Top Henry James Quotes

Browse top 30 famous quotes and sayings about Henry James by most favorite authors.

Favorite Henry James Quotes

1. "Henry vio como desaparecían entre los árboles, y tan pronto como ya no pudo ver su pelo oscuro, cerró los ojos. Estos seis meses eran de ella para hacer lo que ella quisiera; no tenía ni voz ni voto sobre ellos, y tenía que respetarlo que sin importa lo mucho que le doliera verla marcharse con James.En menos de medio año, volvería a ser suya, y se aseguraría de recordarle por qué se había casado con él en primer lugar. Hasta entonces, la espina que James había clavado en su corazón sólo podía hacerlo más profundamente, pero como había hecho durante los últimos miles de años, tendría que soportarlo.Por Kate. Por sus vidas juntos. Y porque no tenía otra opción.-Henry-"
Author: Aimee Carter
2. "I read everything I could find in English - Twain, Henry James, Hemingway, really everything. And then after a while I started writing shorter pieces in English, and one of them got published in a literary magazine and that's how it got started. After that, graduate school didn't seem very important."
Author: Aleksandar Hemon
3. "She was opinionated without being pushy. When choosing a book to read aloud, she would try to interest him in those spunky English heroines she liked so much. He proposed Thucydides, but he understood how she, being a Quaker, did not want to read about the Peloponnesian War. They came together on Henry James."
Author: Barbara Wright
4. "Write down what your reader needs, no more, no less. Reading should be textured, but not obscure. Henry James could make an entire paragraph out of a single sentence. The reader is completely sensory deprived of the story until the words show the way. If a reader were practiced, then James' prose could be followed and appreciated for its economy and elegance."
Author: Christopher T. Garry
5. "I can manage a prose format as long as I keep closer to Laurence Sterne than to Henry James."
Author: David Antin
6. "Henry James said there isn't any difference between "the English novel" and "the American novel" since there are only two kinds of novels at all, the good and the bad."
Author: Eudora Welty
7. "If Wells recognized any merit in [Henry] James, it was his undeniable talent for using very long sentences in order to say nothing at all. p. 516"
Author: Félix J. Palma
8. "His indirect way of approaching a character or an action, striving to realize it by surrounding rather than invading it, is ideally suited to the indefinite and suggestive presentation of a ghost story.(introduction to "Sir Edmund Orme" by Henry James)"
Author: Herbert A. Wise
9. "[Henry James'] essay's closing lines can either be read neutrally or as a more purposeful wish that this mystery [of Shakespeare's authorship] will one day be resolved by the 'criticism of the future': 'The figured tapestry, the long arras that hides him, is always there ... May it not then be but a question, for the fullness of time, of the finer weapon, the sharper point, the stronger arm, the more extended lunge?' Is Shakespeare hinting here that one day critics will hit upon another, more suitable candidate, identify the individual in whom the man and artist converge and are 'one'? If so, his choice of metaphor - recalling Hamlet's lunge at the arras in the closet scene - is fortunate. Could James have forgotten that the sharp point of Hamlet's weapon finds the wrong man?"
Author: James Shapiro
10. "Nineteenth-century preacher Henry Ward Beecher's last words were "Now comes the mystery." The poet Dylan Thomas, who liked a good drink at least as much as Alaska, said, "I've had eighteen straight whiskeys. I do believe that's a record," before dying. Alaska's favorite was playwright Eugene O'Neill: "Born in a hotel room, and--God damn it--died in a hotel room." Even car-accident victims sometimes have time for last words. Princess Diana said, "Oh God. What's happened?" Movie star James Dean said, "They've got to see us," just before slamming his Porsche into another car. I know so many last words. But I will never know hers."
Author: John Green
11. "Still, my fascination with Buchanan did not abate, nor was I able, as the Seventies set in, to move the novel forward through the constant pastiche and basic fakery of any fiction not fed by the springs of memory -- what Henry James calls (in a letter to Sarah Orne Jewett) the "fatal cheapness [and] mere escamotage" of the "'historic' novel."
Author: John Updike
12. "Modern civilization depends on science … James Smithson was well aware that knowledge should not be viewed as existing in isolated parts, but as a whole, each portion of which throws light on all the other, and that the tendency of all is to improve the human mind, and give it new sources of power and enjoyment … narrow minds think nothing of importance but their own favorite pursuit, but liberal views exclude no branch of science or literature, for they all contribute to sweeten, to adorn, and to embellish life … science is the pursuit above all which impresses us with the capacity of man for intellectual and moral progress and awakens the human intellect to aspiration for a higher condition of humanity.[Joseph Henry was the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, named after its benefactor, James Smithson.]"
Author: Joseph Henry
13. "I can remember a time when I took Henry James's advice--'try to be one of the people on whom nothing is lost!'--deeply to heart. I think I was then imagining that the net effect of becoming one of those people would be one of accretion. Whereas if you truly become someone on whom nothing is lost, then loss will not be lost upon you, either."
Author: Maggie Nelson
14. "On a book by Henry James: "Once you put it down, you simply can't pick it up."
Author: Mark Twain
15. "Once you've put one of his [Henry James] books down, you simply can't pick it up again."
Author: Mark Twain
16. "And it's impossible for me to read Henry James."
Author: Norman MacCaig
17. "Mr. Henry James writes fiction as if it were a painful duty."
Author: Oscar Wilde
