The Realism of Henry James

The Realism of Henry James - The Realism of Henry James...

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Unformatted text preview: The Realism of Henry James Henry James has had a tremendous influence on the development of the novel. Part of this influence has been through the type of realism that he employs. At the same time, the most frequent criticism against James has been that he is not realistic enough. Many critics have objected that James does not write about life, that his novels are filled with people whom one would never meet in this world. One critic (H.L. Mencken) suggested that James needed a good whiff of the Chicago stock yards so as to get a little life into his novels. Others have suggested that James' world is too narrow and incomplete to warrant the title of a realistic depiction of life. Actually, James' realism is of a special sort. By the early definitions of realism, James is not a realist. The early definitions stated that the novelist should accurately depict life, and the novel should "hold...
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