Literary Realism In Henry James The Art Of Fiction

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Henry James was born 15 April 1843 and died 28 February 1916. James was an American author who was one of the greatest English novelists that ever lived (Powers). He was most regarded for his knowledge in literary realism and literary modernism. Clifford James Geertz was born a decade after henry James in the date of 23 August 1926 and he died 30 October 2006 (“The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica”). The strong support for and influence on the practice of symbolic anthropology made him the most influential cultural anthropologist in the United States for three decades. He taught at Princeton university until his death as professor emeritus at the institute for advanced study. Both are well known.
The art of Fiction was written by Henry James and published in 1884 in Longman’s Magazine. James specifically wrote The Art of Fiction as a counter argument against Sir Walter Besant’s lecture “Fiction as One of the Fines Arts” that was given in 1884. The lecture was also a manifesto of literary realism. Besant’s essay had three main points. The first one is that fiction should be valued as a true art such as painting, music, sculpture, and poetry because it’s a fine art on its own. Second, the novel is governed by general laws and can be taught with precision and exactness like the laws of harmony that are used to guide the other true arts (Campbell). Third, to obtain success those rules are necessary, but not
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The novel measure to its own time and have an accurate direction of its future development. The novel was a serious artistic genre for James and he recognizes its unique characteristics. He went beyond to even lay out the fundamental principles that make up its critical analysis. Although the novel is considered as valuable today, it was not always the case when it was first published. It was treated as an inferior literary piece of work that was unworthy of critical
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