18. "In Washington Square, one could still feel the characters of Henry James and the presence of the author himself. Entering the perimeters of the white arch, one was greeted by the sounds of bongos and acoustic guitars, protest singers, political arguments, activists leafleting, older chess players challenged by the young. This open atmosphere was something I had not experienced, simple freedom that did not seem to be oppressive to anyone."
Author: Patti Smith Just Kids
19. "I write longer sentences than most of the others, maybe because I probably like Henry James more than they do."
Author: Peter Straub
20. "The women in my life have all been librarians, English teachers, or booksellers. If they couldn't speak pidgin Tolstoy, articulate Henry James, or give me directions to Usher and Ox, it was no go. I have always longed for education, and pillow talk's the best."
Author: Ray Bradbury
21. "You can't learn to write in college. It's a very bad place for writers because the teachers always think they know more than you do—and they don't. They have prejudices. They may like Henry James, but what if you don't want to write like Henry James? They may like John Irving, for instance, who's the bore of all time. A lot of the people whose work they've taught in the schools for the last thirty years, I can't understand why people read them and why they are taught. The library, on the other hand, has no biases. The information is all there for you to interpret. You don't have someone telling you what to think. You discover it for yourself."
Author: Ray Bradbury
22. "Evan Connell said once that he knew he was finished with a short story when he found himself going through it and taking out commas and then going through the story again and putting the commas back in the same places. I like that way of working on something. I respect that kind of care for what is being done. That's all we have, finally, the words, and they had better be the right ones, with the punctuation in the right places so that they an best say what they are meant to say. If the words are heavy with the writer's own unbridled emotions, or if they are imprecise and inaccurate for some other reason -- if the worlds are in any way blurred -- the reader's eyes will slide right over them and nothing will be achieved. Henry James called this sort of hapless writing 'weak specification'."
Author: Raymond Carver
23. "It's not Jane Austen, it's not Henry James. But this writer, or writers, well, they're pretty damn good too."
Author: Richard Curtis
24. "Are you New World or Old?''Sounds like a novel by Henry James.''Never read him.''Don't. But that was his question and he plumped for the Old."
Author: Robertson Davies
25. "I go downstairs and the books blink at me from the shelves. Or stare. In a trick of the light, a row of them seems to shift very slightly, like a curtain blown by the breeze through an open window. Red is next to blue is next to cream is adjacent to beige. But when I look again, cream is next to green is next to black. A tall book shelters a small book, a huge Folio bullies a cowering line of Quartos. A child's nursery rhyme book does not have the language in which to speak to a Latin dictionary. Chaucer does not know the words in which Henry James communicates but here they are forced to live together, forever speechless."
Author: Susan Hill
26. "[Henry] James's critical genius comes out most tellingly in his mastery over, his baffling escape from, Ideas; a mastery and an escape which are perhaps the last test of a superior intelligence. He had a mind so fine that no idea could violate it. [...] In England, ideas run wild and pasture on the emotions; instead of thinking with our feelings (a very different thing) we corrupt our feelings with ideas; we produce the public, the political, the emotional idea, evading sensation and thought. [...] James in his novels is like the best French critics in maintaining a point of view, a view-point untouched by the parasite idea. He is the most intelligent man of his generation."(Little Review, 1918)"
Author: T.S. Eliot
27. "She wanted to know what American writers I liked. "Hawthorne, Henry James, Emily Dickinson…" "No, living." Ah, well, hmm, let's see: how difficult, the rival factor being what it is, for a contemporary author, or would-be author, to confess admiration for another. At last I said, "Not Hemingway—a really dishonest man, the closet-everything. Not Thomas Wolfe—all that purple upchuck; of course, he isn't living. Faulkner, sometimes: Light in August. Fitzgerald, sometimes: Diamond as Big as the Ritz, Tender Is the Night. I really like Willa Cather. Have you read My Mortal Enemy?" With no particular expression, she said, "Actually, I wrote it."
Author: Truman Capote
28. "Well then, we went and had tea with Henry James today…and Henry James fixed me with his staring blank eye—it is like a childs marble—and said ‘My dear Virginia, they tell me—they tell me—they tell me—that you—as indeed being your fathers daughter nay your grandfathers grandchild—the descendant I may say of a century—of a century—of quill pens and ink—ink—ink pots, yes, yes, yes, they tell me—ahm m m—that you, that you, that you write in short.' This went on in the public street, while we all waited, as farmers wait for the hen to lay an egg—do they?—nervous, polite, and now on this foot now on that."
Author: Virginia Woolf
29. "Henry James was one of the nicest old ladies I ever met."
Author: William Faulkner
30. "In many ways Churchill remained a nineteenth-century man, and by no means a common man. He fit the mold of what Henry James called in English Hours "persons for whom the private machinery of ease has been made to work with extraordinary smoothness."
Author: William R. Manchester

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I'd been blindsided with the most painful knowledge: the first man to ever say he loved me had never loved me at all. His passion had been artificial. His pursuit of me had been choreographed."
Author: Charlaine Harris

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