Inna Shpitzberg's Reviews > The Art of Fiction

The Art of Fiction by Henry James
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Jan 10, 11

bookshelves: literary-theory-criticism-history, read-in-2011, lecture, essays
Read on January 10, 2011

"The old evangelical hostility to the novel, which was as explicit as it was narrow, and which regarded it as little less favourable to our immortal part than a stage-play, was in reality far less insulting. The only reason for the existence of a novel is that it does compete with life. "

"The only obligation to which in advance we may hold a novel without incurring the accusation of being arbitrary, is that it be interesting. That general responsibility rests upon it, but it is the only one I can think of. The ways in which it is at liberty to accomplish this result (of interesting us) strike me as innumerable and such as can only suffer from being marked out, or fenced in, by prescription. They are as various as the temperament of man, and they are successful in proportion as they reveal a particular mind, different from others. A novel is in its broadest definition a personal impression of life; that, to begin with, constitutes its value, which is greater or less according to the intensity of the impression. But there will be no intensity at all, and therefore no value, unless there is freedom to feel and say."
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Reading Progress

01/10/2011 page 2
2.0% ""I SHOULD not have affixed so comprehensive a title to these few remarks, necessarily wanting in any completeness, upon a subject the full consideration of which would carry us far, did I not seem to discover a pretext for my temerity in the interesting pamphlet lately published under this name by Mr. Walter Besant. Mr. Besant's lecture at the Royal Institution--the original form of his pamphlet...""

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message 1: by Natasha (new) - added it

Natasha Thanks for the link!

Laura You have excellent books on literary criticism.

Inna Shpitzberg Laura wrote: "You have excellent books on literary criticism."

Thank you.

Michael-Patrick Thank you very much for the link. That is very cool.

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