Henry James

Henry
James
1843
1916

Anglo-American Novelist, son of Henry James, Sr. and brother of philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James

Author Quotes

If you are going to be pushed you had better jump.

It had begun to be present to him after the first fortnight, it had broken out with the oddest abruptness, this particular wanton wonderment: it met him there--and this was the image under which he himself judged the matter, or at least, not a little, thrilled and flushed with it--very much as he might have been met by some strange figure, some unexpected occupant, at a turn of one of the dim passages of an empty house. The quaint analogy quite hauntingly remained with him, when he didn't indeed rather improve it by a still intenser form: that of his opening a door behind which he would have made sure of finding nothing, a door into a room shuttered and void, and yet so coming, with a great suppressed start, on some quite erect confronting presence, something planted in the middle of the place and facing him through the dusk.

It was as if these depths, constantly bridged over by a structure that was firm enough in spite of its lightness and of its occasional oscillation in the somewhat vertiginous air, invited on occasion, in the interest of their nerves, a dropping of the plummet and a measurement of the abyss. A difference had been made moreover, once for all, by the fact that she had, all the while, not appeared to feel the need of rebutting his charge of an idea within her that she didn't dare express, uttered just before one of the fullest of their later discussions ended.

Kidd, turn off the light to spare my blushes.

Make up to a good one and marry here, and your life will become much more interesting.

No sovereign, no court, no personal loyalty, no aristocracy, no church, no clergy, no army, no diplomatic service, no country gentlemen, no palaces, no castles, nor manors, nor old country-houses, nor parsonages, nor thatched cottages nor ivied ruins; no cathedrals, nor abbeys, nor little Norman churches; no great Universities nor public schools / no Oxford, nor Eton, nor Harrow; no literature, no novels, no museums, no pictures, no political society, no sporting class / no Epsom nor Ascot! Some such list as that might be drawn up of the absent things in American life.

Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task.

She feels in italics and thinks in CAPITALS.

She looked about her again, on her feet, at her scattered melancholy comrades -- some of them so melancholy as to be down on their stomachs in the grass, turned away, ignoring, burrowing; she saw once more, with them, those two faces of the question between which there was so little to choose for inspiration. It was perhaps superficially more striking that one could live if one would; but it was more appealing, insinuating, irresistible in short, that one would live if one could.

I used to call her, in my stupidity ? for want of anything better ? a dove.

If you have work to do, don't wait to feel like it; set to work and you will feel like it.

It had belonged to that idea of the exasperated consciousness of his victim to become a real test for him; since he had quite put it to himself from the first that, oh distinctly! he could cultivate his whole perception. He had felt it as above all open to cultivation--which indeed was but another name for his manner of spending his time. He was bringing it on, bringing it to perfection, by practice; in consequence of which it had grown so fine that he was now aware of impressions, attestations of his general postulate, that couldn't have broken upon him at once.

It was as if, at moments, we were perpetually coming into sight of subjects before which we must stop short, turning suddenly out of alleys that we perceived to be blind, closing with a little bang that made us look at each other--for, like all bangs, it was something louder than we had intended--the doors we had indiscreetly opened.

Leaves of Grass is monstrous because it pretends to persuade the soul while it slights the intellect; because it pretends to gratify the feelings while it outrages the taste.

Middlemarch is a treasure-house of details, but it is an indifferent whole.

No themes are so human as those that reflect for us, out of the confusion of life, the close connection of bliss and bale, of the things that help with the things that hurt, so dangling before us forever that bright hard medal, of so strange an alloy, one face of which is somebody's right and ease and the other somebody's pain and wrong.

Our friend was slightly nervous; that went with his character as a student of fine prose, went with the artist?s general disposition to vibrate

She gazed and wondered, like a child or peasant, and paid her silent tribute to visible grandeur.

She often appeared at my chambers to talk over his lapses; for if, as she declared, she had washed her hands of him, she had carefully preserved the water of this ablution, which she handed about for analysis.

I waited so long for this, I'll keep signing all day if they want. The process has been rough along the way, but it's all over with and it feels good to be a Texas Longhorn.

I'm a perfectly equipped failure... 'Thank goodness you're a failure- it's why I so distinguish you! Anything else to-day is too hideous. Look about you- look at the successes. Would you be one, on your honor?

It had come back to him simply that what he had been looking at all summer was a very rich and beautiful world, and that it had not all been made by sharp railroad men and stock-brokers.

It was one of the secret opinions, such as we all have, of Peter Brench, that his main success in life would have consisted in his never having committed himself about the work, as it was called, of his friend Morgan Mallow.

Life being all inclusion and confusion, and art being all discrimination and selection, the latter, in search of the hard latent value with which it alone is concerned, sniffs round the mass as instinctively and unerringly as a dog suspicious of some buried bone.

Miss Chancellor would have been much happier if the movements she was interested in could have been carried on only by people she liked, and if revolutions, somehow, didn't always have to begin with one's self--with internal convulsions, sacrifices, executions.

Author Picture
First Name
Henry
Last Name
James
Birth Date
1843
Death Date
1916
Bio

Anglo-American Novelist, son of Henry James, Sr. and brother of philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James