Henry James: The Crooked Corridor

1st Edition

Elizabeth Stevenson

Routledge
Published July 31, 2000
Reference - 172 Pages
ISBN 9780765806949 - CAT# Y348612

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Summary

Certain readers and critics have faulted Henry James for two contradictory reasons. He has been thought a writer limited in scope and depth in his treatment of a particular class of people. On the other hand, he has been thought to be too complex, too extreme in putting into difficult language his view of relationships between his chosen characters.Elizabeth Stevenson depicts Henry James as a stout and strong presence in the literature of the English language. From the relatively youthful, straightforward, and simple writing of his early years, to the involved complexities of his later stories, his significance cannot be denied. The barrier seems to have been a misunderstanding on the part of some. It is true nearly all of his characters are well clothed, well fed, and roofed comfortably. They are usually fairly well educated and talk literately and wittily. James rarely treats raw or wild nature, but he is sensitive to landscape as a background. He also does children well, and they are often outside the norms of society. Who is not touched by the uncanny in the tainted children of The Turn of the Screw, whether the taint is actually in the children or in the mind of the governess?In James, one may not travel physically a great deal, except to the resorts of those well-off financially and socially. One does travel extensively through the minds and hearts of his characters. The journey rewards the traveler. The delicacy of James' "melodramatic" insights causes tremor or appreciation from a reader. He describes the way life is, both horrible and wonderful. No one else has expressed this understanding in quite his way. Henry James: The Crooked Corridor will be of interest to students of American literature and general readers interested in biographies.

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