Critical Hostility



Henry James famously did not believe that there was a need to include the explicitly erotic in fiction. Concentrating on sex in isolation, he wrote, led to a failure to convey the way intercourse in the bedroom is related to diverse events, and the broad motivations behind them, in the wider social world:

That sexual passion from which [D’Annunzio] extracts with admirable detached pictures insists on remaining for him only the act of the moment, beginning and ending in itself and disowning any representative character. From the moment it depends on itself alone for its beauty it endangers extremely its distinction, so precarious at the best. For what it represents, precisely, it is poetically interesting; it finds its extension and consummation only in the rest of life. Shut out from the rest of life, shut out from all fruition and assimilation, it has no more dignity than — to use a homely image — the boots and shoes that we see, in the corridors of promiscuous hotels, standing, often in pairs, at the doors of rooms. Detached and associated these clusters of objects present, however obtruded, no importance.1


Double Standard Informed Scholar Sole Focus Defence Counsel Sexual Misconduct 
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© John R. Bradley 2000

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