Can Strether Step Into the Same River Twice? The Ambassadors as Meta-novel

Don Anderson


It may seem a little late in the day, if not de trop, to presume to defend Henry James against the strictures levelled at him by E. M. Forster more than half a century ago at Cambridge. But Forster's essential misreading of James has recently resurfaced, in the 1980 Northcliffe Lectures which James's compatriot, Mary McCarthy, delivered at University College, London. If two such distinguished writers can so egregiously misconstrue the Master, then perhaps a Defence of Prose may be timely.

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