literature / OTTW

OTTW: Henry James and the Ladies

The end of last semester was marked by a painful slog through Henry James’s foggiest work, The American Scene. Late-career James was a bit of a windbag. Thankfully this semester is being ushered in by mid-career sassy James, who has this to say regarding his suffragette main-character in The Bostonians:

“She thought him [her cousin, Basil Ransom] very handsome as he said this, but reflected that unfortunately men didn’t care for the truth, especially the new kinds, in proportion as they were good-looking. She had, however, a moral resource that she could always fall back upon; it had already been a comfort to her, on occasions of acute feeling, that she hated men as a class, anyway.”

Which is basically a late-19th century way of repeating Anna’s 18th century motto from Clarissa: “Distance to the men-wretches!”




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