Take the Henry James pill
Sell me on it.
>>13443971He's the link between the 19th century realism of Tolstoy and Flaubert and the modernists. His dense prose and complex characters anticipate the stream of consciousness immersion of Joyce and Woolf. He uses unreliable narrators, plots which evade tidy resolution, ambiguity, inscrutable symbolism, without ever leaving the reader confused or lost.
>>13443971He was a fag, so that should resonate well with most of this board.
>>13444109What book should one start with? I think I saw an old copy of the turn of the screw somewhere
>>13444113>implying he didn’t fuck his sister
>>13444131His "sister" was a trap
>>13444125Pic related>>13444113>2019>not rating the godfather of queerlit
>>13444131youre thinking of william james
Just finished reading a collection of his short stories. It was my first introduction to Henry James, so I was not sure what to expect. He is part of the canon, so I figured to give him a try. I was initially really interested with his stories, but as they progressed I grew rather bored with them. It got to the point where I was forcing myself to finish the book. It was upsetting. Incidentally, I really want to like him, so I will probably give him another shot in the future and read The Portrait of a Lady. His writing is great (see quote below for reference), but his stories are just kind of boring. I suppose that kind of writing is to be expected from a homosexual aristocratic man in late 1900s.>Meanwhile the real summer days arrived and began to pass, and as I look back upon them they seem to me almost the happiest of my life.
>>13444225I'm ESL what's his easiest work?
>>13445915english second lenguage
>>13445935Try Portrait of a Lady. It's the easiest of his great works and should give you a sense of where you stand.
>>13445604I wouldn't force it if you're not feeling it. First time I read James I found it utterly tedious, thought the prose was awful, didn't see the point of it at all. Tried him again a few years later and loved it
>>13446557I was the same, more than any other writer James came to me as I got older. Not that it's necessary to be older (I'm not that old) or anything, just an anecdote. The only personal difference in my literary taste I can discern is narrative style is much more important to me as a reader than prose style or a particular interest in certain themes.I read an essay about James by Richard Blackmur where he argued James's unique placement as a bridge between Tolstoy or Balzac style realism and Joyce or Faulkner modernism was because James was less a dramatist and more a fableist in that the fringes of characterization didn't interest him like the realization of ideal forms did. I don't know that I totally agree but it does explain why people like that one autist who always shows up in James threads to complain about his characters' lack of depth react as they do (not to mention the normies who can't into having an author mediate his stories with a character's consciousness). But anyway that is a big part of what I love in James - that he cuts away the chaff and gives me straight his acrobatic plays on ideas with masterful dialogue and, at least in late James, a totally unique narrative style that would be cringe and boring in anyone but an absolute master's hands.
>>13446557Thanks, friend. What have you read by him?
>>13448285Most of his major novels, working through his short stories now. Once he clicked there was that great moment when find a writer you really like and he's written like 40 books
>>13444125Start and finish with In The Cage
>>13449395I already have the turn of the screw so I'm gonna start with that
I heard his later works are difficult what is so difficult about them?
>>13449935He has a very 'elongated' style that uses plenty of modifiers, subordinate clauses, negation, etc. It gives his prose a very claustrophobic sense when you first encounter it. If you stick with it though it becomes quite hypnotic, to me it's a sensation you don't get with anyone else's style. But you can see what it's like literally just reading the first page or two of any of the big 3 late novels - it is an all-encompassing style that dominates throughout.
