Leon (Joseph) Edel Philip Rahv - Essay

Philip Rahv

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

With this fifth volume, perhaps somewhat too brashly and summarily entitled The Master, Leon Edel at long last brings to a close his biography of James which has been appearing serially since 1953. In its way it is a phenomenal production, if only because of the truly exhaustive research that has gone into it and because it is probably the longest biography in English, and for all I know in any other language, of any single writer—of a writer, moreover, of whom it cannot be said that he really "lived," as even Edel himself admits albeit reluctantly and apologetically.

With so exiguous a life, what James mostly did was to spend his time alone in a room writing, subsisting on impressions and...

(The entire section is 825 words.)