By J. C. Hallman
William and Henry James served as every one other’s muse and critic. for example, the development of the demise of Mrs. Sands illustrates what H’ry by no means said: whether the “matter” of his fiction used to be gentle, the minds at the back of it lived and died as if it used to be very heavy certainly. He looked as if it would top comprehend this himself purely after Wm totally fleshed out his procedure. “I can’t now clarify store by way of the actual fact of the spell itself . . . that [Pragmatism] solid upon me,” H’ry wrote in 1907. “All my existence i've got . . . unconsciously pragmatised.”
Wm used to be by no means in a position to be really so gracious in go back. In 1868, he lashed out on the “every day” parts of 2 of H’ry’s early tales, after which defined: “I have uttered this lengthy rigmarole in a dogmatic demeanour, as one speaks, to himself, yet in fact you are going to use it simply as a mass to react opposed to on your personal approach, in order that it could serve you a few sturdy purpose.” He believed he was once doing H’ry a carrier as he criticized a starting to be tendency towards “over-refinement” or “curliness” of fashion. “I imagine it should be of use to you,” he wrote in 1872, “to have any exact feedback fm even a fallacious pass judgement on, and also you don’t get a lot fm. anybody else.” For the main half, H’ry agreed. “I desire you'll proceed to offer me, for those who can, your loose influence of my functionality. it's a great point to have a few one write to 1 of one’s issues as though one have been a 3d individual & you're the in basic terms person who will do this.”
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Extra resources for Wm & H'ry: Literature, Love, and the Letters between Wiliam and Henry James
An answer to the problem of description had begun to manifest in H’ry’s fiction long before. In ïœ±ïœ¸ïœ¹ïœ², The Lesson of the Master (Wm: “Most perfect . . ” Even earlier, The Tragic Muse (Wm: “With . . your tragic muse, and . . my psychology . . ïœ±ïœ¸ïœ¹ïœ° will be known as the great epocal year in American literature”) employed impressions as the currency characters exchanged in fruitless attempts at commerce of minds: “She only watched, in Peter’s eyes, for this gentleman’s impression of it.
What realities? Wm may have had an idea, as scarcely a month later it struck him that he might try his hand at reviewing Herman Grimm’s latest novel. He had nothing else to do—why not try? He related to H’ry how the work went—“sweating fearfully for three days, erasing, tear26 ing my hair, copying, recopying &c, &c. . Style is not my forte”—and he enclosed the finished product such that H’ry might correct it and see it through to publication (which he did). Wm’s letter was harder on Grimm than the review had been: “[He has] an extreme belief in the existence and worth of truth .
For his part, 20 Wm vacillated in his response to H’ry’s fiction. He once praised the “successive psychological steps” in another early story, “Poor Richard” (Wm had read and critiqued an early draft), and in ïœ±ïœ¸ïœ¸ïœ¸ he claimed there would be no better “delicate national psychologist” than H’ry, should he become one. More often, however, Wm was baffled by H’ry’s work. He claimed to read fiction for “refreshment,” and while he allowed that the “‘étude’ style of novel” should not be judged by a standard of refreshment, he could not keep himself from chastising his brother.