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The Art of Criticism

Henry James on the Theory and the Practice of Fiction

In The Art of Criticism, William Veeder and Susan M. Griffin have brought together for the first time the best of the Master’s critical work: the most important of his Prefaces, which R. P. Blackmur has called "the most sustained and I think the most eloquent and original piece of literary criticism in existence"; his studies of Hawthorne, George Eliot, Balzac, Zola, de Maupassant, Turgenev, Sante-Beuve, and Arnold; and his essays on the function of criticism and the future of the novel.

The editors have provided what James himself emphasized in his literary criticism—the text’s context. Each selection is framed by an editorial commentary and notes which give its biographical, bibliographical, and critical background and cite other references in James’ work to the topic discussed. This framework, along with the editors’ introduction, gives the reader a sense of the place of these pieces in the history of criticism.

528 pages | 6 x 9 | © 1986

Table of Contents

Part One: Practicing Novelist as Practical Critic
1: Matthew Arnold’s Essays in Criticism (1865)
2: Sainte-Beuve (1880, 1904)
3: Middlemarch (1873)
4: Honoré de Balzac (1875, 1878)
5: From Hawthorne (1879)
6: Ivan Turgénieff (1884, 1888)
Part Two: The Theorist on Fiction and Culture
7: The Art of Fiction (1884, 1888)
8: Guy de Maupassant (1888)
9: Criticism (1891, 1893)
10: The Future of the Novel (1899)
Part Three: The Master and His Prefaces
11: Roderick Hudson (1907)
12: The American (1907)
13: The Portrait of a Lady (1908)
14: The Awkward Age (1908)
15: What Maisie Knew (1908)
16: The Aspern Papers (1908)
17: The Wings of the Dove (1909)
18: The Ambassadors (1909)
19: The Golden Bowl (1909)
Part Four: Genius in Old Age
20: Emile Zola (1903, 1914)
21: The Novel in The Ring and the Book (1912, 1914)

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