the New York Crystal Palace,
or Benjamin's Haydon's pictures in the Düsseldorf collection in
Broadway. And when they grew older still and began to show a fine talent
for painting and drawing their unfolding artistic sense found more and
more intimations of the wonder of Europe. _A View of Tuscany_ that hung
in the Jameses' home was pronounced by a friend who had lived much in
Italy not to be of Tuscany at all. Colours in Tuscany were softer; but
such brightness might be found in other parts of Italy. So Europe was as
various as that--a place of innumerable changing glories like a sunrise,
but better than a sunrise, inasmuch as every glory was encrusted with
the richness of legend.

But most powerful of all influences that made the Jameses rebel against
the narrowness of Broadway and the provincial spareness of the old New
York, which must have been something like a neat virgin Bloomsbury, was
their father. The Reverend Henry James was wasted on young America; it
had developed neither the creative stream that would have inspired him
nor the intellectual follies that he could slay with that beautiful wit
which made him one of the great letter-writers of the world. "Carlyle is
the same old sausage, fizzing and sputtering in his own grease, only
infinitely _more_ unreconciled to the blest Providence which guides
human affairs. He names God frequently and alludes to the highest things
as if they were realities, but all only as for a picturesque effect, so
completely does he seem to regard them as habitually circumvented and
set at naught by the politicians." The man who could write that should
have been a strong and salutary influence on English culture, and he
knew it. It is probable that when he and his wife paid what Mr James
tells us was their "first (that is our mother's first) visit to Europe,
which had quite immediately followed my birth, which appears to have
lasted some year and a half"--the last clause of this sentence is
unfortunate for a novelist famous for his deliberation--he brought his
babies with him with a solemnity of intention, as if to dip them in a
holy well. Thus it was that the little Jameses not only bore themselves
proudly through their childhood as became those who had lived as babies
in Piccadilly, and read _Punch_ with a proprietary instinct, but were
also possessed in spirit by something that was more than the discontent
with the flatness of daily life and the desire for a brighter scene that
comes to the ordinary child. From their father's preoccupation they
gained a rationalised consciousness that America was an incomplete
environment, that in Europe there were many mines of treasure which they
must find and rifle if they hoped for the health of their minds and the
salvation of their souls.

In 1855, when Henry James was twelve, the family yielded to its passion
and crossed the Atlantic. The following four years were of immense
importance to Mr James, and consequently to ourselves, for he had been
born with a mind that received impressions as if they had been embraces
and remembered them with as fierce a leaping of the blood; just as his
brother William's mind acquired and created systems of thought as
joyously as other men like meeting friends and establishing a family. He
found London in the main jolly, rather ugly, but comfortable and full of
character, just as he had seen it in _Punch_, but here and there
detected--notably on a drive from London Bridge--black outcrops of
Hogarth's London. "It was a soft June evening, with a lingering light
and swarming crowds, as they then seemed to me, of figures reminding me
of George Cruikshank's Artful Dodger and his Bill Sykes and his Nancy,
only with the bigger brutality of life, which pressed upon the cab, the
Early Victorian four-wheeler, as we jogged over the Bridge, and cropped
up in more and more gas-lit patches for all our course, culminating,
somewhere far to the west, in the vivid picture, framed by the cab
window, of a woman reeling backward as a man felled her to the ground
with a blow in the face." He knew Paris, then being formed by the free
flourish of Baron Haussmann into its present splendours of wide
regularity, yet still homely with remnants of the dusty ruralism of its
pre-Napoleonic state; he saw all the pretty show of the Second Empire,
he stood in the Champs-Elysées and watched the baby Prince Imperial roll
by to St. Cloud with his escort of blue and silver _cent-gardes_; and
the Galerie d'Apollon in the Louvre, its floors gleaming with polished
wood, its walls glowing with masterpieces, and its proportions awesomely
interminable and soaring, was the scene of his young imaginative life.
Those were the great places; but there were also Geneva and Boulogne and
Zurich and Bonn, the differences of which he savoured, and above all the
richness of desultory contact with arts and persons of the various
countries. He gaped at the exquisiteness of ugly Rose Chéri at the
Gymnase, copied Delacroix, read _Evan Harrington_ as it came out in
_Once a Week_; was at school with a straight-nosed boy called Henry
Houssaye and a snub-nosed boy called Coquelin; was tutored by Robert
Thompson, the famous Edinburgh teacher who was afterwards to instruct
Robert Louis Stevenson and many other eminent Scots in Jacobite
sympathies as well as the more usual subjects, and by M. Lerambert whose
verse had been praised by Sainte-Beuve in his _Causeries_.
"Impressions," writes Mr James of this period, "were not merely all
right but were the dearest things in the world."

And one must remember that not only were impressions much to young Henry
James, they were all he had. His mental life consisted of nothing else.
His natural inaptitude for acquiring systematised knowledge was probably
intensified by the study of foreign languages entailed by this travel;
for if a child spends its time learning several systems of naming things
it plainly has less energy to spare for learning systems of arranging
things. At any rate his inability to grasp the elements of arithmetic
and mathematics led to his removal from the Polytechnic School at
Zurich, and was the cause of despair in all his tutors. But most minds,
however incapable they may be of following the exact sciences or
speculative thought, have some sort of idea of the system of the
universe inserted into them by early instruction in one or other of the
religious faiths. This unifying influence was refused to Henry James by
the circumstance that his father had found certain religious doubts
that had almost driven him from the ministry solved in the works of
Swedenborg, which he found not at all incredible but--as he once said in
a phrase that showed him his son's own father--fairly "insipid with
veracity." On this foundation of Swedenborgianism he had built up for
himself a religion which was "nothing if not a philosophy,
extraordinarily complex and worked out and original, intensely personal
as an exposition, yet not only susceptible of application, but clamorous
for it, to the whole field of consciousness, nature and society,
history, knowledge, all human relations and questions, every pulse of
the process of our destiny." This was no playground for the young
intelligence, so young Henry James was told to prepare himself by
drinking from such springs as seemed to him refreshing. When he was
asked to what church he went he was bidden by his father to reply that
"we could plead nothing less than the whole privilege of Christendom,
and that there was no communion, even that of the Catholics, even that
of the Jews, even that of the Swedenborgians, from which we need find
ourselves excluded." He certainly liked to exercise this privilege, but
he admits that "my grounds may have been but the love of the
_exhibition_ in general, thanks to which figures, faces, furniture,
sounds, smells and colours became for me, wherever enjoyed, and enjoyed
most where most collected, a positive little orgy of the senses and riot
of the mind." Which was to be expected; as also was the fact that he
never broke his childish habit of regarding his father's religion as a
closed temple standing in the centre of his family life, the general
holiness of which he took for granted so thoroughly that it never
occurred to him to investigate its particulars.

This European visit came to an end in 1859, and William and Henry James
spent the next year or so at Newport studying art under the direction of
their friend John La Farge, with the result that William painted
extremely well in the style of Manet, and Henry showed as little ability
in this direction as he had shown in any other. In 1861 the Civil War
broke out; and had it not been for an accident the whole character of
Mr James' genius would have been altered. If he had seen America by the
light of bursting shells and flaming forest he might never have taken
his eyes off her again, he might have watched her fascinated through all
the changes of tone and organisation which began at the close of the
war, he might have been the Great American Novelist in subject as well
as origin. But it happened, in that soft spring when he and every other
young man of the North realised that there was a crisis at hand in which
their honour was concerned and they must answer Lincoln's appeal for
recruits, that he was one day called to help in putting out a fire. In
working the fire-engine he sustained an injury so serious that he could
never hope to share the Northern glory, that there were before him years
of continuous pain and weakness, that ultimately he formed a curious and
on the whole mischievous conception of himself. For his humiliating
position as a delicate and unpromising student at Harvard Law School
while his younger brothers, Wilky and Robertson, were officers in the
Northern Army and William was pursuing a brilliant academic career or
naturalising with Agassiz in South America, seemed a confirmation of his
tutors' opinion that he was an inarticulate mediocrity who would never
be able to take a hand in the business of life. And so he worked out a
scheme of existence, which he accepted finally in an hour of glowing
resignation when he was returning by steamer to Newport from a visit to
a camp of wounded soldiers at Portsmouth Grove, in which the one who
stood aside and felt rather than acted acquired thereby a mystic value,
a spiritual supremacy, which--but this was perhaps a later development
of the theory--would be rubbed off by participation in action.

It was, therefore, with defiant industry, with the intention of proving
that such as he was he had his peculiar worth, that he set to work to
become a writer. His first story was published in _The Atlantic Monthly_
when he was twenty-one, and it was followed by a number of stories,
travel sketches, and critical essays, some of which have been
reprinted, and a few farces which have not. He also went through a
necessary preface of the literary life by reading the proofs of George
Eliot's novels before they appeared in the _Atlantic_ and reviewing; the
profession of literature differs from that of the stage in that the
stars begin instead of ending as dressers. In 1869 he went to Europe
and, gaining certain impressions that had been inaccessible to him as a
child, finally fixed the dye in which his talent was to be immersed for
the rest of his life. He stepped for the first time into "a private park
of great oaks ... where I knew my first sense of a matter afterwards,
through fortunate years, to be more fully disclosed: the springtime in
such places, the adored footpath, the first primroses, the stir and
scent of renascence in the watered sunshine and under spreading boughs
that were somehow before aught else the still reach of the remembered
lines of Tennyson...." He was admitted to the homes of Ruskin, Rossetti,
Morris, Darwin, and George Eliot, and allowed to see the wheels go
round. But the real significance of this journey to Mr James' genius is
the part it played in the last days of his beautiful cousin, Mary
Temple. She should have had before her a long career of nobility, for
"she was absolutely afraid of nothing she might come to by living with
enough sincerity and enough wonder." She pretended not to know that she
had been cheated out of this, but as she lay on the death-bed that she
would not admit to be even a sick-bed, her eyes were fixed intensely on
the progress of her cousin through all the experiences that should have
been hers. There came a day when all illusion failed, and she died
dreadfully, clinging to consciousness. Her death was felt by Henry and
William James as the end of their youth.

       *       *       *       *       *

That, as Mr James would have said, is the _donnée_. The must was trodden
out, it had only to ferment, to be bottled, to be mellowed by time into
the perfect wine. There is nothing in all the innumerable volumes that
Mr James was to pour out in the next forty-five years of which the
intimation is not present in these first adventures.



II

THE INTERNATIONAL SITUATION


It is no use turning up those first stories that appeared in _The
Atlantic Monthly_ and _The Galaxy_ unless one has formed an affection
for the literary personality of Mr James. The image they provoke of the
literary prentice bending over his task with the tip of his tongue
reflectively protruding like a small boy drawing on his slate, is
amusing enough; but they themselves are such pale dreams as might visit
a New England spinster looking out from her snuff-coloured parlour on a
grey drizzling day. Where there is any richness of effect, as in _The
Romance of Certain Old Clothes_, it comes from the influence of
Nathaniel Hawthorne. That story, which tells how a girl loved her
sister's husband, waited eagerly for her death that she might marry him,
and later wheedled from him the key of the chest in which the dead wife
had left her finery to await her baby daughter's maturity, is
seven-eighths prelude, and the catastrophe, which is the finding of the
girl kneeling dead beside the chest with the mark of phantom fingers on
her throat, comes with too short and small a report. But in spite of its
pitiful construction it is the only one of the dozen stories which Mr
James published before his visit to Europe in 1869 that shows any of the
imaginative exuberance which one accepts as an earnest of coming genius.

Hawthorne was not altogether a happy influence--it is due to him that Mr
James' characters have "almost wailed" their way from _The Passionate
Pilgrim_ to _The Golden Bowl_--but he certainly shepherded Mr James into
the European environment and lent him a framework on which to drape his
emotions until he had discovered his own power to build up an
imaginative structure. The plot of _The Passionate Pilgrim_, with its
American who comes to England to claim a cousin's estate, falls in love
with the usurper's sister, is driven from the door, and dies just after
the usurper's death has delivered to him all he wants, is very clumsy
Hawthorne, but in those days Mr James could not draw normal events and
he had to have some medium for expressing his wealth of feeling about
England. It is amazing to see how rich that wealth already was, how much
deeper than mere pleasure in travel was his delight in the parks and
private grandeurs of England; and how, too, a fundamental fallacy was
already perverting it to an almost Calvinist distrust of the activities
of the present.

     "I entered upon life a perfect gentleman," says the American as he
     sits in Hampton Court. "I had the love of old forms and pleasant
     rites, and I found them nowhere--found a world all hard lines and
     harsh lights, without lines, without composition, as they say of
     pictures, without the lovely mystery of colour.... Sitting here, in
     this old park, in this old country, I feel that I hover on the
     misty verge of what might have been! I should have been born here,
     not there; here my makeshift distinctions would have found things
     they'd have been true of.... This is a world I could have got on
     with beautifully."

