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The Outcry (1911) NOVEL by Henry James…
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The Outcry (1911) NOVEL by Henry James (World's Classics) (original: 1911; edição: 2016)

de Henry James (Autor)

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The Outcry, Henry James's final novel, is an effervescent comedy of money and manners. Breckenridge Bender, a very rich American with a distinct resemblance to J.P. Morgan, arrives in England with the purpose of acquiring some very great art; he is directed to Dedborough, the estate of the debt-ridden Lord Theign. But plutocrat and aristocrat come into unexpected conflict when a young connoisseur, out to establish his own reputation, declares a prize painting from the lord's collection to be in fact an even rarer, and pricier, work than had been thought. A popular success in its own day, but long unavailable since and now almost unknown, The Outcry is one of the most surprising and amusing of James's works. Here he explores questions of privilege and initiative, repute and honor, high art and base calculation, revisiting some of his favorite themes with a deft and winning touch.… (mais)
Membro:GlennRussell
Título:The Outcry (1911) NOVEL by Henry James (World's Classics)
Autores:Henry James (Autor)
Informação:CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2016), 102 pages
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The Outcry de Henry James (1911)

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"William James made the request to brother Henry: write a new book with no twilight or mustiness in the plot, with great vigor and decisiveness in the action, no fencing in the dialogue, no psychological commentaries, and absolute straightness in the style. He did just that with The Outcry – well, but some fencing in the dialogue." from Jean Strouse's Introduction to this New York Review Books edition, the very first edition of The Outcry to be published since the novel's initial printing back in 1911 when Henry James mailed off his finished work to his publisher.

The Outcry is both a light, amusing comedy of manners and a subtly scathing social commentary on the shifting values and cultural collisions of old world England and new world America in the first decade of the twentieth century. I’ll be the first to admit the dialogue is a bit staged, since, after all, Henry James simply converted his not-so-popular stage play The Outcry by adding character descriptions and stage directions to create his novel. Maybe I’m getting a bit soft in the head in the later years of my sixth decade but I found the work positively charming, most especially since art appreciation is a central theme. The 1911 reading public agreed - the novel enjoyed a popular success back in the day.

The characters are six in number: Lord Theign, English aristocrat and art collector; Lady Grace, Theign’s charming, attractive younger daughter; Breckenridge Bender, super-wealthy American industrialist and art buyer; Lord John, acquaintance of Bender and the man wishing to make Lady Grace his wife; Lady Sandgate, friend of Theign and herself an owner of valuable artworks; Huge Crimble, handsome, gentile connoisseur and expert art critic.

The novel itself is divided into three parts: part one at Lord Theign’s estate, Dedborough Place, and part two and part three at the home of Lady Sandgate. There are all sorts of ups and downs involving the relationships of these men and women fueled by the ups and downs of the value placed on a few key works of art. Rather than saying anything further about plot so as to spoil, below are my observations on the characters themselves along with photos (and a portrait) capturing, by my eye, the spirit of each:



Lord Theign is pitch-perfect for James' exploration of the dynamics of wealth and privilege among the British aristocracy. During the scene of his big blow up with daughter Lady Grace, Lord Theign scoffingly growls that Hugh Crimble is her tenth-rate friend (the tacit understanding Hugh is a mere intellectual art critic and not a Lord like Lord John, an aristocrat Grace refused to accept as her husband, very much against her father's wishes). And later on, when Lady Grace proposes to her father that he keep the country and culture of England in mind when he considers selling the valuable art in his possession, Lord Theign cries in stupefaction, “And pray who in the world’s England unless I am?”



Lady Grace is the novel’s heroine, a woman of strength (I mean, take a look at this portrait. Does this young lady look like someone who will take any nonsense from a man, no matter high ranking? And that’s exactly why I chose this painting!) She tells Hugh Crimble that Breckenridge Bender is nothing more than an ogre and, a bit further on, when pressed by Lord John in his insistence for an answer to his proposal of matrimony, Lady Grace replies “I’ve got to say-sorry as I am-that if you must have an answer it’s this: that never, Lord John, never, can there be anything more between us. No , no, never,” she repeated as she went – “never, never, never!” You tell him, Lady Grace! That’s the way to stand up to a man Henry James described as having a “delicacy of brutality.”



