Cover image for Critical essays on Henry James : the late novels
Title:
Critical essays on Henry James : the late novels
Author:
Gargano, James W.
Publication Information:
Boston, Mass. : G.K. Hall, [1987]

©1987
Physical Description:
ix, 212 pages : portrait ; 25 cm.
Language:
English
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780816188772

9780816188826
Format :
Book

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PS2117 .C75 1987 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Reviews 1

Choice Review

To chart the changes in James's critical reputation is to create a graph that resembles the Dow-Jones industrial average: it rises, it falls, but, over time, it creeps ever upward. The earliest reviewers made a distinction between James's subjects and his descriptions of them, which were often condemned as unnecessarily orotund, whereas the later ones reveal this century's nascent preoccupation with language as subject-as the Edinburgh Review reported in 1903, a James novel deals with ``the monotonous in life treated unmonotonously.'' Scholars know from such sources as Linda J. Taylor's Henry James 1866-1916: A Reference Guide (CH, Jan '83) that the later James was as widely reviewed as the earlier, but the late reviews collected here seem more curtly dismissive than the earlier ones; as his novels moved away from the palpable and into the further reaches of psychological realism, it is clear that reviewers began to skim his books (or not to finish them at all) and hide their laziness behind bluster and vitriol. In recent years, of course, James has been completely rehabilitated by academic essayists, whose work is also represented here. Gargano's selections are wise (he seems to have picked the best-argued writing on James rather than the most or least favorable), even if two of the three essays commissioned especially for these books deal with topics of limited importance. Mainly for graduate libraries.-D. Kirby, Florida State University