There you have the first statement of the persistent illusion, to which
he was helped by his odd lack of the historic sense and which confused
his estimate of modern life, that the past would have been a happier
home for those who like himself loved fastidious living. He had a
tremendous sense of the thing that is and none at all of the thing that
has been, and thus he was always being misled by such lovely shells of
the past as Hampton Court into the belief that the past which inhabited
them was as lovely. The calm of Canterbury Close appeared to him as a
remnant of a time when all England, bowed before the Church, was as
calm; whereas the calm is really a modern condition brought about when
the Church ceased to have anything to do with England. He never
perceived that life is always a little painful at the moment, not only
at this moment but at all moments; that the wine of experience always
makes a raw draught when it has just been trodden out from bruised
grapes by the pitiless feet of men, that it must be subject to time
before it acquires suavity. The lack of this perception matters little
in his early work but it is vastly important in shaping his later
phases.

There are no such personal revelations in _The Madonna of the Future_,
nor anything, indeed, at all characteristic of Mr James. There is beauty
in the tale of the American painter who dreams over a model for twenty
years, while he and she grow old, and leaves at his death nothing more
to show for his dreams than a cracked blank canvas; and the Florentine
background is worked on diligently and affectionately. But it is
admirable in quite an uncharacteristic way, like a figure picture
painted with the utmost brilliance of technique and from perfect models
by a painter whose real passion was for landscape. Yet it was only a
year later, in _Madame de Mauves_, that Mr James found himself, both his
manner and the core of the matter which was to occupy him for the
happiest part of his literary life. Euphemia de Mauves, the prim young
American who moves languidly through the turfy avenues of the French
forest, her faith in decency of living perpetually outraged by her
husband's infidelities and his odd demand that she should make him a
cuckold so that at least he should not have the discomfort of looking up
at her, is the first of the many exquisite women whom Mr James brought
into being by his capacity to imagine characters solidly and completely,
his perception of the subtle tones of life, and his extreme verbal
delicacy. And she is given a still greater importance by the queer twist
at the end of the story by which M. de Mauves blows his brains out for
no reason at all but that he is hopelessly, helplessly, romantically in
love with this cold wife who will be so unreasonable about trifles. Mr
James writes her story not only as though he stood upon the Atlantic
shores looking eastward at the plight of a compatriot domiciled with
lewd men and light women, but also as though he sat in the company of
certain gracious men and women of the world who could not get under way
with their accomplishment of charm because the grim alien in the corner
will keep prodding them with a disapproval as out of place in this salon
as a deal plank. Madame de Mauves, in fine, is the first figure invented
by Mr James to throw light upon what he called "the international
situation."

It took all Mr James' cosmopolitan training to see that there existed an
international situation, that the fact that Americans visited Europe
constituted a drama. An Englishman who visited Italy did no more than
take a look at a more richly coloured order of life that braced him up,
as any gay spectacle might have done, to return to his own; his travel
was a pleasure, or, at most, if he happened to be a Landor or a
Browning, an inspiration. It might reasonably be supposed that the visit
to Europe of an American was no greater matter. But Mr James knew that
the wealthy American was in the position of a man who has built a
comfortable house and has plenty of money over, yet cannot furnish it
because furniture is neither made nor sold in his country; until he has
crossed the sea to the land where they do make furniture he must sleep
and eat on the floor.

     "One might enumerate," he writes in those early days, "the items of
     high civilisation as it exists in other countries, which are absent
     from the texture of American life, until it should become a wonder
     what was left. No State, in the European sense of the word, and
     indeed barely a specific national name. No sovereign, no court, no
     personal loyalty, no aristocracy...."

There follows a long list, so long as to provoke the "natural remark ...
that if these things are left out everything is left out." And, Mr James
goes on to complain, "it takes so many things--such an accumulation of
history and custom, such a complexity of manners and types, to form a
fund of suggestion for a novelist." He wrote novelist because at the
moment he was criticising Hawthorne, but he would certainly have applied
his phrase to anyone who desired his life to be not a corduroy track
but a marble terrace with palaces on the one hand and fair gardens on
the other.

Since the pilgrimage for these items of high civilisation appeared to
Europeans--as innumerable contemporary allusions show it did--as mere
globe-trottings, the pilgrims themselves were likely to be as
misunderstood. For one thing, although they were unorganised so far as
culture went, they formed at home a very cohesive moral community. The
American women who came to Europe took for granted that however people
might be habited--people, that is, whose manners showed them "nice"--and
in whatever frivolous array they might be flounced and ribboned, they
were certain to wear next their skin the hair-shirt of Puritan
rectitude. The innocent freedoms which they permitted themselves because
they held this supposition, and the terrifying surmises to which these
gave rise in the mind of the Old World, unaware of the innocence of the
New, made much material for drama. And more dramatic still was the
moment, which came to so many of the travellers who formed close
personal relationships with Europeans, when they realised that the moral
standards to which they had nationally pledged themselves, and which
they individually obeyed with extraordinary fidelity, were here regarded
as simply dowdy. "Compromise!" was the cry of Latin and even English
society. "Compromise on every and any of the Commandments you like! Do
anything you can, in fact, to rub down those rude angles you present to
human intercourse!" And yet it was not to be deduced that Europe was
lax. One had only to look behind the superficial show to see that it had
its own religion, perhaps a more terrible religion than any New England
ever knew, and that what seemed its laziest pleasures were sometimes its
most dreadful rites.

This last conception of Europe is the subject of _Roderick Hudson_
(1875). _Roderick Hudson_ is not a good book. It throws a light upon the
lack of attention given at that period to the art of writing that within
a few years of each other two men of great genius--Thomas Hardy and
Henry James--wrote in their thirties first novels spoilt by technical
blemishes of a sort that the most giftless modern miss with a
subscription to Mudie's would never commit in her first literary
experiment. _Roderick Hudson_ is wooden, it is crammed with local colour
like a schoolmistress's bedroom full of photographs of Rome, it has a
plain boiled suet heroine called Mary. But its idea is magnificent. An
American of fortune takes Hudson, who has already shown talent as a
sculptor, from his stool in a lawyer's office in Northampton,
Massachusetts, and sets him up in a studio in Rome. It is the fear of
old Mrs Hudson and of Mary, his fiancée, that European life will be too
soft for him. But the very opposite occurs; it is he who is too soft for
European life. The business of art means not only lounging under the
pines of the Villa Ludovisi and chiselling the noble substance of
Carrara marble; it means also the painful toil of creation, which
demands from the artist an austerer renunciation of every grossness than
was ever expected of any law-abiding citizen of Northampton, which
sends a man naked and alone to awful moments which, if he be strong,
give him spiritual strength, but if he be weak heap on him the black
weakness of neurasthenia. And when that has turned him into a raw, hurt,
raging creature he is further snared by the loveliness of Christina
Light, who is characteristically European in that her circumstances have
not the same clear beauty as her face. She is being hawked over the
Continent to find a rich husband by her mother and a Cavaliere who is
really her father, and this ugly girlhood has so corrupted her vigorous
spirit that the young American's courtship provokes from her nothing but
eccentric favours or perverse insults. After the collapse of his art and
his love Roderick falls over a precipice in a too minutely described
Switzerland, hurled by a _dénouement_ which has inspired Mr James to one
of his broadest jokes. In the first edition Roderick, on hearing that,
while he has been vexing his benefactor with his moods, that gentleman
has been manfully repressing a passion for Mary, exclaims, "It's like
something in a novel!" which Mr James in the definitive edition has
altered to, "It's like something in a bad novel!"

This conception of Europe as a complex organism which would have no use,
or only a cruel use, for those bred by the simple organism of America,
animates _Four Meetings_ (1877), that exquisite short story which came
first of all of the many masterpieces that Mr James was to produce. It
is the tale of a little schoolmistress who, having long nourished a
passion for Europe upon such slender intimations as photographs of the
Castle of Chillon, at last collects a sum for the trip, is met at Havre
by a cousin, one of those Americans on whom Continental life has acted
as a solvent of all decent moral tissues, and is tricked out of her
money by his story of a runaway marriage with a Countess; returns to New
England hoping to "see something of this dear old Europe yet," and has
that hope ironically fulfilled by the descent upon her for life of the
said Countess, who is so distinctly "something of this dear old Europe"
that the very sight of her transports the travelled recounter of the
story to "some dusky landing before a shabby Parisian _quatrième_--to an
open door revealing a greasy ante-chamber, and to Madame, leaning over
the banisters, while she holds a faded dressing-gown together and bawls
down to the portress to bring up her coffee." It is one of the saddest
stories in the world, and one of the cleverest. There is not one of its
simple phrases but has its beautiful bearing on the subject, and in the
treatment of emotional values one sees that the essays on _French Poets
and Novelists_ (1878), which for some years he had been sending to
America with the excited air of a missionary, were the notes of an
attentive pupil. "Detachment" was the lesson that that period preached
in its reaction against the George Sand method, whereby the author
rolled through his pages locked in an embrace with his subject. We have
forgotten its real significance, so frequently has it been used as an
excuse for the treatment of emotional situations with encyclopædic
detail of circumstance and not a grain of emotional realisation, but
here we can recover it. The author's pity for the schoolmistress is
never allowed to make his Countess sinister instead of gross, and his
sense of the comic in the Countess is never allowed to make the
schoolmistress's woe more dreary; the situation stands as solid and has
as many aspects as it would have in life.

_The American_ (1877) still holds this view of Europe. Its theme, to
quote Mr James in the preface of the definitive edition, is "the
situation, in another country and an aristocratic society, of some
robust but insidiously beguiled and betrayed, some cruelly wronged
compatriot; the point being in especial that he should suffer at the
hands of persons pretending to represent the highest possible
civilisation and to be of an order far superior to his own." Christopher
Newman, the robust compatriot, is such a large, simple, lovable person
that the rest of the story leads one to suspect that one may say of Mr
James, as he said of Balzac, that "his figures, as a general thing, are
better than the use he makes of them." He walks through Europe examining
its culture with such an effect on the natives as an amiable buffalo
traversing the Galerie d'Apollon might produce upon the copyists of the
Louvre, and finally presents himself at the house where he is least
welcome in the world, the home of the de Bellegardes, a proud and
ancient Royalist family. Thereafter, the novel is an exposition of the
way things do not happen. Claire de Cintré, the widowed daughter whom
Newman desires to marry, is represented as having above all things
beauty of character; but when her family snatches her from him in a
frenzy of pride she allows herself to be bundled into a convent with a
weakness that would convict of imbecility any woman of twenty-eight. And
since her mother and brother had murdered her father by refusing him
medicine at a physical crisis, and sustained themselves in the act by
the reflection that after all they were only keeping up the good old
family tone, one wonders where she got this beauty of character. The
child of this damned house might have flamed with a strange fire, but
she could not have diffused a rectory lamp-light. But the series of
inconsistencies of which this is only one leads, like a jolting
motor-bus that puts one down at Hampton Court, to an exquisite
situation. Newman discovers the secret of the Marquis' murder and
intends to publish it as a punishment for the cruel wrong the de
Bellegardes have done him, but sacrifices this satisfaction simply
because there can be no link--not even the link of revenge--between such
as they and such as he. In all literature there is no passage so full of
the very passion of moral exaltation as the description of how Newman
stands before the Carmelite house in the Rue d'Enfer and looks up at the
blank, discoloured wall, behind which his lost lady is immured, then
walks back to Notre Dame and there, "the far-away bells chiming off into
space, at long intervals, the big bronze syllables of the Word," decides
that such things as revenge "were really not his game." So it is with
Mr James to the end. The foreground is as often as not red with the
blood of slaughtered probabilities; a gentleman at a dinner-party tells
the lady on his left (a perfect stranger who never appears again in the
story) that some years ago he proposed to the lady in white sitting
opposite to them; a curio dealer calls on a lady in Portland Place just
to wind up the plot. But the great glow at the back, the emotional
conflagration, is always right.

_The Europeans_ (1878) marks the first time when Mr James took the
international situation as a joke, and he could joke very happily in
those days when his sentence was a straight young thing that could run
where it liked, instead of a delicate creature swathed in relative
clauses as an invalid in shawls. There is no other book by Mr James
which has quite the clear, sunlit charm of this description of the visit
of Eugenia, the morganatically married Baroness, and her brother Felix,
the Bohemian painter, to their cousins' New England farm. There is
nothing at all to their discredit in the past of these two graceful
young people, but they resemble Harlequin and Columbine in the
instability of their existence and the sharp line they draw between
their privacy and their publicity. It appears to them natural that the
private life should be spent largely in wondering how the last public
appearance went off and planning effects for the next, a point of view
which arouses the worst suspicions in their cousins, who are accustomed
to live as though the sky were indeed a broad open eye. So Felix has the
greatest difficulty in persuading his uncle, who takes thirty-two bites
to a moral decision, just as Mr Gladstone took thirty-two bites to a
mouthful, that he is a suitable husband for his cousin Gertrude; and
poor Eugenia fails altogether in an environment where a lie from her
lips is not treated as _un petit péché d'une petite femme_, but remains
simply a lie. The frame of mind this state of affairs produces in the
poor lady is exquisitely described in a passage which shows her going
wistfully through the house of the man who did not propose to her
because he detected her lie, after a visit to his dying mother.

