Henry James: the Creative Process

Henry James: the Creative Process

Henry James: the Creative Process

Henry James: the Creative Process

Excerpt

While Henry James had little interest in formal aesthetics per se, he was a dedicated artist and student of art from the earliest stage of his career. He was concerned not only with exploring the technical possibilities of his craft, but also with understanding the nature and function of the creative process itself. Consequently, his writings evince a preoccupation with such matters as the relation of art to experience, the importance of aesthetic perceptions for art, the operation of feeling in the creative process and in the work of art. Other questions of an aesthetic nature, specifically related to the process of expression, concerned James. They dealt with the dramatic development of the substance of a work and the organic nature of its form. These matters are dealt with in the first six chapters of this study. Chapter Seven attempts to illustrate the relation of James's "method" to his aesthetic theories by a discussion of his highly characteristic use of a ghostly element, ambiguity, and a sense of the past. Chapter Eight is concerned with James's concept of prose as an aesthetic medium. The last two chapters deal with aesthetic considerations underlying James's deep concern with the relation of the artist to his work and to society.

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