Read The Figure in the Carpet by Henry James Free Online
Book Title: The Figure in the Carpet|
The size of the: 728 KB
Edition: Dodo Press
Date of issue: April 20th 2007
ISBN 13: 9781406526561
The author of the book: Henry James
Format files: PDF
Read full description of the books:I feel like Henry James misunderstood a key component of reading, literary criticism and book reviews. This story presents an ideal that for me misses the point entirely.
An author has written a book; he receives many positive reviews for his work. They are all flattering and intelligent. However, according to him, none of them see the true majesty of the work. None of them pick up on his supposed subtlety and obscure meaning he layered his writing with. Indeed, they miss the complex figure in the Persian carpet. And he’s rather annoyed. He informs his most popular reviewer of his inadequacy; thus, the reviewer is compelled to find what he missed. He fails dramatically.
For me, this was just beside the point. Authorial intent does not matter. It doesn’t matter that there is a secret that:
“governs every line, it chooses every word, it dots every I, it places every comma.”
Sure, it’s helpful to know what the author intended when you read a book, but what the author intended does not necessarily translate into the book. A good piece of work becomes something more; it transcends the designs of its writer and becomes universal; it becomes something different to each reader or critic. What the author put in does not always come out. So critiquing a reviewer’s work, and informing him that he misses the point, is beside the point. What he saw is what he saw. And if everyone else saw the same, then the problem is not the reader but the writer.
Literary criticism is a field of debate and arguments. There is no right and there is no wrong. Certainly, some arguments are more convincing that others, but the point is that if you read something and can make a case for your opinions- because that’s all criticism is (opinions) - then that’s it. What the author wants his book to be has absolutely nothing to do with your opinion. Well, unless you agree with what he is saying. Most of the time literature becomes something else entirely. Look at Kafka’s work. Is there a right way to read that? Do Shakespeare’s intentions (whatever they were) govern the way in which his plays are endlessly interpreted? No they don’t.
For me, this was an attempt by an insecure author to write back against reviews he has received in a clever way. Perhaps he is suggesting that somewhere along the line someone has missed the point of his work. And to be honest, I don’t really care. That’s not what criticism is about.
Penguin Little Black Classic- 49
The Little Black Classic Collection by penguin looks like it contains lots of hidden gems. I couldn’t help it; they looked so good that I went and bought them all. I shall post a short review after reading each one. No doubt it will take me several months to get through all of them! Hopefully I will find some classic authors, from across the ages, that I may not have come across had I not bought this collection.
Read information about the authorHenry James, OM, son of theologian Henry James Sr., brother of the philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James, was an American-born author, one of the founders and leaders of a school of realism in fiction. He spent much of his life in England and became a British subject shortly before his death. He is primarily known for a series of major novels in which he portrayed the encounter of America with Europe. His plots centered on personal relationships, the proper exercise of power in such relationships, and other moral questions. His method of writing from the point of view of a character within a tale allowed him to explore the phenomena of consciousness and perception, and his style in later works has been compared to impressionist painting.
James insisted that writers in Great Britain and America should be allowed the greatest freedom possible in presenting their view of the world, as French authors were. His imaginative use of point of view, interior monologue and unreliable narrators in his own novels and tales brought a new depth and interest to realistic fiction, and foreshadowed the modernist work of the twentieth century. An extraordinarily productive writer, in addition to his voluminous works of fiction he published articles and books of travel writing, biography, autobiography, and criticism,and wrote plays, some of which were performed during his lifetime with moderate success. His theatrical work is thought to have profoundly influenced his later novels and tales.
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