     "Mrs Acton had told Eugenia that her waiting-woman would be in the
     hall to show her downstairs; but the large landing outside her door
     was empty, and Eugenia stood there looking about.... She passed
     slowly downstairs, still looking about. The broad staircase made a
     great bend, and in the angle was a high window, looking westward,
     with a deep bench, covered with a row of flowering plants in
     curious old pots of blue China-ware. The yellow afternoon light
     came in through the flowers and flickered a little on the white
     wainscots. Eugenia paused a moment; the house was perfectly still,
     save for the ticking, somewhere, of a great clock. The lower hall
     stretched away at the foot of the stairs, half covered over with a
     large Oriental rug. Eugenia lingered a little, noticing a great
     many things. '_Comme c'est bien!_' she said to herself; such a
     large, solid, irreproachable basis of existence the place seemed to
     her to indicate. And then she reflected that Mrs Acton was soon to
     withdraw from it. The reflection accompanied her the rest of the
     way downstairs, where she paused again, making more observations.
     The hall was extremely broad, and on either side of the front door
     was a wide, deeply-set window, which threw the shadows of
     everything back into the house. There were high-backed chairs along
     the wall and big Eastern vases upon tables, and, on either side, a
     large cabinet with a glass front and little curiosities within,
     dimly gleaming. The doors were open--into the darkened parlour, the
     library, the dining-room. All these rooms seemed empty. Eugenia
     passed along and stopped a moment on the threshold of each. '_Comme
     c'est bien!_' she murmured again; she had thought of just such a
     house as this when she decided to come to America. She opened the
     front door for herself--her light tread had summoned none of the
     servants--and on the threshold she gave a last look...."

That is the pure note of the early James, like a pipe played carefully
by a boy. It sounds as beautifully in _Daisy Miller_, that short novel
which, though it deals with conditions peculiar to a small section of
continental life forty years ago, will strike each new generation afresh
as sad and lovely. Daisy, who is like one of those girls who smile upon
us from the covers of American magazines, glaringly beautiful and
healthy but without the "tone" given by diligent study of the grace of
conduct, comes to Europe and plays in its sunshine like a happy child.
She wants to go to the Castle of Chillon, so she accepts the escort for
the afternoon of a young American who is staying at the same hotel; she
likes to walk in the Pincian, so she takes a stroll there one afternoon
with a certain liquid-eyed Roman. The woman who does a thing for the
sake of the thing in itself is always suspected by society, and the
American colony, which professes the mellow conventions of Europe with
all its own national crudity, accuses her of vulgarity and even
lightness. They talk so bitterly that when the young American, who is
half in love with Daisy, finds her viewing the Colosseum by moonlight
with the Roman, he leaps to the conclusion that she is a disreputable
woman. Why he does so is not quite clear, since surely it is the
essential thing about a disreputable woman that her evenings are not
free for visits to the Colosseum. Poor Daisy takes in part of his
meaning and, saying in a little strange voice, "I don't care whether I
get Roman fever or not!" goes back to her hotel and dies of malaria. And
the young American, "staring at the raw protuberance among the April
daisies" in the Protestant cemetery, learns from the Roman's lips that
Daisy was "most innocent."

It is a lyric whose beauty may be measured by the attention which, in
spite of its tragedy, it everywhere provoked. It was interesting to note
how often in the obituary notices of Mr James it was said that he had
never attained popularity, for it shows how soon London forgets its
gifts of fame. From 1875 to 1885 (to put it roughly) all England and
America were as captivated by the clear beauty of Mr James' work as in
the nineties they were hypnotised by the bright-coloured beauty of Mr
Kipling's art. On London staircases everyone turned to look at the
American with the long, silky, black beard which, I am told by one who
met him then, gave him the appearance of "an Elizabethan sea captain."
But for all the exquisiteness of _Daisy Miller_ there were discernible
in it certain black lines which, like the dark veining in a crocus that
foretells its decay, showed that this was a loveliness which was in the
very act of passing. The young American might have been so worked upon
by his friends that he could readily believe his Daisy a light woman,
but he need not have manifested his acceptance of this belief by being
grossly rude to her and by reflecting that if "after Daisy's return
there had been an exchange of jokes between the porter and the
cab-driver ... it had ceased to be a matter of serious regret to him
that the little American flirt should be 'talked about' by low-minded
menials." When one remembers the grave courtesy with which Christopher
Newman treated Mlle Noémie Nioche, the little French drab who called
herself _un esprit libre_, it is plain that we are no longer dealing
with the same Mr James. The Mr James we are to deal with henceforth had
ceased to be an American and had lost his native reactions to emotional
stimuli. He was becoming a European and for several years to come was to
spend his time slowly mastering its conventions; which means that he was
learning a new emotional language.

The first works he produced when he was at once a finished writer and
only the cocoon of a European, present the paradoxical appearance of
being perfect in phrase and incredibly naive in their estimates of
persons and situations. _The Pension Beaurepas_ (1879), that melancholy
tale of the ailing old American whose wife and daughter have dragged him
off on an expensive trip to Europe, while ruin falls on his untended
business in New York, has its tone of pathos spoiled by extraordinarily
cold-blooded and, to women of to-day, extremely unsavoury discussions of
how a girl ought to behave if she wants to be married. _The Siege of
London_ (1883), which is the story of a Texan adventuress of many
divorces who marries into an English county family, fails to produce the
designed effect of outrage, because the adventuress is the only person
who shows any signs of human worth, and the life which she is supposed
to have violated by her marriage is suggested simply by statements that
the people concerned had titles and lived in large houses. In _Pandora_
(1884), which describes a German diplomat's amazement that an unmarried
girl can be a social success in America, we feel as bored as we would if
we were forced to listen to the exclamations of a dog-fancier on finding
that a Pekingese with regular features had got a prize at a dog show. In
_Lady Barbarina_ (1884), which tells how a peer's daughter who marries
an American millionaire refuses to live in America, the American picture
is painted with the flatness of a flagging interest, and we suspect Mr
James of taking English architecture as an index of English character;
he had still to grasp the paradox that the people who live in the
solidities of Grosvenor Square are the best colonising and seafaring
stock in the world. In _The Reverberator_ (1888), wherein an American
girl guilelessly prattles to a newspaper correspondent about the affairs
of her French fiancé's family and is cast out by them when he publishes
her prattlings in the States, we seem to see the international situation
slowly fading from Mr James' immediate consciousness. In turning over
its pages we see the author sitting down before a pile of white paper
and finely inscribing it with memories of past contacts with Americans;
we do not see him entering his study with traces still on his lips of a
smile provoked in the street outside by the loveliness and innocent
barbarism of his compatriots. In those days he had lost America and had
not yet found Europe, but he was to find it very soon. In _A London
Life_ (1889), the tale of an innocent American girl who comes over to
live with her sister and her aristocratic English husband, and stands
appalled at their debts, their debaucheries, their infidelities, he has
rendered beautifully the feeling caused by ill lives when led in old
homes of elmy parks and honourable histories. It is a sense of disgust
such as comes to the early-rising guest who goes into a drawing-room in
the morning and finds last night's coffee-cups and decanters and
cigarette ends looking dreadful in the sunlight. The house is being
badly managed; it will go to rack and ruin. That is an aspect of
England; but the American onlooker is just a clean-minded little thing
that might have bloomed anywhere, and all references to her Americanness
are dragged in with an effort. It is plain that he had lost all his love
for the international situation.

That Mr James continued to write about Americans in Europe long after
their common motive and their individual adventures had ceased to excite
his wonder or his sympathy, was the manifestation of a certain delusion
about his art which was ultimately to do him a mischief. He believed
that if one _knew_ a subject one could write about it; and since there
was no aspect of the international situation with which he was not
familiar, he could not see why the description of these aspects should
not easily make art. The profound truth that an artist should feel
passion for his subject was naturally distasteful to one who wanted to
live wholly without violence even of the emotions; a preference for
passionless detachment was at that date the mode in French literature,
which was the only literature that he studied with any attention. The de
Goncourts, Zola, and even de Maupassant thought that an artist ought to
be able to lift any subject into art by his treatment, just as an
advertising agent ought to be able to "float" any article into
popularity by his posters. But human experience, which includes a
realisation of the deadness of most of the de Goncourts' and Zola's
productions, proves the contrary. Unless a subject is congenial to the
character of the artist the subconscious self will not wake up and
reward the busy conscious mind by distributions of its hoarded riches in
the form of the right word, the magic phrase, the clarifying incident.
Why are books about ideas so commonly bad, since the genius of M.
Anatole France and Mr Wells have proved that they need not be so, if it
be not that the majority of people reserve passion for their personal
relationships and therefore never "feel" an idea with the sensitive
finger-tips of affection?

The absence of this necessary attitude to his subject explains in part
the tenuity of Mr James' later novels on the international situation;
but there is also another element that irritates present-day readers and
makes the texture of the life represented seem poor. That element, which
is not peculiar to Mr James, but is a part of the social atmosphere of
his time, is the persistent presentation of woman not as a human, but as
a sexual being. One can learn nothing of the heroine's beliefs and
character for the hullabaloo that has been set up because she has come
in too late or gone out too early or omitted to provide herself with
that figure of questionable use--for the dove-like manners of the young
men forbid the thought that she was there to protect the girl from
assault, and the mild tongues of the young ladies make it unlikely that
the duel of the sexes was then so bitter that they required an
umpire--the chaperon. It appears that the young woman of that period
could get through the world only by perpetually jumping through hoops
held up to her by society, a method of progression which was more suited
to circus girls than to persons of dignity, and which sometimes caused
nasty falls. There is nothing more humiliating to women in all fiction
than the end of _A London Life_, where the heroine, appalled at having
been left in an opera box alone with a young man, turns to him and begs
him, although she knows well that he does not love her, to marry her and
save her good name. Purity and innocence are excellent things, but a
world in which they have to be guarded by such cramping contrivances of
conduct is as ridiculous as a heaven where the saints all go about with
their haloes protected by mackintosh covers.



III

TRANSITION


_Washington Square_ (1881), Mr James' first important work that does not
deal with the international situation, is a work of great genius. Into
the small mould of the story of how a plain and stupid girl was jilted
by a fortune-hunter when he discovered that she would be disinherited by
her contemptuous father on her marriage, Mr James concentrated all the
sense which he had absorbed throughout his childhood of the simple,
provincial life which went on behind the brown stone of old New York. It
has in it a wealth of feeling that does not seem to have originated with
Mr James, just as an old wives' tale told over and over again by the
fireside becomes charged with a synthetic emotion derived from the
comments and expressions of innumerable auditors; and one may surmise
that Catherine's tragedy was first presented to him as an item of local
gossip, sympathetically discussed by his charming New York cousins and
friends. Certainly the tale of this dull girl, who was "twenty years old
before she treated herself, for evening wear, to a red satin gown
trimmed with gold fringe," and progressed by such clumsinesses through a
career of which the only remarkable facts were that "Morris Townsend had
trifled with her affection, and that her father had broken its spring,"
is consecrated by an element of pity which was afterwards signally to
disappear from Mr James' work.

The book so beautifully expresses the woe of all those people to whom
nothing ever happens, who are aware of the gay challenge of life but are
prevented by something leaden in their substance from responding, that
one is not surprised to find that like most good stories about
inarticulate people--like _Une Vie_ and _Un Coeur Simple_--it is
written with the most deliberate cunning. The story is evoked according
to Turgeniev's method of calling his novels out of the inchoate real
world; and what that is had better, since Mr James had been using it
with increasing power since _Roderick Hudson_, be stated in his own
words.

     "I have always fondly remembered a remark that I heard fall years
     ago from the lips of Ivan Turgeniev in regard to his own experience
     of the usual origin of the fictive picture. It began for him almost
     always with the vision of some person or persons, who hovered
     before him, soliciting him, as the active or passive figure,
     interesting him and appealing to him just as they were and by what
     they were. He saw them, in that fashion, as _disponibles_, saw them
     subject to the chances, the complications of existence, and saw
     them vividly, but then had to find for them the right relations,
     those that would most bring them out; to imagine, to invent and
     select and piece together the situations most useful and favourable
     to the sense of the creatures themselves, the complications they
     would be most likely to produce and to feel.

     "'To arrive at these things is to arrive at my "story,"' he said,
     'and that's the way I look for it. The result is that I'm often
     accused of not having "story" enough. I seem to myself to have as
     much as I need--to show my people, to exhibit their relations with
     each other; for that is all my measure. If I watch them long enough
     I see them come together, I see them _placed_, I see them engaged
     in this or that act and in this or that difficulty. How they look
     and move and speak and behave, always in the setting I have found
     for them, is my account of them--of which I dare say, alas, _que
     cela manque souvent d'architecture_....'"

