THE EXPENSE OF VISION by Laurence Bedwell Holland


Email this review


Professor Holland's style is about as interesting as one yawn after another in a faculty reading room. If one with herculean good will can acclimate to that amblance, there are to be found here any number of enlightening remarks on Henry James, his novels, his essays, his unusual role on the literary scene. Especially developed is James' ""impulse to challenge form against the determination to create and perfect it,"" to divide the world of appearance into its component parts, all of which is staunchly scrutinized from the ramparts of the New Criticism; impressive helpings of symbolic actions, textures, settings, paradoxes, characterizations, themes, manners, morals, allegorical imports etc. There are biographical considerations as well. It's a big book. Of note: the Gothic structure of Aspern and Fount; the esthetic formulations of the Prefaces; the tragi-comic conflict between New England and European values in Ambassadors; the crisis of the imagination and societal disillusionments in Spoils and Portrait; fictive marriages and transferring reality in , James' representational strategy is stressed, his penchant for painting, his debt to Hawthorne and Melville on the one hand, and Sand, Daudet and de Maupassant on the other. Extreme care, thought and penetration are to be observed everywhere. A boon for Jamesian scholars.

Publisher: Princeton Univ. Press