Sunday, January 15, 2012

A picture I want in this blog iv

imagine a literature
of power without force

  .. the challenge of economic representation
  so easily becomes, in any of the arts, in-
  tensely interesting to meet. To put all that
  is possible of one's idea into a form and
  compass that will contain and express it on-
  ly by delicate adjustments and an exquisite
  chemistry, so that there will at the end be
  neither a drop of one's liquor left nor a
  hair's breadth of the rim of one's glass to
  spare - every artist will remember how often
  that sort of necessity has carried with it
  its particular inspiration.

Possibly, that quality of a book
one says one could read, cover to
cover, devour in that way, is lit-
erature's answer to every force
on earth; yet I only have this
sense of consumption, backwards,
so that there will be at the end
in me nothing left to displace.

Henry James
The Art of the Novel
  Preface to The Tragic Muse
op. cit.


  1. this is a pretty model to go with such a serious James item - but I like it

  2. The model is pretty but he's not a model here. He is a narrative. I agree that there is a strain between the text and its argument, which is caused by foreshortening. This entry is a successor-in-kind of the Saturday commute which preceded it; in his preface to The Tragic Muse, James is admitting to such an extended building of a Context, that only the subtlest interventions then are necessary to decant and clarify his "story." This portrait, like its 3 predecessors in that sense, is almost a fulcrum for this blog, or brim of the cup if you will. I could well have published the picture without remark; it probably would have boosted the ratings of the entry, if nothing else.