My copy of The Portrait of a Lady, the one with the Reader’s Supplement, has a section of critics’ quotes about Henry James and his novel(s). After reading this quote by Mr. J.B. Priestly, I decided Mr. Priestly and I could be friends.
Did Henry James breathe the finest oxygen or make do with one collapsed lung? In other words, have we in him one of the supreme masters of the novel, as we are so often told now that he is in fashion, or a novelist of great skill and originality who yet leaves us dissatisfied and dubious?…
Whatever our attitude toward fiction, whatever our personal response to him my be, we cannot possibly deny him a kind of greatness. But there remains the question–is he one of the supreme masters of the novel?
Literature and Western Man by J.B. Priestly, Harper and Brothers, 1960.
What do you think? Is Henry James one of the supreme masters of the novel?