Professor Cargill's book (he is Chairman of the Dept. of English at New York University) is essentially a scholar's book which predicates familiarity not only with the works of Henry James but with the tremendous body of criticism they have occasioned. It is as much a commentary on the commentators of James as on James himself, and each chapter, a discussion piece of the individual novels, is footnoted with as many a as 60 references to the various opinions and interpretations that have been voiced, more often in rebuttal than agreement. This makes it difficult for anyone save the most serious scholar to evaluate Cargill's own assessment of the novels- although he does provide his judgments as well as the circumstances attendant on the writing of the novels and their publication, the literary sources and affiliations, the intent, the achievement. For the general reader, it will be far from the creative criticism of the dean of modern Jamesian appreciation- Leon Edel (whom Cargill does consider the ""best informed"").