Sunday, July 16, 2006

Oh, Henry James...

Well, it's a first: I finally read, from start to finish, a book by Henry James, The Golden Bowl.

I feel conflicted. I don't want to dismiss him (as most everyone I discuss literature with has), because he clearly has talent. But I think he shows off far too much; sentences are needlessly ornate, similes are forced (e.g., "Fanny was wrapped in her thoughts still more closely than in the lemon-coloured mantle that protected her bare shoulders...").

Anyhow, on with the quotes. After a certain point, I stopped being able to process much of what was going on, so they may not be too insightful. The real highlight for me, in all honesty, was that one of the characters was named "Fanny Assingham," which will now be my pen name, I think.

"What was this so important step he had just taken but the desire for some new history that should, so far as possible, contradict, and even if need be flatly dishonour, the old? If what had come to him wouldn't do he would make something different."

"What was at all events not permanently hidden from him was a truth much less invidious about his years of darkness. It was the strange scheme of things again: the years of darkness had been needed to render possible the years of light."

"He had these several days groped and groped for an object that lay at his feet and as to which his blindness came from his stupidly looking beyond. It had sat all the while at his hearth-stone, whence it now gazed up in his face."

"That was what she was learning to do, to fill out as a matter of course her appointed, her expected, her imposed character."

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