Monday, April 30, 2007

Can Marriage and
Writing Co-Exist?

None other than the master American novelist Henry James, a lifelong bachelor, had his doubts.
This interesting piece in the excellent British paper The Guardian explores James' internal struggle between his creative life and his personal life. Though he never married, he was nevertheless torn throughout his life between the demands of his art and of his wallet.

"All of his life as a writer, James worried about both the purity of his work and the making of money. It was as though he himself was a married couple. One part of him cared for the fullness of art, and the other part for the fullness of the cupboard. He sought both with stubborn, steadfast zeal. Sometimes when he realised that he could not achieve one without failing the other, he argued with himself."

So let's say you've never read anything from Henry James. What would I recommend as the most indespensible of his books? That's easy, actually. To me, Portrait of a Lady is his real masterpiece, and one of the greatest novels ever written in English. If you haven't yet enjoyed it, I encourage you to get yourself to a library or a bookstore at your first available opportunity, and secure yourself a copy. While life carries no guarantees, I think you'll be happy you did.

3 Comments:

At 11:39 AM, Blogger Christine said...

on the other hand, as John Gardner said, if you want to be a novelist, the best thing you can get yourself is a spouse to support you financially.

 
At 11:44 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Good point, Christine. Touche. Does that suggest that marriage is in your future?

So how are things out on the east coast, and when is Cleveland's leading expat librarian planning to return? We'll throw you the biggest party on record if and when you do.

 
At 4:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And everyone knows you are a real party hound, John, working the tree lawn and just so happy always mixing with the writing community. mfh

 

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