Henry James Quotes

Quotes tagged as "henry-james" (showing 1-23 of 23)
Henry James
“The right time is any time that one is still so lucky as to have.”
Henry James

Ray Bradbury
“You can’t learn to write in college. It’s a very bad place for writers because the teachers always think they know more than you do—and they don’t. They have prejudices. They may like Henry James, but what if you don’t want to write like Henry James? They may like John Irving, for instance, who’s the bore of all time. A lot of the people whose work they’ve taught in the schools for the last thirty years, I can’t understand why people read them and why they are taught. The library, on the other hand, has no biases. The information is all there for you to interpret. You don’t have someone telling you what to think. You discover it for yourself.”
Ray Bradbury

T.S. Eliot
“James's critical genius comes out most tellingly in his mastery over, his baffling escape from, Ideas; a mastery and an escape which are perhaps the last test of a superior intelligence. He had a mind so fine that no idea could violate it. [...] In England, ideas run wild and pasture on the emotions; instead of thinking with our feelings (a very different thing) we corrupt our feelings with ideas; we produce the public, the political, the emotional idea, evading sensation and thought. [...] James in his novels is like the best French critics in maintaining a point of view, a view-point untouched by the parasite idea. He is the most intelligent man of his generation."

(Little Review, 1918)”
T.S. Eliot

Henry James
“Live as you like best, and your character will take care of itself. Most things are good for you; the exceptions are very rare.”
Henry James

Truman Capote
“she wanted to know what American writers I liked. "Hawthorne, Henry James, Emily Dickinson…" "No, living." Ah, well, hmm, let's see: how difficult, the rival factor being what it is, for a contemporary author, or would-be author, to confess admiration for another. At last I said, "Not Hemingway—a really dishonest man, the closet-everything. Not Thomas Wolfe—all that purple upchuck; of course, he isn't living. Faulkner, sometimes: Light in August. Fitzgerald, sometimes: Diamond as Big as the Ritz, Tender Is the Night. I really like Willa Cather. Have you read My Mortal Enemy?" With no particular expression, she said, "Actually, I wrote it.”
Truman Capote, Portraits and Observations: The Essays of Truman Capote

W.B. Yeats
“I have just read a long novel by Henry James. Much of it made me think of the priest condemned for a long space to confess nuns.”
W.B. Yeats

Eudora Welty
“Henry James said there isn't any difference between "the English novel" and "the American novel" since there are only two kinds of novels at all, the good and the bad.”
Eudora Welty, On Writing

Amy Poehler
“Gone are the days when you took Henry James on the train and read it in front of cute guys to impress them.”
Amy Poehler, Yes Please

William H. Gass
“The arts of conversation which his circle cultivated were, in great part, the gossipacious arts: that of making much out of little, of displaying your wit and inventive facility, your ability to amuse, without boring your listeners with too many ideas, or unpleasantly stretching their minds on the rack of an “issue.” It was a world which took an intense but mainly anecdotal interest in people, and which was therefore also on its guard against just the same exposure of itself which it so assiduously sought to gain against others.”
William H. Gass, Fiction and the Figures of Life

Will Self
“Henry James tinha apenas meio pênis. Pouca gente sabe disso. O pobre homem perdeu a outra metade correndo atrás de um carro de bombeiro, tentando ser útil como bombeiro amador na sua cidade natal, Boston. Ele tropeçou e caiu debaixo de cascos de cavalos e do chão se levantou pálido e meio homem. Puseram-no numa maca e levaram-no para a sua excepcional família. Seu irmão William olhou para o pobre Henry. Viu o retalho ensanguentado em sua culatra. E desafiou o Criador, quem quer que fosse Ele, a resgatar a integridade física de seu irmão. Na verdade, William estava rezando em nome de todos nós, afinal, ele sabia o irmão que tinha. Sabia também que a partir dali, tudo que poderíamos esperar era por uma série de romances, diversos calhamaços substitutos do pênis. Uma vez que não poderia mais foder quem quer que seja, resolveu nos foder a todos com suas sentenças-serpentinas desenrolando-se em nossas mentes como ideias turgescentes.”
Will Self, Cock & Bull