And as regards the statement in prose of the conception thus formed it
is plain that, although Mr James had formed his irrational dislike of
Flaubert many years before, it was that great master who had taught him
his art of rubbing down the too brilliant phrase to tone with the quiet
harmony of the whole, of obliterating the exotic effect that would
compromise the lorn simplicity of the subject. This masterly use of
technical resource to unfold an idea whose beauty would to a lesser
artist have seemed hopelessly sheathed in obscurity, makes _Washington
Square_ the perfect termination to Mr James' first period of genius.

It was unfortunately quite definitely a termination; for until ten years
had passed Mr James was doomed to produce no work which was not to have
the solidity of its characters and the beauty of its prose rendered
slightly ridiculous by its lack of purpose and unity. In those days,
when the international theme was slipping from Mr James' grasp and he
was looking round for another, one could no more expect him to produce
work completely and serenely formed by the imagination than one could
ask an author to continue his industry on a journey from Paris to
Madrid, with the jolting of the train destroying his physical calm and
the new land crying for his attention at the carriage window. For Mr
James was literally travelling all through the eighties; he was touring
either the countries of Europe with his body or the art of Europe with
his mind. It was his intention to find that intellectual basis without
which, his blood and upbringing assured him, he would be unable to use
his genius with noble or permanent results.

How difficult this search was to be, and yet how ultimately fruitful,
can be judged from _A Little Tour in France_ (1884). That is one of the
happiest and sunniest travel books in all literature. _Coelum non
animum mutant qui trans mare currunt_; but Mr James did, and it is as
pleasant to see his intelligence sunning itself on the hot Latin soil,
fresh and cool as though he had not years of the creative struggle
behind him and years more to come, as it is to see a lizard crawl from
the crevice of a Provençal rock and play among the tufts of rosemary.
Yet whenever Mr James has to note some detail in his description of
French towns which refers to the life which has formed them, the
reader's fury mounts. It is horrible that his references to the
Franco-Prussian War should be faintly jocular, and one burns with shame
for them until one comes to an amazing sentence about the French
Revolution, in which it is plainly implied that the rightness and
necessity of that declaration of the principle of freedom are still
debatable questions. One perceives with relief that he said these things
because, as one guessed in _The Passionate Pilgrim_, his strong sight of
the thing that is was accompanied by blindness to the thing that has
been. He did not know whether the Franco-Prussian War was horrible or
not, because he had been out of Europe when it raged; and because he had
not been born at the time he could no more speak well of the French
Revolution than he could propose for his club a person whom he had never
met. And for the same reason he failed to envisage the Roman Empire save
as a source of agreeable ruins which, since he did not understand the
spirit that built them, he imagined might have been made still more
agreeable. Their vastness did not impress him as the merging-point of
the geological record and history, but stirred in him that benevolence
which is often aroused by clumsy largeness. He patted the Roman Theatre
at Arles as though it were Jumbo at the Zoo, and remarked, quite in the
manner of Horace Walpole, that the pavement of coloured marble "gives an
idea of the _elegance_ of the interior"; but the arena at Nîmes and that
vast, high, yellow aqueduct, whose three tiers appal the valley of the
Gardon, were too much for him, and he pronounced them "not at all
_exquisite_." The man who could write those phrases was incapable of
forming a philosophy, for no man can fully understand his kind unless he
have a revelation of old Rome and perceive in its works a record of the
pride men felt in serviceable labour for the State. And yet what, in
this particular case, did all that matter? What need was there for Mr
James to know anything but that ink makes black, expressive marks on
paper, when he could tell so exquisitely how the Château de Chenonceaux
sends out its white galleries across the clear water of the Cher, how
the crenellated ramparts of the Château d'Amboise look down over hanging
gardens to the far-shining Loire, and with what peculiar wonder
Carcassonne, Aigues-Mortes and all the other towns with lovely names,
glow in the clear bright light of France? It was enough that there was
no beauty on earth that could daunt his power of description.

The record of his mental wanderings is not quite so happy. Mr James has
an immense prestige as critic, but a certain sentence that occurred more
than once in his obituary notices made it doubtful whether this does not
merely mean that people have run their eyes over the titles of Mr James'
essays and have accepted the fact that he dealt with authors rarely read
by the British as a guarantee of their rareness of merit. That it should
be reverently remarked on that most solemn occasion that Flaubert was Mr
James' adored master, when he had written more than one exquisitely
feline essay to delicately convey what a fluke it was that this fellow
who panted under his phrase like a bricklayer under his hod should have
produced _Madame Bovary_, is just such an ironic happening as he would
have liked to be introduced into one of his humorous studies of the
literary life. Such intimations make one guess that the homage which
England loves to pay to the unread is responsible for half Mr James'
reputation as a critic; and probably he owed the other half to the
gratitude of his readers for a pleasure which is undoubtedly given by
his critical writings, but which nevertheless does not prove them great
criticism. It is true that _French Poets and Novelists_ are the best
reviews ever written, and that it is good to listen to the old author
gossiping in _Notes on Novelists_ (1914) about the authors he had known
long ago and to watch him tracing, with all his supreme genius for
detecting personality, the imprint of dead masters on the fading surface
of old work. But he is always entirely lacking in that necessary element
of great criticism, the capacity for universal reference. The eye that
judges a work of art should have surveyed the whole human field, so that
it can tell from what clay this precious thing was made, in what
craftsman's cot that trick of fashioning was learned, what natural
beauty suggested to the creative impulse this appropriate form, what
human institution helped or hindered its making. Of that general culture
Mr James was so deficient that he was capable of inserting in quite an
intelligent essay on Théophile Gautier this amazing sentence: "Even his
æsthetic principles are held with a good-humoured laxity that allows
him, for instance, to say in a hundred places the most delightfully
sympathetic and pictorial things about the romantic or Shakespearean
drama, and yet to describe a pedantically classical revival of the
_Antigone_ at Münich with the most ungrudging relish." And while this
ignorance was perpetually blinding him to the purpose of many fair
artistic structures his literary power was perpetually betraying him
into the graceful and forceful publication of his blindness. Long after
one has forgotten all the deliverances of critics with greater wisdom
but less craft of phrase, one remembers his extraordinary opinion that
Flaubert's _La Tentation de Saint Antoine_, that book which will appeal
in every generation to those who have been visited by the angel of
speculative thought, which is not only itself a beautiful growth but has
borne beautiful fruit in _Thaïs_, is merely "strange" and has no more
reference to life than the gimcrack Eastern Pavilion at an Exposition.
And he lacked, moreover, that necessary attribute of the good critic,
the power to bid bad authors to go to the devil. There are certain
Victorian works of art which, however much esteemed by the many, are no
more matter for criticism than a pair of elastic-sided boots; yet there
is a paper in _Essays in London_ (1893) in which Mr James talks of "the
numbers of sorts of distinction, the educated insight, the comprehensive
ardour of Mrs Humphry Ward...." It recalls that the art which he
privately cultivated was courtesy, but it suggests that his criticism
was bound to consist for the most part of just such pleasant footnotes
to the obvious as _Partial Portraits_ (1888) which, with the exception
of some interesting personal recollections of Turgeniev, tell us
nothing more startling than that de Maupassant wrote a hard prose and
that Daudet was a Provençal.

How greatly he needed the intellectual basis which he found in none of
these researches becomes increasingly plain in each novel that he
published during this period. _The Portrait of a Lady_ (1881) is given a
superficial unity by the beauty of its heroine; on the first reading one
cannot take one's eyes off the clear gaze that Isabel Archer levels at
life. As she moves forward to meet the world, holding her fortune in
hand without avarice yet very carefully, lest she should buy anything
gross with it, one thinks that there never was a heroine who deserved
better of life. "She spent half her time in thinking of beauty, and
bravery, and magnanimity; she had a fixed determination to regard the
world as a place of brightness, of free expansion, of irresistible
action; she thought it would be detestable to be afraid or ashamed. She
had an infinite hope that she would never do anything wrong." One is
glad to see that the girl has the most wonderful friend, a woman who is
at once the most flexible _femme du monde_ and the freshest and most
candid soul; and among the kindnesses this friend does her is her
introduction to a certain Tuscan villa that looks down on the valley of
the Arno, where on a mossy stone bench tangled with wild roses there
sits Gilbert Osmond, a gentleman of great dignity who has been too fine
to partake in the common struggle and so lives in honest poverty, with
his daughter Pansy, a little girl from whose character conventual
training has removed every attribute save whiteness and sweetness, so
that she lies under life like a fine cloth on a sunny bleaching-green.
Here, of all places in the world, she is least likely to meet the
jealousy and falseness and cruelty which were the only things she
feared, and so she marries Osmond in the happy faith that henceforth
nothing will be admitted to her life save nobility. But all her marriage
brings the girl is evidence of increasing painfulness that her friend
is a squalid adventuress who has preserved her appearance of freshness
as carefully as a strolling musician his fiddle, in order that she might
charm such honest fools as Isabel; that Osmond has withdrawn from the
world, not because he is too fine for it, but because he is a hating
creature, and hates the world as he now hates his wife; that Pansy is
the illegitimate child of these two, and her need of a dowry the chief
reason why Osmond has married Isabel. It is a tale which would draw
tears from a reviewer, and yet the conduct invented for Isabel is so
inconsistent and so suggestive of the nincompoop, and so clearly
proceeding from a brain whose ethical world was but a chaos, that it is
a mistake to subject the book to the white light of a second reading.
When we are told that Isabel married Osmond because "there had been
nothing very delicate in inheriting seventy thousand pounds, and she
hoped he might use her fortune in a way that might make her think better
of it and would rub off a certain grossness attaching to the good luck
of an unexpected inheritance," we feel that this is mere simpering; for
there could be nothing less delicate than to marry a person for any
reason but the consciousness of passion. And the grand climax of her
conduct, her return to Osmond after the full revelation of his guilt has
come to augment her anguish at his unkindness, proves her not the very
paragon of ladies but merely very ladylike. If their marriage was to be
a reality it was to be a degradation of the will whose integrity the
whole book is an invitation to admire; if it was to be a sham it was
still a larger concession to society than should have been made by an
honest woman. Yet for all the poor quality of the motives which furnish
Isabel's moral stuffing, _The Portrait of a Lady_ is entirely n
successful in giving one the sense of having met somebody far too
radiantly good for this world.

While that novel reminds one, in the way it "comes off," of a sum in
which the right answer is got by wrong working, _The Bostonians_ (1886)
reminds one of a foolish song set to a good tune in the way it fails to
"come off." The beauty of the writing is so great that there are
descriptions of the shabby petticoats of a pioneer, or the vestibule in
a mean block of flats, that one would like to learn by heart, so that
one might turn the phrases over in the mind when one wants to hear the
clinking of pure gold. And the theme, the aptness of young persons
possessed of that capacity for contagious enthusiasm which makes the
good propagandist to be exploited by the mercenary and to deteriorate
under the strain of public life, is specially interesting to our
generation. Few of us there are who have not seen with our own eyes
elderly egoists building up profitable autocracies out of the ardour of
young girls, or fierce advocates of the brotherhood of man mellowing
into contemplative emptiers of pint-pots. But, just as the most
intellectual conversation may be broken up by the continued squeal of a
loose chimney-cowl, so this musical disclosure of fine material is
interrupted past any reader's patience by a nagging hostility to
political effort. This is not so disgraceful to Mr James as it might
seem, for it is simply the survival of an affectation which was forced
upon the cultured American of his youth. The pioneers who wanted to
raise the small silvery song of art had to tempt their audiences somehow
from the big brass band of America's political movements; and so
straining was this task that even Emerson, who vibrated to the chord of
reform as to no other, was sometimes vexed into such foolish inquiries
as "Does he not do more to abolish slavery who works all day in his own
garden than he who goes to the abolition meetings and makes a speech?"
It was just one of the results of Mr James' condition at this period
that he presented to the world so deliberately and so vividly, and with
such an air of feeling, what was no more than the misty reflection of
some dead men's transitory irritations.

