The Short Novels of Henry James

The Short Novels of Henry James

The Short Novels of Henry James

The Short Novels of Henry James

Excerpt

Henry James' literary career began with the writing of short stories, his first story (The Story of a Year) being published in the Atlantic Monthly in 1865. He continued to write short stories throughout his life, but he was dissatisfied with the arbitrary word limit set at from six to eight thousand words for the short story by many American editors who were limited in the amount of space that could be allotted to fiction. "In that dull view," James writes in a preface, "a 'short story' was a 'short story,' and that was the end of it." As a practical solution to this problem of limitation and as an artistic solution to the problem of developing his "little ideas" for stories, he turned to the French genre, "the ideal, the beautiful and blest nouvelle." The nouvelle, as it was developed by Balzac, Turgenev, Maupassant, and Bourget, is a literary form longer than the short story; it has, as James suggests, "the value above all of the idea happily developed. . . ." He was excited by the fitness of this form for what he calls "studies on the minor scale."

Furthermore, as his artistry developed, it became better suited to a form longer than the short story: his intricate and involuted style, his exquisite sense of subtle analysis of character, his refined sense of shades and varieties of experience, his probing of states of awareness and perception, his habit of expanding a given narrative situation by elaborating its dramatic and intellectual possibilities from . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.