ART & LIFE POSTCARD BIOGRAPHIES FROM THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY
POSTCARD BIOGRAPHIES FROM THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY
Sunday 23 February 1997
7. H G Wells (1866-1946) on Henry James (1843-1916)
Son of a most ingenious and fashionable theologian. Educated in Europe.The interplay of old world traditions with new is a most frequent and successful theme in his subtle and intricate novels. He achieved humour, great descriptive delicacy (The Golden Bowl) and horror (The Two Magics), but he failed with coarse or primitive feeling. The American Scene, 1906, is a penetrating criticism of his native land. Moved deeply by the earlier stages of the Great War, he sought naturalisation and died an Englishman. H G Wells
It's harder than it looks to pen a mini-biography. Wells found it especially difficult to prune away at his thoughts on the great novelist: he had four attempts. These comments were cut from the final version:
"A subtle experimentalist with the novel. The son of a Unitarian minister whose ingenious theology and precisely elaborate phrasing were the delight of Boston in its great days. Henry James received a European education and the contrast and interplay of European and American traditions furnished the themes of some of his best short stories and novels; Daisy Miller for example and The Ambassadors. He deals most brilliantly with the mental intricacy of highly sophisticated types. His work is burnished with humour. ... He ventured upon the stage and was routed by the gallery ..."
It's a shame that delicious last sentence had to go.
! Portraits, drawings and letters from the "postcard biography" archives are on display at the National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London WC2. Free.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 2 Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
- 3 George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
- 4 Lady al-Qa’ida: On the trail of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the world’s most wanted prisoner
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Strictly Come Dancing 2014: Gregg Wallace joins line-up as final celebrities revealed
Great British Bake Off 2014: Diana Beard quits after falling ill
Great British Bake Off 2014: Ofcom receives 13 complaints about Baked Alaska episode
Nicki Minaj suffers wardrobe malfunction during MTV VMAs performance with Ariana Grande and Jessie J
Friends reunion: Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox perform mini sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- < Previous
- Next >