Leon (Joseph) Edel Howard Mumford Jones - Essay

Howard Mumford Jones

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[Henry James, the] foremost American novelist, is entitled to rich and ample writing, and Mr. Edel has an encyclopedic knowledge of James. One may admire his patience, yet question the value of his thousand, incessant details [included in Henry James: The Conquest of London, 1870–1881 and Henry James: The Middle Years, 1882–1895]. To list piece by piece the furniture in a Boston hotel room casually occupied, to note that in his London lodgings on Bolton Street James faced a sooty, brown, brick wall, to dilate for a paragraph on the delicate dilemma of entertaining Maupassant at dinner when the clubs were closed … these trivia, though "true" enough, clog narrative. Biography is, after all, narrative...

(The entire section is 675 words.)