Politics play a very great part, and in the same sense, in _The
Princess Casamassima_ (1886), but it is the peculiar magic of that
strange book which is at once able and distraught, wild and meticulous,
that in it all perversities are somehow transmuted into loveliness. It
is one of the big jokes in literature that it was the writer who among
all his contemporaries held the most sophisticated view of his art, who
prided himself that on him there gleamed no drop of the dew of naïvetê,
that brought back to fiction the last delicious breath of the time when
even the best books ran on like this: "It happened that one dark and
stormy night in March I, Sebastian Melmoth, was traversing the plain of
La Mancha.... 'Have at you!' cried the guard.... 'Seat yourself,' said
the stranger, signing to his Hindu attendant that the bodies should be
removed, and commencing to cleanse the blood from his sword with a
richly embroidered handkerchief, 'and I will tell you the story of my
life.'" There is always something doing in _The Princess Casamassima_,
and it is usually something great, and as a rule it is doing it quite
on its own. As a portal to the disordered tale there stands one of the
finest short stories in the world; how Miss Pynsent, the shabby little
dressmaker who has brought up Hyacinth, the bastard child of a French
work-girl now in Millbank for the murder of the peer who betrayed her,
is suddenly bidden to bring the boy to his mother's prison deathbed, and
how the poor woman drags him up to the brown, windowless walls, the vast
blank gate, the looming corridors infused with sallow light, is such a
study of the way the institutions devised by man in the interests of
justice and order make a child's soul scream, that the reader will for
ever after think a great deal less of Pip's adventures on the marshes in
_Great Expectations_. Dickens could never have suffused his story with
so exquisite and so relevant an emotional effect as the aching of poor
Miss Pynsent's heart over this rough introduction of her cherished lamb
to the horrible; nor could he have invented that wonderful moment when
the child turns from the ravenous embrace of the wasted and disfigured
stranger with, "I won't kiss her; Pinnie says she stole a watch!" at
which the murderess screams, "_Ah! quelle infamie!_ I never stole
anything!" and the wardress says with dignity: "I'm sure you needn't put
more on her than she has by rights," to which the poor virgin, quite
unable to understand the peculiar cachet attaching to a _crime
passionel_, cries contritely, "Mercy, more! I thought it so much less!"

And from this portal the book goes on to incidents and persons not less
exquisite but still disconcertingly mere portals. It is as though in a
mad dream one found oneself passing through the arch in the mellow
redness of Hampton Court and straightway emerged on the colonnade of St
Paul's, through whose little swing-doors one surprisingly stepped to the
prim front of Kensington Palace. There is M. Poupin, the exiled
Communist who cannot communicate with the world, or the moustached
female companion with whom he dwells in a scrupulously unmarried state,
save by platitudes concerning the social organisation: "I'm suffering
extremely, but we must all suffer so long as the social question is so
abominably, so iniquitously neglected," is his way of intimating a sore
throat. There is poor Lady Aurora Langrish, the aristocratic precursor
of the sad Miss Huxtables in _The Madras House_: "My father isn't rich,
and there's only one of us, Eva, married, and we're not at all
handsome.... They go into the country all the autumn, all the winter,
when there's no one here (except three or four millions) and the rain
drips, drips, drips from the trees in the big dull park where my people
live, and nothing to do but to go out with three or four others in
mackintoshes...." There is dry old Mr Vetch who plays the fiddle in the
orchestra at night and fills all the rest of the empty day with love for
Hyacinth; and there is Captain Sholto, the Piccadilly swell; and Miss
Hennings, the sales-lady, and half-a-dozen admirable others casually
affixed by the stretched string of circumstance or the glue of
coincidence. And quite the preciousest "piece" in the collection is the
account of how the Princess Casamassima, who is Christina Light of
_Roderick Hudson_, grown to perilous maturity of beauty and perversity,
calls young Hyacinth to her country house, and there in the beechy park
and flowery lanes makes him talk of the plots against the rich which
later are to cause his death, and brings him nearer to it by lifting a
face wonderfully pale and pure with enthusiasm. It is so like that
Titian in the Prado which shows, against a window looking on a park
where lovers walk in golden air under silver poplars, Venus lying on a
satin couch while a young man makes music for her at an organ; her eyes
are softly intent, and the youth thinks she is suspended over the world
in his music, but really she is brooding on the whiteness of his skin
beneath his black beard. That likeness suggests that _The Princess
Casamassima_ should be taken, not as a novel, but as the small, fine
picture gallery that Mr James thought fit to add to his mental palace,
already so rich in mere sane living rooms.

It is unpleasant to travel in a runaway motor-car, even if it ultimately
spills one into a rose-garden, and when Mr James produced a picture
gallery when he had intended a grave study of social differences, he was
in much that case. But already in _The Author of Beltraffio_ (1884) he
had shown his awareness of a movement which had started with the
intention of destroying both Christian morality and rationalism, and
otherwise making us fearfully gay, and which actually achieved the
slight mitigation of the offensiveness of plumbers' shop windows and the
recovery by Mr Henry James of control over his machine. That story is
not one of Mr James' best; the author makes his readers regard his scene
through so small a peephole that even the characters who are to be
conceived as above all retiring have to come grossly near if their
audience is to make anything of the drama at all. The theme is that an
author's wife who considers her husband's books objectionable lets her
child die rather than that he should grow up in the companionship of one
so utterly without reserve; yet, since the tale is told by a total
stranger who is visiting them for the week-end, she has necessarily to
behave with a lack of reserve that makes her imputed motive incredible.
The special value of the story lies in the moments when the author of
_Beltraffio_, whose affectation of a velveteen coat and a remote foreign
air makes us desire to scream out to the weekend visitor that he is
being fooled, and this is no writer but an artistic photographer,
remarks with some complacency that to the conventional he appears "no
better than an ancient Greek" and professes a thirst for "the
cultivation of beauty without reserve or precautions." Our happy
generation cannot understand these phrases which doubtless had their
salutary meaning for that distant day when England fed herself on so low
a diet that _Jude the Obscure_ seemed to her a maddening draught. But
they interest us by showing that even Mr James, who ordinarily turned
aside with so chill a wince from the ridiculous, had exposed his
consciousness to the æsthetic movement which had been remotely
engendered by Leigh Hunt's Cockney crow of joy at Italy and afterwards
fostered by Ruskin as one of his wild repartees to the railway train,
and which was then being given the middle-class touch by Oscar Wilde.

We feel surprised at Mr James' cognisance of anything so second-rate as
this Decadent Movement of the late eighties and early nineties, because
most of us basely judge it by its lack of worldly success instead of by
its moral mission. The elect of the movement, if one delves in the
memory of older Londoners, were certainly silly young men who were
careful about the laundering of their evening shirts and who tried to
introduce the tone of public-school life into ordinary society. And it
is true that for all their talk of art they produced nothing but one
good farce and a cartload of such weak, sweet verse as schoolgirls copy
into exercise-books, and that from this small effort they sank
exhausted down to prison, drink, madness, suicide; and struck whatever
other notes there be in the descending scale of personal disgrace. And
yet, for all its fruitlessness, that prattle about art gave them a valid
claim on our respect. Never had beauty been so forgotten; style was
poisoned at the fount of thought by Carlyle, whose sentences were
confused disasters like railway accidents, and by Herbert Spencer, who
wrote as though he were the offspring of two _Times_ leaders; among
novelists only Robert Louis Stevenson loved words, and he had too
prudent a care to water down his gruel to suit sick England's stomach;
and in criticism Andrew Lang, who had admired Scott and Dickens in his
schooldays and was not going to let himself down by admiring anybody
nearer his own generation, greeted every exponent of the real with a
high piercing northern sneer. It was of inestimable value that it should
be cried, no matter in how pert a voice, that words are jewels which,
wisely set, make by their shining mental light. That the cry could not
save the young men who raised it, bore out their contention of the
time's need for it; if they, seeking new beauty, could but celebrate the
old dingy sins of towns, it showed in what a base age they had been
bred. And if they could not save themselves they saved others. Arnold
Bennett and H. G. Wells set off in the nineties in a world encouragingly
full of talk about good writing. Conrad, mouthing his difficult strange
tales about the sea, found an audience that would sit hushed. And in the
brain of one who, being then between forty and fifty years of age, might
have been thought inaccessible to new conceptions of the art that had
for so long preoccupied him, there passed important thoughts.

"That idea I picked up when I corrected George Eliot's proofs, oh! so
long ago!" one can imagine Mr James saying, "that idea that art must be
ballasted by didacticism can't be true for me. I've fined it down, in my
reading of the French, to an opinion that the artist should use his
fancy work to decorate useful articles; but still it isn't true for me.
For I must, before I can decorate them, make the useful articles of
thought my own, and they are just the one thing that for all my mental
wealth I can't acquire. I see them often enough in the shop-windows--the
moral and political and philosophical problems so prodigiously produced
by my age--and many times have tried the door, but to my touch it never
opens, so I have to describe them as I see them through the glass,
without having felt or known them with the intimacy of possession! It's
true I did once deal with a situation in the history of two peoples, but
I see now that in its international character there was an intimation
that it was the last with which I should ever effectively concern
myself. For I'm destructively not national; my mind is engraved with the
sights and social customs of half-a-dozen countries, and with the deep
traditions of not one, and how can I deal deeply with the conduct of a
people when I haven't a notion of the quality or quantity of the
traditions which are, after all, its mainspring? It seems to me that
the cry of "Art for Art's sake," which is being raised by those young
men, and which certainly isn't true for _them_, may be true for _me_.
What if henceforth I release the winged steed of my recording art from
the obligation of dragging up the steep hill of my inaptitude the dray
filled with the heavy goods which I have amassed in my perhaps so
mistaken desire for a respectably weighty subject, and let the poor
thing just beautifully soar?"

One perceives how far this mood had gone with Mr James when the hero of
_The Tragic Muse_ (1890) refuses a seat in Parliament and the hand of a
wealthy widow in order that he might go on painting. From Mr James, to
whom marrying a widow appeared as much superior to marrying a spinster
as privately acquiring a "piece" from the dispersed collection of a
deceased connoisseur of repute is to buying old furniture with no
guarantee but one's own approval, this was a portentous incident. And
there is vast significance in his sympathetic representation of Miriam
Rooth, the young actress to whom the title refers, for before this
period he would never have accepted the genius of the black-browed,
untidy girl as an excuse for her lack of money and social position and
manners. It had hitherto been his grimly expressed opinion that "the
life of a woman is essentially an affair of private relations," and he
had refused to dramatise in his imagination anything concerning women
save their failures and successes as sexual beings; which is like
judging a cutlet not by its flavour, but by the condition of its
pink-paper frill. That time had gone. He had abandoned all his
prejudices in despair, and for many years to come was to show a divine
charity, freely permitting every encountered thing to impress its
essence on the receptive wax of his consciousness. For the next twelve
years "impressions," as in his happy foreign childhood, "were not merely
all right, but were the dearest things in the world."



IV

THE CRYSTAL BOWL


In that octagonal room at the Prado, where each wall is an altar raised
to beauty, because it is hung with pictures by Velasquez, in all the
lesser works one finds some intimation of the grave, fine personality
who produced all this wonder. At the sacred picture that was his first
one says, "He was a pupil, and very proud of painting the old things
better than the old men could, even though they meant nothing to him";
at the squat, black dwarfs, "He was so sure that the truth about the
world was kind that he could look upon horror without fear"; and at the
sketches of the Villa Medici Gardens, "After hot, bleak Spain he loved
Italy as one who has known passion loves a passionless girl." And the
recreated personality, tangible enough to be liked, passes with one
about the gallery until suddenly, before the masterpieces, it vanishes.
With those it had nothing to do; the thing that was his character,
shaped out of the innate traits of his dark stock by the raw beauty of
the land and the stiff rich life of the court, brought him to the
conception of these works but lay sleeping through their execution. When
he was painting _Las Hilanderas_ he knew nothing save that the weavers'
flesh glowed golden in the dusty sunlight of the factory; for the state
of genius consists of an utter surrender of the mind to the subject. The
artist at the moment of creation must be like a saint awaiting the
embrace of God, scourging appetite out of him, shrinking from sensation
as though it were a sin, deleting self, lifting his consciousness like
an empty cup to receive the heavenly draught.

And so, with the beginning of his second period of genius, the reading
of Mr James ceased to give us the companionship of the gentle, very
pleasant American who seemed homeless but quite serene, as though he
were tired of living in his boxes, but on the other hand was very fond
of travelling, that we had grown to like in his books of the eighties.
He went away and sent no letter; but instead, with a lavishness one
would never have suspected from his uneasy bearing, sent a succession of
jewels, great globed jewels of experience, from which marvellously
conceived characters gave out their milky gleams or fiery rays. The
first tentative try at the mere impression, _The Aspern Papers_ (1888),
gave an earnest of his generosity. There one passes into the golden glow
of Venice, "where the sky and the sea and the rosy air and the marble of
the palaces all shimmer and melt together.... The gondola stopped, the
old palace was there.... How charming! it's grey and pink!" And under
the painted ceiling of the old palace sits bleached and shrivelled
Juliana Bordereau, the memory of her love affair with the great poet
Aspern hanging in the air like incense and filling the mind with tears
that such splendid lovers buy no immortality, but grow old like the
rest. Above its mere amusing story the tale breathes an elegy on the
many good things that are slain by age before death comes and decently
inters the body. For one watches, with a kind of comic horror that such
grimaces should touch the face that Jeffery Aspern kissed, the grin of
senile irony with which she meets the young American who comes to
wheedle her lover's letters out of her, with which she wheedles money
out of him that she may provide for the future of the poor spinster
niece who moves tremulously about her chair like a silly baaing sheep;
with which, one thinks, she possibly anticipates the dreadful moment
after her death when the spinster dodderingly informs the American that
she could give him her aunt's papers only "if you were a relation ... if
you weren't a stranger...." Every drop of beauty is squeezed out of the
material by a pressure so cool and controlled that, remembering how
Benvenuto Cellini "fell in his clothes and slept" after he had taken
similar small masterpieces from the furnace, one waits for his
exhaustion. But it was given to Mr James, perhaps because he was an
American and so of a stock oxygenated by contact with the free airs of
the new free lands, to swim longer in the sea of perfection than any
other writer. It was not until fifteen years later, when he was old and
the disciples of the movement which had stimulated him all shabbily
dead, and talk about art locked away in a dusty cupboard with the
Japanese fans and the blue china pots, that he turned tired and came to
shore.

