Cynthia Ozick on Henry James: The Lesson of the Master
August 21, 2012 8:43 AM   Subscribe

Cynthia Ozick on Henry James: The Lesson of the Master: earlier days I felt I had been betrayed by Henry James. I was like the youthful writer in “The Lesson of the Master” who believed in the Master’s call to live immaculately, unspoiled by what we mean when we say “life”—relationship, family mess, distraction, exhaustion, anxiety, above all disappointment.
posted by shivohum (7 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Oh and here's James' actual story, The Lesson of the Master.
posted by shivohum at 8:44 AM on August 21, 2012

It's a good essay, but I'm not registering to read it again.
posted by Egg Shen at 8:45 AM on August 21, 2012

Registrationless versions:

Cynthia Ozick on Henry James

The Lesson of the Master
posted by aconcagua at 8:51 AM on August 21, 2012

Thanks aconcagua, but I think that first NYBooks link only shows a preview and otherwise requires subscription.

Here's a PDF of the essay at the magazine website that doesn't require registration to download.
posted by shivohum at 8:56 AM on August 21, 2012

I wish I had known Cynthia Ozick back in the day. Whenever we met, I would've said to her "Cynthia, you are not Henry James."
posted by octobersurprise at 9:30 AM on August 21, 2012

When I began reading it I thought to myself "And then she read Beast in the Jungle and got over it". But she didn't! Fascinating read. Another brownie point goes to Nabokov for saying the reader shouldn't identify with characters in novels. It's not just lack of imagination: it turns out to be existentially dangerous. (alas, I too am guilty of looking for instructions for life in novels)
posted by Marauding Ennui at 9:44 AM on August 21, 2012

I read "Beast in the Jungle" over 30 years ago and I'm still not over it.
posted by CincyBlues at 5:52 PM on August 21, 2012

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