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Adeline R. Tintner. The Museum World of Henry James. Foreword by Leon Edel. Editor's Preface by Daniel Mark Fogel. Ann Arbor: UMI Research P, 1986. 390 pp. 101 illus. $49.95. This book on the integral use Henry James made of diverse art and artifacts in forming and informing his fiction is one of the most important studies ever published concerning America's most critically challenging literary artist. Adeline R. Tintner brings four decades of patient Jamesian and related research, marked along the way by scores of articles on James, to fruition with this bold and sumptuous book, and in so doing steps into the lonely circle of truly first-rate scholars in a busy field. Ms. Tintner had not merely to memorize James—his fiction (including revisions ), criticism, travel writing, art notices, plays, autobiography, letters, and notebooks—but also to bring to bear on his creative processes the results of related reading in Classical, Renaissance, Impressionistic, Symbolistic, Decadent, Art Nouveau, and Early Modern art (including sculpture, architecture, painting, and even cinema) and a variety of literatures (mostly English and French), plus no little incidental awareness of music and mythology and history, where applicable . The result is insightful eclecticism at its most exciting and helpful. Tintner's book is itself a museum complex, though not quite under one roof. Adeline has gerrybuilt her unique complex with a plan in mind, if not slavishly followed. "Addie's Museum" (if I may) has an oneiric shape, with adjacent garden and semi-detached warehouse. At the outset, we are beckoned to approach the place by watching James respond to the Louvre (ch. 1). Then we sidestep into a gallery and a pair of wings (housing some European paintings and one carved casket [ch. 2]; antique sculpture [ch. 3]; and Romantic and portrait paintings [ch. 4]). Then back to the Louvre and elsewhere (ch. 5), and so on to another portrait gallery (mostly displaying John Singer Sargent's work [ch. 6]). By this time we are so under the spell of la nostra guida that we do not mind her rapid forward motion: to garden, Impressionism and more, then Titian and J. M. W. Turner (ch. 7); followed by "the Gallery of Dreamers" (what else might one call the Pre-Raphaelites, Symbolists, and Decadents?—ch. 8). Now the tour becomes less well organized, and we proceed from an academic and genre wing (ch. 9) to a decorous garage sale (with good, ugly, ornamental, and functional items, and even cars and boats [ch. 10]) and then to an American wing (ch. 11). Finally, Ms. Tintner beckons us back to the warehouse, where she lectures on a variety of things, from art spectators to art-tuming-human to manor-as-museum to photographs (both still and motion) and the theory that art belongs where it was created (ch. 12). As we leave, dazzled by die display both of the art and of our guide's savvy, we are handed two catalogues of what we have seen—or missed. The first is a conclusion (ch. 13), while the second is an incredibly full index (of 46 columns). If I have given the impression that Adeline Tintner's book cannot quite be legitimately imaged as a museum, it is because I am a little upset by the fact that the author is responsible for the flawed image herself when she writes, "I ask the reader to follow with me the course art takes in the fiction of James, just as if we were really walking through a museum." In truth, though, Tintner 146 The Henry James Review has ingeniously assembled a lifetime of insights into James and art, which she published in unnumbered essays revised here (and only sometimes footnoted) from originals in ten journals, but which are so rich and varied that they cannot be forced conveniently into any set of chapters, even with titles such as "The Museum outside the Museum" (which has a subsection called "Back to the Museum ") or "The Cabinet of Curiosities" (with a subsection called "The Desk as Hero"). As we "walk" through Addie's Museum, we also move along a generally chronological line from James's earliest fiction to his...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6555
Print ISSN
0273-0340
Pages
pp. 145-147
Launched on MUSE
2010-03-25
Open Access
No
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