Quotations From HENRY JAMES

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  • 11.
    Of course you're always at liberty to judge the critic. Judge people as critics, however, and you'll condemn them all!
    Henry James (1843-1916), U.S. author. Ralph Touchett to Isabel Archer, in The Portrait of a Lady, ch. 23 (1881).

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  • 12.
    Live all you can; it's a mistake not to. It doesn't so much matter what you do in particular, so long as you have your life. If you haven't had that what have you had?
    Henry James (1843-1916), U.S. author. Strether, in The Ambassadors, bk. 5, ch. 2 (1903).

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  • 13.
    It exhibits the effort of an essentially prosaic mind to lift itself, by a prolonged muscular strain, into poetry.
    Henry James (1843-1916), U.S. author. repr. In Views and Reviews (1908). Review of Drum Taps (1865). On Whitman's volume of impressions of the Civil War; James later came to be more tolerant of Whitman's verse.

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  • 14.
    In art economy is always beauty.
    Henry James (1843-1916), U.S. author. Preface repr. In The Art of the Novel, ed. R.P. Blackmur (1934). The Altar of the Dead, preface, Preface first published in The Novels and Tales of Henry James, vol. 17, New York ed. (1909). The Altar of the Dead was originally published in 1895.

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  • 15.
    She was a woman who, between courses, could be graceful with her elbows on the table.
    Henry James (1843-1916), U.S. author. The Ambassadors, bk. 7, ch. 1 (1903). Of Madame de Vionnett.

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  • 16.
    The terrible fluidity of self-revelation.
    Henry James (1843-1916), U.S. author. preface repr. In The Art of the Novel, ed. R.P. Blackmur (1934). The Ambassadors, preface, preface first published in The Novels and Tales of Henry James, vol. 21, New York ed. (1909). The Ambassadors was originally published in 1903.
  • 17.
    Most English talk is a quadrille in a sentry-box.
    Henry James (1843-1916), U.S. author. the Duchess, in The Awkward Age, bk. 5, ch. 4 (1899).
  • 18.
    To criticize is to appreciate, to appropriate, to take intellectual possession, to establish in fine a relation with the criticized thing and to make it one's own.
    Henry James (1843-1916), U.S. author. What Maisie Knew, preface (1897). The Preface first appeared in the New York Edition of James's work (1907-1909) and was later republished in The Art of the Novel, ed. R.P. Blackmur (1934).
  • 19.
    He is outside of everything, and alien everywhere. He is an aesthetic solitary. His beautiful, light imagination is the wing that on the autumn evening just brushes the dusky window.
    Henry James (1843-1916), U.S. author. Anthology Library of the World's Best Literature, vol. 12, introduction (1897). Said of Nathaniel Hawthorne.

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  • 20.
    Happy you poets who can be present and so present by a simple flicker of your genius, and not, like the clumsier race, have to lay a train and pile up faggots that may not after prove in the least combustible!
    Henry James (1843-1916), U.S. author. Letter, August 25, 1915, to poet W.B. Yeats, from private collection. This passage was later incorporated into Yeats's poem, "In Memory of Major Robert Gregory."

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