Thursday 29 April 2010
I read The Portrait of a Lady last year, my first serious introduction to the work of Henry James. Did I enjoy it? Well, yes, I suppose I did; I certainly admired James' craftsmanship. More to the point, did I believe it; did I believe in the people he created? Here I have more difficulty. There was something so terribly cerebral and bloodless about the whole thing. I simply cannot conceive of people like Isobel and Gilbert existing in any real sense, outwith, it might be said, ghostly forms of Platonic consciousness. They are like icebergs, drifting to no particular end. I close the book, I turn away, and they are no longer there.