Writers on Henry James

Lawrence Durrell: "Would you rather read Henry James or be crushed to death by a great weight?"

T. S. Eliot: "He had a mind so fine that no idea could violate it."

Vladimir Nabokov: "He writes with a very sharp nib and the ink is very pale and there is very little of it in his inkpot . . . The style is artistic but it is not the style of an artist . . . Henry James is definitely for non-smokers. He has charm (as the weak blond prose of Turgenev has), but that’s about all."

More from Nabokov: "I have read (or rather reread) 'What Maisie Knew.' It is terrible. Perhaps there is some other Henry James and I am continuously hitting upon the wrong one?"

Oscar Wilde: "Mr. Henry James writes fiction as if it were a painful duty."

Virginia Woolf: "Please tell me what merit you find in Henry James . . . We have his works here, and I read them, and can’t find anything but faintly tinged rose water, urbane and sleek, but vulgar, and as pale as Walter Lamb. Is there really any sense in it?"