Henry James - Work Quotes
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There is, I think, no more nutritive or suggestive truth... than that of the perfect dependence of the "moral" sense of a work of art on the amount of felt life concerned in producing it. The question comes back thus, obviously, to the kind and the degree of the artist's prime sensibility, which is the soil out of which his subject springs.
The main object of the novel is to represent life...The success of a work of art, to my mind, may be measured by the degree to which it produces a certain illusion; that illusion makes it appear to us for the time that we have lived another life - that we have had a miraculous enlargement of experience.
In a play, certainly, the subject is of more importance than in any other work of art. Infelicity, triviality, vagueness of subject, may be outweighed in a poem, a novel, or a picture, by charm of manner, by ingenuity of execution; but in a drama the subject is of the essence of the work-it is the work. If it is feeble, the work can have no force; if it is shapeless, the work must be amorphous.