He was sustained in this long swim by two beloved subjects, one bitter
and one sweet. The literary life was written about in those days almost
as much as it was talked about, and it was continually being used by the
young decadents as the occasion for predictions of their own later
squalor in which morphia and dark ladies, moulded in the likeness of
beautiful young Mrs Patrick Campbell, played parts which in the
subsequent realisation were taken by plain beer and plainer barmaids. Mr
James took up the poor, scribbled-about thing and turned it over very
reverently, none knowing better than he that the artist was the _sacer
vates_ of his time, and very sadly, because he had now close on thirty
years of intimacy with artists behind him. He had known Turgeniev, the
most "beautiful genius" of his age, and had found him rather lonely and
pre-eminently not eminent in the eyes of the world; he had seen the dark
days of Rossetti; he had trod so close on the heels of Alfred de Musset
as to know that _il s'absente trop de l'Académie parcequ'il s'absinthe
trop_; he had seen poor, fat little Zola, who thought that though one
could not build Rome in a day one could describe it in less, plodding
and sweating up the wrong road to art. And so, in a mood of clear
melancholy, with an occasional flash of irony which was doubtless the
sole comment wrung from his urbanity by the fact that that age, when the
change of the novel's price from thirty-one and sixpence to six
shillings had enormously increased the reading public, had brought no
enlargement of his circle of readers, he wrote that wonderful series of
stories which began with _The Lesson of the Master_ (1888) and included
_The Middle Years_ (1893), _The Next Time_ (1895), and _The Death of the
Lion_ (1894). Save for that roaring joke, _The Coxon Fund_ (1894), where
one sees Frank Saltram, a "free rearrangement of Coleridge," charming
and sponging on the rich, bringing into their drawing-rooms a swaying
body that should be taken home at once in a cab and a mind "like a
crystal suspended in the moral world--swinging and shining and flashing
there," these are all sad stories. The master is bullied out of being a
master by the financial importunities of a smart wife and comely
children; the author of _The Middle Years_ dies with none but an
acquaintance picked up at the seaside to hold his hand; Ralph Limbert is
killed by worry because he could not stop producing masterpieces when it
was the damned marketable asset that was required to pay the wages of
his wife's maid; the lion dies in a cold country house, with no fire in
his bedroom, while his hostess gets paragraphed for her charity to the
wild literary, and his last manuscript goes astray downstairs somewhere
between Lord Dorimont's man and Lady Augusta's maid. One knows next to
nothing at all about the faith consciously rejected or adopted by Henry
James, and whether the atmosphere of speculative theology in which he
was bred had made him think religion as far beyond his mental range as
mathematics, or whether Christianity seemed to him just the excuse of
the Latin races for building high cool places, very grateful in the
heat, and filling them with incense and images of kind, interceding
people. But in this melancholy series, and indeed in all his later
works--for right on to _The Golden Bowl_ (1905) he presents his
characters as being worthy of treatment just because they are in some
way or other struggling to preserve some decency from engulfment in the
common lot of nastiness--one perceives that he had been born with the
grim New England faith like a cold drop in his blood. The earth was a
vale of tears, and all one could do was to go on, uninfluenced by
weeping or the fear of weeping, to some high goal. This sad belief,
accompanied by so intense a consciousness that his particular goal, the
art of great writing, was reached by a stonier and longer path than any,
might have been expected to provoke him rather to the fury of Landor or
the gloomy pomposity of Wordsworth than to the unhurried, unimpassioned
production of these wonderful stories, these exquisite vessels that
swaggeringly hold and clearly show the contained draught of truth, like
tall-stemmed goblets of Venetian glass. But glass is the wrong image;
for no hand could ever break these, no critical eye detect a crack. They
are so truthfully conceived that one could compare them only to some
nobly infrangible substance, so realistic and yet so charged with
significance by their fashioning that their likeness must be something
which is transparent and yet gives the light a white fire as it passed
through. It is of crystal they are made, hard, luminous crystal.

Mr James' second subject, which began to show its white flowers in _The
Other House_ (1896) and went on blossoming long after winter had fallen
on his genius in _The Golden Bowl_, also showed him a son of New
England. For it consists of nothing else than the demonstration, in
varying and exquisitely selected circumstances, that blessed are the
pure in heart; and that was certainly the beatitude that New England,
with its fear of passion and publicity and its respect for spinsters and
pastors of bleached lives, most regarded. Mr James demonstrated it in no
spirit of moral propaganda, but for the technical reason that a
situation is greatly elucidated if one of the persons engaged presents a
consciousness like a polished silver surface, unobscured by any tracery
of selfish preoccupations, which clearly mirrors the other participients
and their movements. Perhaps he thereby discovered the real meaning of
the beatitude, which may be no more than an expression of the obvious
truth that he who receives the fullest impression of the world is likely
to react most valuably to it. Certainly he invented a technical trick
which in its way was as important as the discovery which Ibsen was
making about the same time and which he himself used later in his last
masterpiece, that if one had a really "great" scene one ought to leave
it out and describe it simply by the full relation of its consequences.
He showed that all sorts of things that are amusing enough to write
about and are yet too ignoble for dignified art are lent the required
nobility by being witnessed by grave candour; and that characters whose
special claim is that they are "strange," but whose strangeness cannot
be laboured by direct description lest they become crude, can have the
gaps in their representation filled out by their effect on the simple.
Rose Armiger, in _The Other House_, is made much more horrible because
she exposes her dreadful passion before the simplicity of Tony Bream,
just as a striped poisonous snake would seem more striped and poisonous
if it flickered its black fang from an English rose-bush. The awfulness
of Ida Farange, whose handsome appearance constituted "an abuse of
visibility," of Beale Farange, whose vast scented beard was, since odd
ladies liked to play with it, ultimately his chief source of income,
would never have been important enough to be recorded if they had not
formed a part of _What Maisie Knew_ (1897); and the ensnarement of Sir
Claude, her first step-parent, who was such a good fellow to talk to
when his gaze didn't wander to the dark young woman in red who was
sweeping into dinner or to the shining limbs of a Dieppe fishwife, by
the beautiful, genteel young trollop who was her second step-parent,
would have been a matter too _louche_ for representation if Maisie had
not so beautifully cared for him. The battle over _The Spoils of
Poynton_ (1897), where the greedy mother tries to defend the fine
"things" of her dead husband's house from her imbecile son's vulgar
bride, would be too unrelievedly a history of greed to be borne were not
exquisite Fleda Vetch in the foreground, being fond of the mother,
loving the son. The best ghost story in the world, _The Turn of the
Screw_ (1898), is the more ghostly because the apparitions of the valet
and the governess, appearing at the dangerous place, the top of the
tower on the other side of the lake, that they may tempt the children
they corrupted in their lives to join them in their eternal torment, are
seen by the clear eyes of the honourable and fearless lady who tells the
tale. And _In the Cage_ (1898) has no subject but the purity of the
romantic little telegraphist who sits behind the wire netting at the
grocer's. Her heart is like a well of clear water, through which, when
the handsome Guardsman comes in to send a telegram to his mistress, love
strikes down like a shaft of light.

One pauses, horrified to find oneself ticking off these masterpieces on
one's fingers, as though they were so many books by Mrs Humphry Ward or
buns by Lyons. And yet what can one do? Criticism must break down when
it comes to masterpieces. For if one is creative one wants to go away
and spend oneself utterly on this sacred business of creation, wring out
of oneself every drop of this inestimable thing art; and if one is not
creative one can only put out a tremulous finger to touch the marvellous
shining crystal, and be silent with wonder. Deep wonder, since these are
not, as fools have pretended, merely rich treatments of the trivial. For
although he could not grasp a complicated abstraction, was teased by the
implications of a great cause, and angered by an idea that could be
understood only by the synthesis of many references, he could dive down
serenely, like a practised diver going under the sea for pearls, into
the twilit depths of the heart to seize his secrets. There is in
humanity an instinct for ritual, there lies in all of us a desire to
commemorate our deep emotions, that would otherwise glow in our bosoms
and die down for ever, by some form that adds to the beauty of the
world; but there is only one expression of it in literature that is not
poisonously silly. Newman and the Tractarians and Monsignor Benson make
the ritualist seem as big a fool as the old woman who carries a potato
in her pocket to ward off rheumatism. Sabatier makes him seem the kind
of person who takes sugar in his tea, paints in water-colour and likes
_The Roadmender_. But there is a story by Henry James called _The Altar
of the Dead_, rejected again and again by the caste of cretins who edit
the magazines and reviews of this unhappy country, although of so
perfect a beauty that one can read every separate paragraph every day of
one's life for the music of the sentences and the loveliness of the
presented images, which takes ritual from the trembling hands of the
coped old men and exhibits it as something that those who love the
natural frame of things and hate superstition need not fear to accept.
It tells how an ageing man acquires an altar in a Roman Catholic church
and burns at it candles to his many dead, and by worshipping there keeps
so close company with their charity and sweetness that, at his end, the
blaze of white lights inspires him to a last supreme act of forgiveness
to an enemy; and the beautiful recital makes one's mind no longer fear
to admit that the splendour of a Cathedral Mass may, although one's
unbelief fly like an arrow through the show and transfix even the Cross
itself, fulfil a noble need. Once at least Henry James poured into his
crystal goblet the red wine that nourishes the soul.

And it held, too, a liberal draught of the least trivial distillation of
man's mind, which is tragedy, in _The Wings of the Dove_ (1902). That
story is the perfect example of what he had declared in _The Tragic
Muse_ the artistic performance should always be: "the application, clear
and calculated, crystal-firm, as it were, of the idea conceived in the
glow of experience, of suffering, of joy." For Milly Theale, the
American heiress, "who had arts and idiosyncrasies of which no great
account could have been given, but which were a daily grace if you lived
with them; such as the art of being almost tragically impatient and yet
making it light as air; of being inexplicably sad and yet making it
clear as noon; of being unmistakably sad and yet making it soft as
dusk," whose hopeful progress through Europe stops suddenly at the dark
portal in Harley Street, is but the ghost of Mary Temple, whose death
thirty years before had been felt by Henry and William James as the end
of their youth. All those years he had held in his heart the memory of
that poor girl, "conscious of a great capacity for life, but early
stricken and doomed, condemned to die under short respite while also
enamoured of the world; aware, moreover, of the condemnation and
passionately desiring to 'put in' before extinction as many of the finer
vibrations as possible and so achieve, however briefly and brokenly, the
sense of having lived"; but with the prescience of the artist he had
delayed until he had perfected his art to undertake the heavy task of
presenting her tragedy without mitigation and yet making it bearable and
beautiful. Then he lavished his technical resources on her history as he
might have laid flowers on her grave. There is nothing more miraculous
in all his works than the way he contrives that, when her agony becomes
too great to be directly represented and has to be suggested by its
effect upon others, he yet breaks no link of the intimacy between the
reader and his heroine, but provides that her increasing physical
absence shall be so compensated for by her spiritual presence that her
rare appearances are like long-expected visits from a distant friend.
One's knowledge of her glows into love when one sees her holding a
reception in the faded golden splendours of the Venetian palace to which
she has dragged herself to die, smiling bravely at her guests, bidding
musicians strike up to keep them gay, playing, to preserve her hands
from any gesture of anguish or appearance of lassitude, with the rope of
pearls that seems to weigh down her wasted body. Yet one gets one's
vision through the hard, envious eyes of Kate Croy, who is the hawk
circling over the poor dying dove, and the appalled gaze of Merton
Densher, Kate's secret lover, whom she has trapped into a profession of
love for Milly so that the deluded girl will leave him her fortune. And
one sees her most radiantly of all in the interview which she grants to
Densher when she has discovered the cruel fraud practised on her and is
dying of the knowledge, although one is told no more than that "she
received me just as usual, in that glorious great _salone_, in the dress
she always wears, from her inveterate corner of her sofa." From the love
it lit in his heart, a love so great that for very shame Kate cannot
marry him even when her machinations have achieved complete success at
Milly's death, one perceives that this was the dying girl's assumption,
that her sweetness and strength must at that hour have flowered so
divinely that the skies opened and they were no longer matter for a
human history. But about this masterpiece, too, there can be nothing
said. One just sits and looks up, while the Master lifts his old grief,
changed by his craftsmanship into eternal beauty as the wafer is changed
to the Host by the priest's liturgy, enclosed from decay, prisoned in
perfection, in the great shining crystal bowl of his art.



