Henry James and his Prose by P.K. Roy

By P.K. Roy

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Out of such shadowings, such "gleams and glooms," the novelist created one of the most profoundly evocative stories ever written. "The Tum of the Screw" illustrates James's matured theory of the ghosdy tale. Awe and mystery, he held, do not hinge on the crime and the cadaver, the dark cas de, chains, and 26 Introduction Frankenstein walking at midnight. James's ghosts walk mosdy in broad daylight. He creates his eerie atmosphere by having the unusual occur on th~ margin of the usual. In this way horror is gready intensified.

The most conspicuous instance of this is undoubtedly 'The Sacred Fount,' which for this reason is an unpleasant as well as mystifying book. " The "snooping" and "prying" of James's ficelles-as he called these confidants and witnesses so conveniently placed in his fictions-would always annoy Edith Wharton. " Part VII of Brownell's "Henry James," which particularly met with her approval, makes the surprising charge that James's culture was limited-if not in mere acquaintanceship, certainly in active awareness-to the thought of the modem period.

As she read Brownell's essay in the page of the Atlantic, Mrs. Wharton noted one observation after another which prompted her applause. " (p. 497) to "He has reversed the relation between his observation and his imagination" (p. 498); thence to column 2 of p. " on to p. 511; all the part about his curiosity, and especially your summing-up of the prying and "snooping" in the Sacred Fount; then every word of part VII; Especially the "Lilliput without Gulliver"-and the whole paragraph it occurs in; rejoicing next in "the chevaux-de-frise of his later style," and the 3rd paragraph of this part most particularly-on, and then (p.

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