Summer Reading

Henry James, by John Singer Sargent (died 1925...
Image via Wikipedia

For the past two days, I’ve had an intense compulsion to read something by Henry James.

My first response was to lie down and hope it went away.

It didn’t.

So I watched Wings of a Dove for the fourth time. That wasn’t enough.

Today I searched Netflix for more film adaptations of James’ work. Most are on DVD rather than streaming, so I watched The Bostonians for the second time.

My yen for James remains. What to do, what to do.

My objection to James isn’t that he, as Mrs. Henry Adams observed, “chewed more than he bit off,” but that I can’t always tell what he’s chewing.

James is subtle. I am not.

Solution: Read more James.


One possibility remains: Instead of wanting to read Henry James, perhaps I just want to read something containing compound-complex sentences.

Whose compound-complex sentences, I don’t know.

Not Edith Wharton’s. Not William Dean Howells’. Not E. M. Forster’s.

But I’m going to do my best to find out.

Because I have a feeling that after I finish with Henry, I’ll move on to his brother William. A Pluralistic Universe. An American lit. professor recommended it to me. After I’d read Varieties of Religious Experience. In 1972.

I’ve never gotten around to it.

What a shame if I were to open a book and accidentally engage a brain cell.

At least not until cooler weather.

4 thoughts on “Summer Reading

  1. Brilliant post, I’m off to get A Pluralistic Universe from Amazon immediately!!! As for Henry, my solution is to get an audiobook and play it through the night. Then you get subliminal compound-somplex sentences. If find they appear magically in my work for days afterwards 🙂


    1. My professor said A Pluralistic Universe is mind-boggling. I’d not thought about audiobooks. And listening them overnight is a wonderful idea. I’ve got to look into it. That would be an excuse to buy an MP3 player, right?


    1. I don’t feel quite like Dickens now. And the Russians–that’s more than I can do at this time. All the characters have at least three names, and it takes such toil to remember who is who. Of course, with Henry James, you have to remember what it what, and I guess that’s not too much different.


Comments are closed.