>>13449935read this passage and you tell me>It was with the sense of a, for him, very memorable something that he peered now into the immediate future, and tried, not without compunction, to take that period up where he had, prospectively, left it. But just where the deuce had he left it? The consciousness of dubiety was, for our friend, not, this morning, quite yet clean-cut enough to outline the figures on what she had called his "horizon," between which and himself the twilight was indeed of a quality somewhat intimidating. He had run up, in the course of time, against a good number of "teasers;" and the function of teasing them back—of, as it were, giving them, every now and then, "what for"—was in him so much a habit that he would have been at a loss had there been, on the face of it, nothing to lose. Oh, he always had offered rewards, of course—had ever so liberally pasted the windows of his soul with staring appeals, minute descriptions, promises that knew no bounds. But the actual recovery of the article—the business of drawing and crossing the cheque, blotched though this were with tears of joy—had blankly appeared to him rather in the light of a sacrilege, casting, he sometimes felt, a palpable chill on the fervour of the next quest. It was just this fervour that was threatened as, raising himself on his elbow, he stared at the foot of his bed. That his eyes refused to rest there for more than the fraction of an instant, may be taken—was, even then, taken by Keith Tantalus—as a hint of his recollection that after all the phenomenon wasn't to be singular. Thus the exact repetition, at the foot of Eva's bed, of the shape pendulous at the foot of his was hardly enough to account for the fixity with which he envisaged it, and for which he was to find, some years later, a motive in the (as it turned out) hardly generous fear that Eva had already made the great investigation "on her own." Her very regular breathing presently reassured him that, if she had peeped into "her" stocking, she must have done so in sleep. Whether he should wake her now, or wait for their nurse to wake them both in due course, was a problem presently solved by a new development. It was plain that his sister was now watching him between her eyelashes. He had half expected that. She really was--he had often told her that she really was—magnificent; and her magnificence was never more obvious than in the pause that elapsed before she all of a sudden remarked "They so very indubitably are, you know!"
>>13450714(cont)"Of course he was talking of his friend and fellow-sister, his former teacher, and, above all, of his parents. And the moment that they saw him walking off, they did anything in their power—and, indeed, they did not hesitate. He came down to meet them at the door, where, as he was leaving, he handed them both of his things—in order that they might give him, as they told me, "their full attention during the coming week"—and said: "And it is just as well, dear friends, that so much of this should come to pass. As it is, I am not here. It is a pleasant piece of work. I have, perhaps, a slight idea of what my life would be if I could return to the world of my youth. I hope I have made some progress, though I know that it may be few, and that it may not. I have only one wish: to die happy and free." Then he turned quickly away. "I fear it is not so much the fate of this young man's life that I regret, as his friends," he concluded. For the purpose of making this very difficult life as difficult as possible for me, I am obliged to make two points. The first is to make a distinction between the person who makes it possible, and those who choose a good life are fated to an ill end."
>>13444249Shit I’ve been going around thinking it was Henry. William always struck me as a straight-shooting normalfag (hence pragmatism)
>>13450896#1: didn't fuck his sister#2: if you knew anything about pragmatism you wouldn't call it normalfagI loathe summer /lit/
>>13443879>Please tell me what you find in Henry James. I have disabused Leonard of him; but we have his works here, and I read, and can’t find anything but faintly tinged rose water, urbane and sleek, but vulgar. . . Is there really any sense in it?>t. virginia woolf
>>13450954>be woman>fail to understand something
>>13444225How is 'The Europeans' as an entry point?
This is the most overrated writer. Proves that /lit/'s taste is shit thanks to the Anglo brainwashing. I'd rather read something from Madagascar than this gay burger.
>>13451087Overrated by who? A lot of people dislike his writing.
>>13451059Anon I hate woolf but she's right in that one
>>13451852It's an out of context quote from a private letter. Woolf wrote many appreciative essays analysing James and considered him a great writerhttps://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/w/woolf/virginia/w91d/contents.html
Boring as fuck. A microwave instruction manual is easily more fun reading material.
>>13450923Buddy you're not impressing anyone. Pragmatism is THE normalfag philosophy
>>13451852Even if the metaphor weren't unduly flip it would apply much more accurately to Ernest 'muh iceberg' Hemingway or James 'cuckoldfart' Joyce. Who has ever read any James and said, 'Oh it's all very sweet and light but I wonder if he's on about something...'
>>13451079Fine. Its lightweight compared to his later stuff but will give you a good sense of his usual style and themes in a short accessible package.
Only read Turn of the Screw. Is Daisy Miller an okay book to read next?