Christopher  Morley
“It always seemed to me that [Henry James] had a kind of rush of words to the head and never stopped to sort them out properly.”
Christopher Morley, Parnassus on Wheels

Azar Nafisi
“One can believe James's claim to an "imagination of disaster"; so many of his protagonists are unhappy in the end, and yet he gives them an aura of victory. It is because these characters depend on such high degree on their own sense of integrity that for them, victory has nothing to do with happiness. It has more to do with a settling within oneself, a movement inward that makes them whole.”
Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books

H.G. Wells
“The thing [Henry James'] novel is about is always there. It is like a church lit but without a congregation to distract you, with every light and line focused on the high altar. And on the altar, very reverently placed, intensely there, is a dead kitten, an egg-shell, a bit of string.”
H.G. Wells

Azar Nafisi
“The truth is that James, like many other great writers and artists, had chosen his own loyalties and nationality. His true country, his home, was that of the imagination.”
Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books

Barbara   Wright
“She was opinionated without being pushy. When choosing a book to read aloud, she would try to interest him in those spunky English heroines she liked so much. He proposed Thucydides, but he understood how she, being a Quaker, did not want to read about the Peloponnesian War. They came together on Henry James.”
Barbara Wright

Vivian Gornick
“Wharton thought no one could have freedom, but James knew no one wanted freedom.”
Vivian Gornick, The Odd Woman and the City: A Memoir

Deborah Meyler
“But in this case,” he continues, tracing the line of the plasterwork with one finger, “I feel that there is one cliché that sums up my position so admirably that it would be pure egotism to attempt a more interesting periphrasis. Plain speaking, therefore, there is to be.
“There is undoubtedly a strong possibility, notwithstanding the vagaries of contingency and misfortune, that my son might
have fallen—or might, we could say, have voluntarily jumped, in accordance with the ethical codes with which he has been brought up—for a play you have made with some success, although, as I am persuaded you would concede, very little originality.”
Plain speaking if you’re Henry James, perhaps.”
Deborah Meyler, The Bookstore

Jennie Fields
“He experiences everything with a childlike pleasure that she deems the essential element of a good traveler.”
Jennie Fields, The Age of Desire

Garth Risk Hallberg
“Henry James would probably roll over in his grave if he knew he was in any way responsible for this book.”
Garth Risk Hallberg

“Since I've moved here a Chinese takeaway on the main street has ominiously renamed itself from whatever it was before to the Golden Bowl, but other than that, the landscape is the last place on earth that might call Mizuko to mind.”
Olivia Sudjic, Sympathy

“His indirect way of approaching a character or an action, striving to realize it by surrounding rather than invading it, is ideally suited to the indefinite and suggestive presentation of a ghost story.

(introduction to "Sir Edmund Orme" by Henry James)”
Herbert A. Wise, Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural

“[Henry James'] essay's closing lines can either be read neutrally or as a more purposeful wish that this mystery [of Shakespeare's authorship] will one day be resolved by the 'criticism of the future': 'The figured tapestry, the long arras that hides him, is always there ... May it not then be but a question, for the fullness of time, of the finer weapon, the sharper point, the stronger arm, the more extended lunge?' Is Shakespeare hinting here that one day critics will hit upon another, more suitable candidate, identify the individual in whom the man and artist converge and are 'one'? If so, his choice of metaphor - recalling Hamlet's lunge at the arras in the closet scene - is fortunate. Could James have forgotten that the sharp point of Hamlet's weapon finds the wrong man?”
James Shapiro, Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?

Henry James
“I want to see what life makes of you. One thing is certain - it can't spoil you. It may pull you about horribly, but I defy it to break you up.”
Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady