Leon (Joseph) Edel Newton Arvin - Essay

Newton Arvin

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

In the purely biographical sense, nothing could well exceed the care and the patience with which Mr. Edel has accumulated, over many years, the immense materials for his portrait [of Henry James], or, on the whole, the taste, the imaginativeness, the narrative sense with which he has disposed them. This work is not for a moment to be classified along with those flat-footed—and usually slow-paced—literary biographies which put the royalty statement and the railway timetable on the same level with the genuinely revealing and illuminative…. [Heavy as the] burden of documentation is, Mr. Edel never, or very seldom, bends under it. His own literary skills—his feeling for story, his sense of type, and the like—are...

(The entire section is 496 words.)