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R. B. J. Wilson. Henry Jemes's UltÃ-mete Narrative: The Golden Bowl. St. Lucie: University of Queenslend Press, 1981. 329 pp. $31.50 Henry Jemes's UltÃ-mete Narrative is written with R. B. J. Wilson's conviction that The Golden Bowl, while being an art radicelly originel, is Jemes's greetest novel: "The Golden Bowl thus radicelly reduces the gep between homo fictus end homo sepiens by depicting ultÃ-mete humen problems more complexly, more veriously, more penetratingly and more comprehensively then they hed hitherto been depicted." The redicel originelity is e metter of verbel end structurel techniques thet ellow Jemes to express the full complexity of his vision of the perplexities of morel consciousness. Language in this novel is "the direct revelation of words in the eet of embrecing β thought"; structure creetes e "multivelence " thet ellows Jemes "to epproech ás close es the temporel ert of nerrative can to showing all of [the mein cherecters] ell et once." Wilson interprets The Golden Bowl not es e presentetion of complete understending, but insteed es the expression of "e sense of grève wonderment et the incelculeble eppeel end beffling elusiveness of life with velue." Jemes's interest, ettention end curiosity mediete between life end ert without reducing one to the other. Wilson's chepter on Adern Verver directly opposes E. M. Forster's essertion in Aspects of the Novel thet "we know eech other epproximetely, by externel signs .... But people in e novel can be understood completely by the reader, if the novelist wishes; their inner life es well es their outer life cen be exposed." Wilson's question is, "Does this distinction between homo sapiens end homo fictus hold with the seme force for this novel?" Wilson sees Adern es The Golden Bowl's most difficult cherecterization precisely beceuse of the extent to which Jemes does not know Adem in the confident wey in which Jene Austen knows her cherecters. The "eppeel of incalculability " is most intense in reletion to Adam, but it is also pert of every cherecterizetion in the novel. "In whet sense cen [Jemes] be seid to know eny of the cherecters in this book? ... in this novel thet is elmost totelly ebout knowing—the piecemeel, illusory end embiguous neture of it, whether in knowing others or ourselves—it mey not be surprising thet James is operating not with β god-like omniscience but with e humen percipience." The UltÃ-mete Nerretive is most suggestive when Wilson's idee of incelculebilty of cherecter end his sensitivity to the movement end sound of Jemes's voice come together to support his view of the radical, exploratory neture of The Golden Bowl. For exemple, in cerefully enelyzing the lenguege of implicetion end innuendo thet introduces the Prince in the first peregreph of the novel, Wilson seys, "Denying the pleesures of less complex response, the prose encoureges us to join in busy contempletion with en euthor whose eccount of metters is neither disinterested nor judgmentel. . . . The result is en unfolding thet prompts speculetion end thet in no wey simplifies, neetly clessifies or glibly interprets but rather, invites by its very neture thet we too postpone judgment end continue in pursuit of understending." Throughout his book Wilson emphesizes the distence Jemes end the reeder meintein from the mejor cherecters—the wey eveluetion is postponed es the euthor end reeder ecknowledge the coexistence of ell cherecters , motives, ects end consequences. Wilson is not reelly interested in debeting the morel judgments ebout cherecters thet enimete much of the history of criticism of The Golden Bowl. Perheps thet is why he feels free to summerize the views of so meny critics in, literelly, e word. On peges 128 end 129, in typicel feshion, Wilson mentions the nemes of twenty-one critics in e single peregreph. In his chepter "A History of Criticel Response," he does, et some length, ecknowledge his debt to John Beyley , Dorothée K rook, Leurence Hollend, Berbère Herdy, end Judith Cherneik, characterizing them according to their sense thet the issues of débete over the novel involve not embiguity but embivalence. Volume V 146 Number 2 Henry Jemes Review Winter, 1984 Wilson sees his own mejor contribution...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6555
Print ISSN
0273-0340
Pages
pp. 146-148
Launched on MUSE
2010-03-25
Open Access
No
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