Modeled on J.P.Morgan (pictured above), Breckenridge Bender is all business and nothing but business. Bender came to Dedborough Place to look at the pictures and look at pictures is what he will do. He declined offers of English tea; he declined a stroll in the park: “Are there any pictures in the park?” He marches his way through the hall of thirty masterpieces as if fruit for the picking for his dollar investments, as if all of art is nothing more than a subcategory of that supremely important value: making money. Reading ever so slightly between the lines, we are given to understand Mr. Bender doesn’t have an aesthetic bone in his beefy body. One scene I found particularly humorous – in one exchange, Hugh Crimble asks Bender: “Then why are you – as if you were a banished Romeo – so keen for news from Verona?” To this odd mixture of business and literature Mr. Bender made no reply, contenting himself with but a large vague blandness that wore in him somehow the mark of tested utility.” Touché, Henry James!



"Lord John, who was a young man of a rambling but not of an idle eye, fixed her an instant with a surprise that was yet not steeped in compassion." Ouch! Sounds like our man lacks a large heart. And, again, this time when viewing a work of art in his mind's eye: "Lord John seemed to look a moment not so much as the image evoked, in which he wasn't interested, as at certain possibilities lurking behind it." Henry James portrays the shifting values of the times, in many cases, from appreciation of the aesthetic to the strictly utilitarian.



"Lady Sandgate, with a slight flush, turned it over, "I delight in his triumph, and whatever I do is at least above board."" The novel is chock-full of tension and drama. What is needed is at least one personage who is both optimistic and a peacekeeper - Lady Sandgate is our lady.



“Lady Grace had turned to meet Mr. Hugh Crimble, whose pleasure in at once finding her lighted his keen countenance and broke into easy words. “So awfully kind of you-in the midst of the great doings I noticed-to have found a beautiful minute for me.”” Based, in part, on James’ novelist friend, Hugh Walpole, and also, in part, on aesthetician Roger Fry, Hugh Crimble is the novel’s hero. Young, dapper, sensitive, refined; throughout his dealings with the truth of art, Hugh is also forever attending to Lady Grace’s feelings. But how much influence will Hugh ultimately swing in the new world where art is becoming so directly linked with money? And will Hugh win the approval of Lord Theign as his relationship with Lady Grace deepens? You will have to read this overlooked Henry James classic to find out. ( )
  Glenn_Russell | Nov 13, 2018 |
Read during Winter 2004/2005

I finished this more out of shear cussedness than anything else. There are plenty of times I've appreciated Henry James, I'm sure of it, but this one just made me clutch my head in agony. Wordy and incomprehensible for most of it, yet described as sparkling and funny on the back cover. Call me a philistine, I just didn't like it at all.
  amyem58 | Jul 3, 2014 |
Henry James’s The Outcry, originally produced as a play in It’s very obvious that it’s a play, and in fact what’s not so good about it is James’s “stage directions” about how something was said or how this or that character looked, all in what I take to be his late style, which is precious and overworked, with lots of elegant repetitions with variations, alliteration, and other effects. Describing the rich American art collector, Breckenridge Bender, James says, “Substantial, powerful, easy, he shone as with a glorious cleanness, a supplied and equipped and appointed sanity and security; aids to action that might have figured a pair of very ample wings—wide pinions for the present conveniently folded, but that he would ceratinly on occasion agitate for great efforts and spread for great flights” (20). This seems to me both mannered and fantastic: an absurd image described in euphuistic prose. Lady Grace, the younger daughter in Lord Theign’s house (Dedborough—is James thinking of the house at Hampstead heath—what’s its name?) listening worshipfully to the young art critic/connoisseur Hugh Crimble: “This she beautifully showed that she beautifully saw” (36). On the other hand, James treats all those questions about the ownership or stewardship of art that he raises elsewhere, and here he does it in a comedy, a romantic comedy, no less, with two couples. And he’s good on the ambiguities of keeping “national treasures” in England, (when most were originally ravaged, one way or another, from other countries) and the cash nexus between connoisseurship and art dealing, a topic very timely I think just as Berenson is beginning to make his mark. ( )
  michaelm42071 | Sep 4, 2009 |
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Strouse, JeanIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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The Outcry, Henry James's final novel, is an effervescent comedy of money and manners. Breckenridge Bender, a very rich American with a distinct resemblance to J.P. Morgan, arrives in England with the purpose of acquiring some very great art; he is directed to Dedborough, the estate of the debt-ridden Lord Theign. But plutocrat and aristocrat come into unexpected conflict when a young connoisseur, out to establish his own reputation, declares a prize painting from the lord's collection to be in fact an even rarer, and pricier, work than had been thought. A popular success in its own day, but long unavailable since and now almost unknown, The Outcry is one of the most surprising and amusing of James's works. Here he explores questions of privilege and initiative, repute and honor, high art and base calculation, revisiting some of his favorite themes with a deft and winning touch.

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