V

THE GOLDEN BOWL


The signs of age appeared in Mr James' work like white streaks in a
black beard; between two vital and vigorous books there would appear one
that in its garrulity and complacent surrender to mannerism predicted
decay. It became clear, first of all, that he was no longer able to bear
up with serenity under his deep sense that life was a vale of tears. How
much he wished it would all stop is manifest in that strangest of all
visions of Paradise, _The Great Good Place_ (1900). We all have our
hopes of what gifts the hereafter may bring us, and in most cases we
desire some compensation for the limitations of our human knowledge; we
promise ourselves that when we lean over the gold bar of heaven a
competent angel will bustle up, clasping innumerable divinely clear
text-books under its wings, to tell us absolutely everything about
physics, with special reference to the movements of the heavenly bodies
spinning below. But it is the essence of Mr James' Paradise that there
is nothing there at all but a climate, a sweet soft climate in which the
most that happens is one of those summer sprinkles that brings out
smells. This fatigue of life, this hunger for the peace of nothingness,
showed itself in his increasing preference for laying the scene of his
novels in the great good places of this earth, where there is nothing
more dangerous in the parks and on the terraces than deer and peacocks,
and nothing more disturbing to the soul in the high rooms and
interminable galleries than well-bred women. It was not a gain to his
art; under its influence he committed the twittering over teacups which
compose the collection of short stories called _The Better Sort_ (1903),
and the incidentally beautiful but devastatingly artificial _The Awkward
Age_ (1899), in which the reader is perpetually confused because Nanda
Brookenham, one of the most charming of Mr James' "pure in heart," is
wept over as though she had been violated body and soul, when all that
has happened is that she has been brought up in a faster set than the
world thinks desirable for a young unmarried girl. And it was peculiarly
unfortunate that, while his subjects grew flimsier and his settings more
impressive, his style became more and more elaborate. With sentences
vast as the granite blocks of the Pyramids and a scene that would have
made a site for a capital he set about constructing a story the size of
a hen-house. The type of these unhappier efforts of Mr James' genius is
_The Sacred Fount_ (1901), where, with a respect for the mere gross
largeness and expensiveness of the country house which almost makes one
write the author Mr Jeames, he records how a week-end visitor spends
more intellectual force than Kant can have used on _The Critique of Pure
Reason_ in an unsuccessful attempt to discover whether there exists
between certain of his fellow-guests a relationship not more
interesting among these vacuous people than it is among sparrows. The
finely wrought descriptions of the leisured life make one feel as though
one sat in a beautiful old castle, granting its beauty but not pleased,
because one is a prisoner, while the small, mean story worries one like
a rat nibbling at the wainscot. One takes it as significant that the
unnamed host and hostess of the party never appear save to "give
signals." The tiny, desperate figures this phrase shows to the mind's
eye, semaphoring to each other across incredibly extended polished
vistas to keep up their courage under these looming, soaring vaults, may
be taken as symbols of the heart and intellect which Mr James had now
forgotten in his elaboration of their social envelope.

But with this method, as in every form of literary activity save only
playwriting, in which he was rather worse than Sidney Grundy in much the
same way, Mr James gained his radiant triumphs. There could be nothing
more trivial than the _donnée_ of _The Ambassadors_ (1903); there is no
dignity or significance in the situation of Lambert Strether, an
American who is engaged, in that odd way common to Mr James' characters,
to a woman whom he certainly does not love and hardly seems to like, and
goes at her bidding to Paris to cut her cubbish son clear from an
entanglement with a Frenchwoman. And yet so artfully is the tale
displayed in the setting of lovely, clean, white Paris and green France,
lifting her poplars into the serene strong light of the French sky, that
the reader holds his breath over the story of how Strether "had come
with a view that might have been figured by a clear, green liquid, say,
in a neat glass phial; and the liquid, once poured into the open cup of
_application_, once exposed to the action of another air, had begun to
turn from green to red, or whatever, and might, for all he knew, be on
its way to purple, to black, to yellow"; how, in fact, the old
"international situation" acted on the new generation of Americans. But
that book is not typical of this period, for it is singularly free from
those great sentences which sprawl over the pages of _The Golden Bowl_
with such an effect of rank vegetable growth that one feels that if one
took cuttings of them one could raise a library in the garden. And it is
those sentences which absorb, at the last, the whole of Mr James'
attention.

For he ceased, as time went on, to pay any attention to the emotional
values of his stories; it is one of the strangest things about _The
Golden Bowl_ that the frame on which there hangs the most elaborate
integument of suggestion and exposition ever woven by the mind of man is
an ugly and incompletely invented story about some people who are
sexually mad. Adam Verver, an American millionaire, buys an Italian
prince for his daughter Maggie, and in her turn she arranges a marriage
between her father and Charlotte, her school friend, because she thinks
he may be lonely without her. And although it is plain that people who
buy "made-up" marriages are more awful than the admittedly awful people
who buy "made-up" ties, they are presented to one as vibrating
exquisitely to every fine chord of life, as thinking about each other
with the anxious subtlety of lovers, as so steeped in a sense of one
another that they invent a sea of poetic phrases, beautiful images,
discerning metaphors that break on the reader's mind like the unceasing
surf. And when one tries to discover from the recorded speeches of these
people whether there was no palliation of their ugly circumstances one
finds that the dialogue, usually so compact a raft for the conveyance of
the meaning of Mr James' novels, has been smashed up on this sea of
phrases and drifts in, a plank at a time, on the copious flood:

     "Maggie happened to learn, by some other man's greeting of him, in
     the bright Roman way, from a street corner as we passed, that one
     of the Prince's baptismal names, the one always used for him among
     his relations, was Amerigo; which--as you probably don't know,
     however, even after a lifetime of _me_--was the name, four hundred
     years ago, or whenever, of the pushing man who followed, across the
     sea, in the wake of Columbus and succeeded, where Columbus had
     failed, in becoming godfather, or name-father, to the new
     continent; so the thought of any connection with him can even now
     thrill our artless breasts."

And as if it was not enough that these people should say literally
unspeakable sentences like that, and do incredible things, the phrases
make them do things which they never did. For the metaphors are so
beautifully and completely presented to the mind that it retains them as
having as real and physical an existence as the facts. When we learn
that the relationship between Charlotte and the Prince had reared itself
in Maggie's life like "some wonderful, beautiful, but outlandish pagoda,
a structure plated with hard, bright porcelain, coloured and figured and
adorned, at the overhanging eaves, with silver bells that tinkled ever
so charmingly, when stirred by chance airs," and the simile is cunningly
developed for seven or eight hundred words, one is left with a confused
impression that a pagoda formed part of the furniture at Portland Place
and that Maggie oddly elected to keep her husband inside it. And to cap
it all these people are not even human, for their thoughts concerning
their relationships are so impassioned and so elaborate that they can
never have had either energy or time for the consideration of anything
else in the world. A race of creatures so inveterately specialist as
Maggie Verver could never have attained man's mastery over environment,
but would still be specialising on the cocoa-nut or some such simple
form of diet.

Decidedly _The Golden Bowl_ is not good as a novel; but what it is
supremely good as can be discovered when one learns how, in these later
days, Mr James used to compose his novels. He began by dictating a short
draft which, even in the case of such a cartload of apes and ivory as
_The Golden Bowl_, might be no longer than thirty thousand words. Then
he would take this draft in his hand and would dictate it all over again
with what he intended to be enlightening additions, but which, since
the mere act of talking set all his family on to something quite
different from the art of letters, made it less and less of a novel. For
the James family had, as was shown by their father's many reported
phrases, by William James' charm as a lecturer, and by the social
greatness of Robertson James, a genius for conversation. For long years
it had remained latent in Henry James, who had in youth suffered much
from that stockishness which often comes to those who are burning all
their energy for creative purposes and have none left for personal
display; but latterly it had been liberated by the consciousness of
maturity and fame. At last it became a passion with him, and he decided
to converse, not only with his friends, but with his public. This was
bad for his novels, so long as one considered them as such, since a
novel should be the presentation and explanation of a subject while a
conversation is a fantasia of entertaining phrases on themes the
essentials of which are to some extent already in the possession of the
interlocutors. But once one considers them as a flow of bright things
said about people Mr James knows and that one rather thinks one has met,
but is not quite sure, one perceives that the crystal bowl of Mr James'
art was not, as one had feared, broken. He had but gilded its clear
sides with the gold of his genius for phrase-making, and now, instead of
lifting it with a priest-like gesture to exhibit a noble subject, held
it on his knees as a treasured piece of bric-à-brac and tossed into it,
with an increasing carelessness, any sort of subject--a jewel, a rose, a
bit of string, a visiting-card--confident that the surrounding golden
glow would lend it beauty. Indiscriminately he dropped into it his
precious visions of his revisited motherland, in _The American Scene_
(1907); the dry little anecdotes of _The Finer Grain_ (1910); the
tittering triviality of _The Outcry_ (1911); and his judgment of his own
works in the prefaces to the New York edition of the _Novels and Tales
of Henry James_ (1908-1909).

Always it was good, rambling talk, although fissured now and then with
an old man's lapses into tiresomeness, when he split hairs until there
were no longer any hairs to split and his mental gesture became merely
the making of agitated passes over a complete baldness.

And here and there the prose achieves a beauty of its own; but it is no
longer the beauty of a living thing, but rather the "made" beauty which
bases its claims to admiration chiefly on its ingenuity, like those
crystal clocks with jewelled works and figures moving as the hours
chimed, which were the glory of mediæval palaces.

       *       *       *       *       *

William James died in 1910, and Henry James, who had already begun to
savour the bitterness of outliving brothers and friends and pets, whiled
away the next few years of separation from his adored brother in the
composition of two beautiful books about their childhood and youth, _A
Small Boy_ (1913), and _Notes of a Son and Brother_ (1914), and a third
autobiographical volume which is not yet published. Then came the
European War, in which he enlisted as a spiritual soldier. By
innumerable beautiful acts, by kindly visits to French and Belgian
refugees and wounded soldiers, by gifts of money and writings to war
charities, he raised an altar to the dead who had died for the countries
which he had always loved at the hands of the country which, ever since
he was a student at Bonn, he had always loathed. In July, 1915, he took
the great step, fraught for him with the deepest emotions, of renouncing
his American citizenship and becoming a naturalised British subject; and
in January, 1916, he did England the further honour of accepting the
Order of Merit. And on 28th February, 1916, he died, leaving the white
light of his genius to shine out for the eternal comfort of the mind of
man.



A SHORT BIBLIOGRAPHY OF MR HENRY JAMES' PRINCIPAL WORKS

[A complete bibliography of the works of Mr James would form a much
thicker volume than this book. A useful bibliography up to 1906,
compiled by Mr. Frederick Allen King, is included as an appendix in Miss
Elisabeth Luther Cary's _The Novels of Henry James_ (Putnam); and a
complete bibliography covering the same period, which gives an
interesting list of his early unsigned contributions to periodicals, has
been compiled by Mr Leroy Phillips and published by Messrs Constable.
The following bibliography records only the first editions of
publications in book form.]

The American (_Ward, Lock_). 1877.

French Poets and Novelists (_Macmillan_). 1878.

The Europeans (_Macmillan_). 1878.

Roderick Hudson (_Macmillan_). 1879.

Daisy Miller. An International Episode. Four Meetings (_Macmillan_).
1879.

The Madonna of the Future. Longstaff's Marriage. Madame de Mauves.
Eugene Pickering. The Diary of a Man of Fifty. Benvolio (_Macmillan_).
1879.

Hawthorne (_Macmillan_). Included in English Men of Letters Series,
edited by John Morley. 1879.

Confidence (_Chatto & Windus_). 1880.

Washington Square. The Pension Beaurepas. A Bundle of Letters
(_Macmillan_). 1881.

The Portrait of a Lady (_Macmillan_). 1881.

Portraits of Places (_Macmillan_). 1883.

Tales of Three Cities: The Impressions of a Cousin. Lady Barbarina. A
New England Winter (_Macmillan_). 1884.

Stories Revived: Vol. I. The Author of Beltraffio. Pandora. The Path of
Duty. A Day of Days. A Light Man. Vol. II. Georgina's Reasons. A
Passionate Pilgrim. A Landscape Painter. Rose-Agathe. Vol. III. Poor
Richard. The Last of the Valerii. Master Eustace. The Romance of Certain
Old Clothes. A Most Extraordinary Case (_Macmillan_). 1885.

