The Imagination of Disaster: Evil in the Fiction of Henry James

By J. A. Ward | Go to book overview

NOTES

Works referred to in the Preface, listed in order of reference:

Paul Siwek, The Philosophy of Evil ( New York: Ronald Press, 1951). Henry James, The Complete Plays of Henry James, ed. by Leon Edel ( London: Rupert Hart-Davis, 1949).


CHAPTER ONE
The Consciousness of Evil
1
Charles Baudelaire, French Poets and Novelists ( London: Macmillan & Co., 1919), p. 61.
2
" The Aesthetic Idealism of Henry James," The Question of Henry James, ed. F. W. Dupee ( New York: Henry Holt & Co.), p. 87.
3
" Maule's Well; or Henry James and the Relation of Morals to Manners," Maule's Curse ( Norfolk, Conn.: New Directions, 1938), pp. 187-216.
4
Graham Greene, The Lost Childhood and Other Essays ( London: Heineman, 1951), p. 26.
5
Letters to A. C. Benson and Auguste Monod, ed. E. F. Benson ( London: Elkin Mathews & Marrot, 1930), p. 35. In another letter, however, James seems to minimize the power of evil. When he wrote Vernon Lee about her first novel (dedicated to James), he criticized her "want of perspective and proportion. You are really too savage with your painters and poets and dilettanti; life is less criminal, less obnoxious, less objectionable, less crude, more bon enfant, more mixed and casual, and even in its most offensive manifestations, more pardonable, than the unholy circle with which you have surrounded your heroine" ( The Selected Letters of Henry James, edited with an introduction by Leon Edel [ London: Rupert Hart-Davis, 1956], p. 238). Here James is abhorring Gothic excesses, which overemphasize and exaggerate the noxiousness of evil. James cautions against the artist's falsifying reality and thereby offending "our general sense of 'the way things happen'" ( The Art of the Novel: Critical Prefaces by Henry James, with an introduction by Richard P. Blackmur [ New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1934], p. 34). James seems critical of Vernon Lee's use of fiction as a vehicle for moral instruction rather than as a reflection of life: "You have proposed to yourself too little to make a firm, compact work--and you have been too much in a moral passion. . . . Morality is hot--but art is icy" ( Selected Letters, p. 207).

-172-

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The Imagination of Disaster: Evil in the Fiction of Henry James
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Contents xi
  • Chapter One - the Consciousness of Evil 3
  • Chapter Two - Evil and the International Theme 18
  • Chapter Three - Evil in London 56
  • Chapter Four - Evil and the Major Phase 102
  • Chapter Five - the Last Tales: the Appalled Appalling 157
  • Conclusion 168
  • Notes 172
  • Index 183
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