Thursday, June 08, 2006

Henry James on the Novel's Obligation

Henry James on the novel's obligation:

The only obligation to which in advance we may hold a novel, without incurring the accusation of being arbitrary, is that it be interesting. That general responsibility rests upon it, but it is the only one I can think of. The ways in which it is at liberty to accomplish this result (of interesting us) strike me as innumerable, and such as can only suffer from being marked out or fenced in by prescription.

From Henry James, “The Art of Fiction” (1884).

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