The flourish with which the last chapter concluded was, of course, too condescending to James. In criticism, the only conclusions that are useful are those — like the ending of Rasselas — in which ‘nothing is concluded’. Pound once said that the critic ‘must spend some of his time asking questions — which perhaps no-one can answer. It is much more his business to “stir up curiosity” than to insist on acceptances’.1 Perhaps this book has tried too much for ‘acceptances’? In this last chapter, I want to consider a question to which I can offer no definite ‘answer’: ‘What are the qualities in James’s art in which he goes beyond what Flaubert’s art could have taught him?’
KeywordsIdeal Society Moral History Prim Person Lionel Trilling Unrequited Love
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