That means Henry James' The Wings of the Dove, probably the most challenging choice on my spin list. I have to admit I admire, but do not necessarily love, the late Henry James novels. (While early to middle Henry James is a different, happier story...) But I've had this volume on my shelf for years and clearly now's the time!
|Hubert looks maybe just a bit daunted?|
I don't blame Hubert, it does look daunting!!ReplyDelete
After The Portrait of a Lady, I haven't succeeded with James'. I've tried The Golden Bowl, but it's so flat I DNF-ed it. Then I read The Turn of the Screw (maybe his shorter works more bearable?), but I wasn't impressed either. I should perhaps give him one more chance, but I don't know yet what I should read. Either Wings of Dove or Washington Square? Or maybe just a novella (Daisy Miller?)
Maybe your thoughts on Wings of Dove will help me make decision. :))
I don't particularly warm to James, but I love Washington Square. The battle of the minds in it is amazing.Delete
About The Turn of the Screw, both of you should watch Jack Clayton's The Innocents. It's an adaptation, and also brilliant as a film on its own.
Fanda, proceed directly to Washington Square. ;-) It's a great novel, and very readable.Delete
The Turn of the Screw was definitely one of those things I admired more than I loved.
I was especially frustrated by the Ambassadors. There's a great comic novel in there, and he gets something out of that infernal late prose style, but I just feel he loses more by it than he gains.
I've never even tried The Golden Bowl. That's heroic.
I'd never heard of the Innocents. That does look good.
I've read Turn of the Screw twice and can't see why people like it, but Washington Square and Portrait of a Lady are great.Delete
Reese, good luck with Wings of the Dove -- I look forward to seeing how you like it!
And, as advertised, I stole your #6...
I love this book! Though I get that Henry James is not for everyone. Happy reading! :DReplyDelete
Good to hear! I've generally liked his earlier ones better.Delete
Oh, I didn't know Henry James was different. I thought he was always difficult. Which is why I've been avoiding him although at some point I think I read The Portrait of a Lady but remember nothing about it. Which would you recommend reading for a good experience?ReplyDelete
Henry James' prose style definitely gets more intricate and difficult as time goes on. Washington Square is definitely great, and a much easier read than his later stuff. But it is a tragedy. The Europeans is short, comic, though less amazing than Washington Square.Delete
My understanding is that James's sentences became more intricate and knotty since he started dictating his books instead of writing them down.Delete
You probably know about Edith Wharton's anecdote about James when he was asked about direction: https://edithwhartonsociety.wordpress.com/2014/08/08/reply-edith-wharton-on-henry-jamess-asking-for-directions/
Ha! I hadn't seen that Edith Wharton anecdote--that's great.Delete
I've also heard his late turn attributed to his reaction to having failed on the stage, but I don't know. It does seem to me he's moving in that direction already in The Bostonians & The Portrait of a Lady.
He certainly likes subtlety & ambiguity, so I suppose he creates a style that matches the things he wants to say & the way he depicts his characters.Delete
Can be frustrating sometimes though.