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Henry James - Impressions and Expressions of Ijon
November 21st, 2004
08:03 pm

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Henry James
I don't think I like Henry James so far. His prose is subtle, sure, but the two stories I've read so far (Daisy Miller and The Pupil) did not excite me or engage me enough. Does any of you like James's stuff? If so, I'm curious to hear what you like in his works.

Current Mood: autumn happiness
Current Music: Bach -- Cantata BWV135

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From:ukelele
Date:November 22nd, 2004 02:30 am (UTC)
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I haven't read any James, though Reading Lolita in Tehran left me feeling I had to go out and read everything he'd ever written RIGHT NOW. Which is to say, Azar Nafisi can tell you why you should like James, but I can't.
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From:rhc
Date:November 22nd, 2004 12:50 pm (UTC)

James

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I'm not fond of Daisy myself. I really like a lot of middle James, Maisie and the Princess particularly. And late James is the general favorite--I especially like Wings of a Dove--the innocent American girl is still a bit of a pain, but the focus is on others.

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From:ijon
Date:November 26th, 2004 02:48 pm (UTC)

Re: James

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Thanks for commenting! I enjoy your journal so very much.

I shall definitely try the late James when find the time, possibly in my next incarnation, but more likely in the one after that.
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From:batilda
Date:November 25th, 2004 04:40 pm (UTC)
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i've read "the portret of a lady" and didn't like it, though at the time i couldn't exactly explain why. it was written well, and the psychological side was profound and interesting, and yet... now, when i think of it, he is too detached. he invites the reader to analyze deeply and coldly, but he does not make you really FEEL with the characters, no matter how "lovely" and "lovable" they are. maybe i just didn't find a character that i could identify myself with, which is important to me. if this is the reason, then it's a matter of taste of course, just like in everything, actually...
the description of the night of the vigil is amazing in its precision.
funny how this post makes me write on the novel i did not like, while i have no time to write on more urgent issues.
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From:ijon
Date:November 26th, 2004 02:49 pm (UTC)

more urgent issues

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Indeed! Issues such as how you've been! Write, Tasha, write!
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From:zoie_braun
Date:November 26th, 2004 12:38 pm (UTC)
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אני מאוד אוהבת את הנרי ג'ימס, אבל אני לא חושבת שהוא מתאים לרוב האנשים.
כסופר, הכתיבה שלו מתמשכת ובדרך כלל חסרת ריגושים. באופן אישי, אני לא ממש אוהבת ספרים שבנויים על כל מיני פסגות, ואני די מתעבת מתח, אז זה מאוד מתאים לי.
אני חושבת שחלק ניכר ממה שהוא כתב, מה שאני קראתי בכל אופן, עוסק בהחמצות, פספוסים וחוסר משמעות, שהם דברים שלא משנה עד כמה הסופר טוב, עדיין מבאסים.

אם אתה עדיין רוצה לתת לו סיכוי, אני חושבת שכדאי לך לנסות את "הדמות בשטיח" ו"השקרן". "הדמות בשטיח" הוא סיפור קצר שעוסק ביחסי סופר-טקסט-קורא/מבקר, ו"השקרן" היא נובלה על יחסי צייר-מודל-ציור. "החיה שבג'ונגל" היא גם נובלה מצויינת, אבל איטית ומדכאת מאוד. "הדמות בשטיח" הופיע בעברית ביחד עם עוד שני סיפורים/נובלות, גם על סופרים וכתיבה, שלמרות שאני לא זוכרת בדיוק את שמותיהם, זכורים לי כמצויינים.
לא רצוי לקרוא בזמן דיכאון ובעתות משברי אמונה.
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From:ijon
Date:November 26th, 2004 02:37 pm (UTC)
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I don't think it's the lack of an engaging plot that I'm missing in James. I rely on my having read Woolf's To The Lighthouse, which I absolutely admired.

I see James's innovative genius, I admire specific masterly touches of his. But I did not enjoy the two stories I've read as a whole.

The course I'm taking will require me to read The Beast in the Jungle, so we shall soon see about that one. In time, I shall read The Figure in the Carpet as well. I certainly do want to "give him a chance" -- my not enjoying two stories is far from enough for me to ignore the rest of the works of such a celebrated writer.

Thanks for weighing in, Zoie!
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