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Henry James The Art Of Fiction Essay Topics


incongruous, might easily be too much for it if an eloquent voice were not sometimes raisedto call attention to the fact that it is at once as free and as serious a branch of literature asany other.

(o sea, no hay un patrón de “cosas” que poner en una novela, sólo importaque ésta cause efecto creíble en el lector).

There is as much difference as there ever was between a good novel and a bad one: the badis swept, and the good subsists and emits its light and stimulates our desire for perfection.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 feeland say

. (Esta es la crítica que James le hace a Besant, ya que el último pretende en suescrito determinar in advance las características de una buena novela; however,James dice que lo más importante al hablar de Arte es la LIBERTAD.)

and Jamesadds: The execution belongs to the author alone; it is what is most personal to him, and wemeasure him by that. The advantage, the luxury, as well as the torment and responsibility of the novelist, is that there is no limit to what he may attempt as an executant--no limit to his possible experiments, efforts, discoveries, successes

.(Aunque James también reconoceque los principios que Besant da in order to write a “good novel” son tan generalesque son bastante aceptables.)

The measure of reality is very difficult to fix. One must write from experience,butexperience is never limited and it is never complete. It is the very atmosphere of the mind;and when the mind is imaginative--much more when it happens to be that of a man of genius--it takes to itself the faintest hints of life, it converts the very pulses of the air intorevelations.

(Aquí, James hace allusion al Quijote. Dice que a pesar de lo “irreal” quees, temina siendo creíble para el lector, ya que el tratamiento que la narración recibees bueno. La experiencia te ayuda a crear historias más reales, pero ésta se puedebasar en simplemente una escena que viste, y de ahí captar todo lo que conlleva esaescena). So James says:

The power to guess the unseen from the seen, to trace theimplication of things, to judge the whole piece by the pattern, the condition of feeling life,in general, so completely that you are well on your way to knowing any particular corner of it--this cluster of gifts may almost be said to constitute experience, and they occur incountry and in town, and in the most differing stages of education

. (O sea, la experienciaconsiste en IMPRESSIONS)

"Write from experience, and experienceonly,"(James).

One can speak best from one's own taste, and I may therefore venture to say that the air of reality (solidity of specification) seems to me to be the supreme virtue of a novel--the meriton which all its other merits (including that conscious moral purpose of which Mr. Besantspeaks) helplessly and submissively depend.

(Una novela es exitosa si consigue ser una“illusion of life”).Besant

characters "must be clear in outline" According to James, this can achievedby the combination of description, dialogues and incidents.

So, he claims: A novel is aliving thing, all one and continuous, like every other organism, and in proportion as it lives

Essay on Henry James' The Art of Fiction

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Henry James' The Art of Fiction

In an essay written in response to an essay written by Walter Besant, both titled "The Art of Fiction", Henry James provides both a new understanding of fiction and greater understand of his own works. James analyses, however briefly, the process of creation of a work of fiction, readers' responses to it, and the requirements of the work and the author. James' language within this essay may be in need of some levity, but he does occasionally break through the haze to make a very strong and effective point: "[T]he only condition that I can think of attaching to the composition of a novel is…that it be sincere" (161)

There is point in which over-analysis takes away from the intention, the point in…show more content…

Restrictions can certainly not be made in regards to the readers' response to the work. Art should not be generated with any concerns for what is "proper" or what will be appropriately pleasing. "It matters little that as a work of art it should really be as little or as much of its essence to supply happy endings, sympathetic characters, and an objective tone, as if it were a work of mechanics" (144). James makes that point that the creation of art should "be perfectly free" (145). The writer should allow for the art and analyze the form afterwards.

Answering Besant's requirement that the "characters must be real and such as might be met with in actual life" (146), James explains it differently; "The characters, the situation, which strike one as real will be those that touch and interest one most" (147). Fiction must not necessarily be "real" and we cannot ask that the writer only write about that which he knows. James weighs impressions with as much importance as experience itself. "If experience consists of impressions, it maybe said that impressions are experience" (149).

James also wishes, in "The Art of Fiction," to make a point on what the necessary subjects of fiction need be, and it is here that we can relate James' theory directly to his own works of fiction. A novel need not contain an adventure; psychological action is enough for James. "A psychological reason is, to my imagination, and object adorable pictorial; to

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