ABSTRACT

IfMr.HenryJameshadceasedtowriteabout1890,hemighthavebeen rememberedforhischoiceofthisfresh,distinctplotofground,for hishappyandvariedcultivationofit.Theflowerswerealittle'pale,' butfulloftender,clearcolour,unlikeanyothers.Therewashumour; andthepageswerefullofasoftlystingingwit.TheEnglishwasthat oftheeasyclassicaltradition,alittlechequered,asbefittedthescene, withtheFrenchandAmericantongues.Itwascareful;itflowedand didnotstick;itdidnotfirstofalltrytoexpressembroiledfeelingor imperceptiblechangesoftemperature.Inafewpieces,like'The AspernPapers'(1888),thestylemighthaveseemedmoretense,andthe subjectbizarreandalittleghostly.Butfewwouldhaveforecastthisas thefuturefteldofthenovelist.ThePrincessCasamassima,withits wonderfulopeningsceneoftragicrage,wanderedintosomeextravagance.Thesewereexperiments;theaccountmightseemtohavebeen closed.