Writers in love
with other art forms
“Henry James cared for painting in a way that distinguishes his work…
It is not by mistake that his most famous novel is titled The Portrait of a Lady (1881). Where some novelists give us their main characters in one go, telling us how they look and how they exist and what they are, James achieves clarity only in layers, in strange lighted moments, and in enigmas. “Even in the greatest portraits we find a gate we cannot open,” writes Michael Gorra in Portrait of a Novel, his 2012 book on James’ masterpiece. “There is always a limit to what we can know of the sitter, to how far we can read the soul in the face; the Mona Lisa’s smile provides but the most obvious example.”
Read the full Financial Times article here.