The Bostonians (_Macmillan_). 1886.

The Princess Casamassima (_Macmillan_). 1886.

The Reverberator (_Macmillan_). 1888.

The Aspern Papers. Louisa Pallant. The Modern Warning (_Macmillan_).
1888.

Partial Portraits (Macmillan). 1888.

A London Life. The Patagonia. The Liar. Mrs Temperley (_Macmillan_).
1889.

The Tragic Muse (_Macmillan_). 1890.

The Lesson of the Master. The Marriages. The Pupil. Brooksmith. The
Solution. Sir Edmund Orme (_Macmillan_). 1892.

The Real Thing. Sir Dominick Ferrand. Nona Vincent. The Chaperon.
Greville Fane (_Macmillan_). 1893.

The Private Life. The Wheel of Time. Lord Beaupré. The Visits.
Collaboration. Owen Wingrave (_Osgood, McIlvaine_). 1893.

Essays in London (_Osgood, McIlvaine_). 1893.

Theatricals: Two Comedies. Tenants. Disengaged (_Osgood, McIlvaine_).
1894.

Theatricals: Second Series. The Album. The Reprobate (_Osgood,
McIlvaine_). 1895.

Terminations: The Death of the Lion. The Coxon Fund. The Middle Years.
The Altar of the Dead (_Heinemann_). 1895.

Embarrassments: The Figure in the Carpet. Glasses. The Next Time. The
Way it Came (_Heinemann_) 1896.

The Other House (_Heinemann_). 1896.

The Spoils of Poynton (_Heinemann_). 1897.

What Maisie Knew (_Heinemann_). 1897.

In the Cage (_Duckworth_). 1898.

The Two Magics. The Turn of the Screw. Covering End (_Macmillan_). 1898.

The Awkward Age (_Heinemann_). 1899.

The Soft Side: The Great Good Place. "Europe." Paste. The Real Right
Thing. The Great Condition. The Tree of Knowledge. The Abasement of the
Northmores. The Given Case. John Delavoy. The Third Person. Maud-Evelyn.
Miss Gunton of Poughkeepsie (_Methuen_). 1900.

The Sacred Fount (_Methuen_). 1901.

The Wings of the Dove (_Constable_). 1902.

The Better Sort: Broken Wings. The Beldonald Holbein. The Two Faces. The
Tone of Time. The Special Type. Mrs Medwin. Flickerbridge. The Story in
It. The Beast in the Jungle. The Birthplace. The Papers (_Methuen_).
1903.

The Ambassadors (_Methuen_). 1903.

William Wetmore Story and his Friends (_Blackwood_). 1903.

The Golden Bowl (_Methuen_). 1905.

English Hours (_Heinemann_). 1905.

The American Scene (_Chapman & Hall_). 1907.

Italian Hours (_Heinemann_). 1909.

The Finer Grain: The Velvet Glove. Mora Montravers. A Round of Visits.
Crapy Cornelia. The Bench of Desolation (_Methuen_). 1910.

The Outcry (_Methuen_). 1911.

A Small Boy (_Macmillan_). 1913.

Notes of a Son and Brother (_Macmillan_). 1914.

Notes on Novelists (_Dent_). 1914.

A Collection of Novels and Tales by Henry James was published by Messrs
Macmillan in 1883. This consisted of reprints of The Portrait of a Lady,
Roderick Hudson, The American, Washington Square, The Europeans,
Confidence, Madame de Mauves, An International Episode, The Pension
Beaurepas, Daisy Miller, Four Meetings, Longstaff's Marriage, Benvolio,
The Madonna of the Future, A Bundle of Letters, The Diary of a Man of
Fifty, and Eugene Pickering; and two stories, The Siege of London and
The Point of View, which had not before been published in England.

The New York Edition of the Novels and Tales of Mr Henry James was
published by Messrs Macmillan during 1908-1909. Each novel and each
volume of short stories has a critical preface by the author, and each
volume has a photograph by Alvin Langdon Coburn as frontispiece. The
following is the order:--

1. Roderick Hudson. 2. The American. 3, 4. The Portrait of a Lady. 5, 6.
The Princess Casamassima. 7, 8. The Tragic Muse. 9. The Awkward Age. 10.
The Spoils of Poynton; A London Life; The Chaperon. 11. What Maisie
Knew; In the Cage; The Pupil. 12. The Aspern Papers; The Turn of the
Screw; The Liar; The Two Faces. 13. The Reverberator; Madame de Mauves;
A Passionate Pilgrim; The Madonna of the Future; Louisa Pallant. 14.
Lady Barbarina; The Siege of London; An International Episode; The
Pension Beaurepas; A Bundle of Letters; The Point of View. 15. The
Lesson of the Master; The Death of the Lion; The Next Time; The Figure
in the Carpet; The Coxon Fund. 16. The Author of Beltraffio; The Middle
Years; Greville Fane; Broken Wings; The Tree of Knowledge; The Abasement
of the Northmores; The Great Good Place; Four Meetings; Paste; Europe;
Miss Gunton of Poughkeepsie; Fordham Castle. 17. The Altar of the Dead;
The Beast in the Jungle; The Birthplace; The Private Life; Owen
Wingrave; The Friends of the Friends; Sir Edmund Orme; The Real Right
Thing; The Jolly Corner; Julia Bride. 18. Daisy Miller; Pandora; The
Patagonia; The Marriages; The Real Thing; Brooksmith; The Beldonald
Holbein; The Story in It; Flickerbridge; Mrs Medwin. 19, 20. The
Ambassadors. 21, 22. The Wings of the Dove. 23, 24. The Golden Bowl.

Fordham Castle, The Jolly Corner and Julia Bride had not previously been
published. All the early works have been subjected to a revision which
in several cases, notably Daisy Miller and Four Meetings, amounts to
their ruin.


AMERICAN BIBLIOGRAPHY

[When the contents of collections of short stories have been given in
full in the English bibliography they are entered here by their title
only.]

A Passionate Pilgrim and Other Tales: The Last of the Valerii. Eugene
Pickering. The Madonna of the Future. The Romance of Certain Old
Clothes. Madame de Mauves (_James R. Osgood_; present publisher,
_Houghton, Mifflin_). 1875.

Transatlantic Sketches: Articles reprinted from _The Nation_, _The
Atlantic Monthly_, and _The Galaxy_ (_James R. Osgood_; present
publishers, _Houghton, Mifflin_). 1875.

Roderick Hudson (_James R. Osgood_; present publisher, _Houghton,
Mifflin_). 1876.

The American (_James R. Osgood_; present publisher, _Houghton,
Mifflin_). 1877.

Watch and Ward (_Houghton, Osgood_; present publisher, _Houghton,
Mifflin_). 1878.

The Europeans (_Houghton, Osgood_; present publisher, _Houghton,
Mifflin_). 1878.

Daisy Miller (_Harper_). 1878.

An International Episode (_Harper_). 1878.

Hawthorne (_Harper_). 1880.

The Diary of a Man of Fifty and A Bundle of Letters (_Harper_). 1880.

Confidence (_Houghton, Osgood_; present publisher, _Houghton Mifflin_).
1880.

Washington Square. Illustrated by George du Maurier (_Harper_). 1881.

The Portrait of a Lady (_Houghton, Mifflin_). 1881.

Daisy Miller: A Comedy. Privately printed. 1882.

The Siege of London, The Pension Beaurepas, and The Point of View
(_James R. Osgood_; present publisher, _Houghton, Mifflin_). 1883.

Portraits of Places (_James R. Osgood_; present publisher, _Houghton,
Mifflin_). 1883.

Tales of Three Cities (_James R. Osgood_; present publisher, _Houghton,
Mifflin_). 1884.

A Little Tour in France (_James R. Osgood_; present publisher,
_Houghton, Mifflin_). 1884.

The Author of Beltraffio. Pandora. Georgina's Reasons. The Path of Duty.
Four Meetings (_James R. Osgood_; present publisher, _Houghton,
Mifflin_). 1885.

The Bostonians (_Macmillan_). 1886.

The Princess Casamassima (_Macmillan_). 1886.

The Reverberator (_Macmillan_). 1888.

The Aspern Papers (_Macmillan_). 1888.

Partial Portraits (_Macmillan_). 1888.

A London Life (_Macmillan_). 1889.

The Tragic Muse (_Houghton, Mifflin_). 1890.

The Lesson of the Master (_Macmillan_). 1892.

The Real Thing (_Macmillan_). 1893.

The Private Life. Lord Beaupré. The Visits (_Harper_). 1893.

The Wheel of Time. Collaboration. Owen Wingrave (_Harper_). 1893.

Picture and Text. Essays on Art (_Harper_). 1893.

Essays in London (_Harper_). 1893.

Theatricals (_Harper_). 1894.

Theatricals: Second Series (_Harper_). 1895.

Terminations (_Harper_). 1895.

Embarrassments (_Macmillan_). 1896.

The Other House (_Macmillan_). 1896.

The Spoils of Poynton (_Houghton, Mifflin_). 1897.

What Maisie Knew (_Herbert S. Stone_). 1897.

In the Cage (_Herbert S. Stone_). 1898.

The Two Magics (_Macmillan_). 1898.

The Awkward Age (_Harper_). 1899.

The Soft Side (_Macmillan_). 1900.

The Sacred Fount (_Scribner's_). 1901.

The Wings of the Dove (_Scribner's_). 1902.

The Better Sort (_Scribner's_). 1903.

The Ambassadors (_Harper_). 1903.

William Wetmore Story (_Houghton, Mifflin_). 1903.

The Golden Bowl (_Scribner's_). 1904.

English Hours (_Houghton, Mifflin_). 1905.

The Question of our Speech. The Lesson of Balzac (_Houghton, Mifflin_).
1905.

The American Scene (_Harper_). 1907.

Italian Hours (Houghton. Mifflin). 1909.

The Finer Grain (_Scribner's_). 1910.

The Outcry (_Scribner's_). 1911.

A Small Boy (_Scribner's_). 1913.

Notes of a Son and Brother (_Scribner's_). 1914.

Notes on Novelists (_Scribner's_). 1914.

The New York Edition of the Novels and Tales of Mr Henry James was
published in America by Messrs Scribner's Sons.



INDEX


_Altar of the Dead, The_, 100

_Ambassadors, The_, 108-110

_American Scene, The_, 115

_American, The_, 38-40

_Aspern Papers, The_, 88-89

_Atlantic Monthly, The_, 21, 24

_Author of Beltraffio, The_, 78-80

_Awkward Age, The_, 106-107


_Better Sort, The_, 106

_Bostonians, The_, 71-72


Civil War, 19, 21

_Coxon Fund, The_, 92

Criticism, 63-71


_Daisy Miller_, 44-48

_Death of the Lion, The_, 92-93

Decadent Movement, 79-84, 90


Eliot, George, 22, 82

Emerson, 10, 72

_Essays in London_, 66

European War, 117

_Europeans, The_, 41-44


_Finer Grain, The_, 115

Flaubert, 58, 63, 65-66

French literature, 38, 52, 58, 91

_French Poets and Novelists_, 37, 64


_Galaxy, The_, 24

_Golden Bowl, The_, 25, 93, 95, 110-113

_Great Good Place, The_, 105


Hawthorne, 10, 24, 31

Historic sense, 60-63


International situation, 30-33, 109

_In the Cage_, 98


James, Rev. Henry, 12-13, 17-19, 114


_Lady Barbarina_, 49

_Lesson of the Master, The_, 92

_Little Tour in France, A_, 60-61

_London Life, A_, 50, 54


_Madame de Mauves_, 28-30

_Madonna of the Future, The_, 28

_Middle Years, The_, 92


Naturalisation, 117

_Next Time, The_, 92

New York Edition of, _Novels and Tales, The_, 115

_Notes of a Son and Brother_, 116

_Notes on Novelists_, 64


_Other House, The_, 96

_Outcry, The_, 115


_Pandora_, 49

_Partial Portraits_, 67

_Passionate Pilgrim, The_, 25-27, 61

_Pension Beaurepas, The_, 48

Playwriting, 108

_Portrait of a Lady, The_, 67-70

_Princess Casamassima, The_, 73-78


_Religion_, 17-19, 93, 99-101, 105-106

_Reverberator, The_, 50

_Roderick Hudson_, 33-36

_Romance of Certain Old Clothes_, 24


_Sacred Fount, The_, 107

_Siege of London, The_, 48

_Small Boy, A_, 116

_Spoils of Poynton, The_, 97


Temple, Mary, 23, 102

_Tragic Muse, The_, 84, 101

Turgeniev, 56-59, 91

_Turn of the Screw, The_, 97


Velasquez, 86


Ward, Mrs Humphry, 66

_Washington Square_, 55-59

_What Maisie Knew_, 97

_Wings of the Dove_, 101, 104





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