On June 12th in Suiyuan Campus, the School of Foreign Languages and Cultures enjoyed a revealing lecture on “Henry James and the Art of Criticism” delivered by Professor Philip Horne from University College London (UCL), General Editor of The Cambridge Edition of the Complete Fiction of Henry James.
Starting with James’s famous remark in his critical essay The Art of Fiction that goes “a novel is a novel, as a pudding is a pudding, and that our only business with it could be to swallow it”, Professor Horne summarized the similarity between reading and eating and encouraged both faculty and students to coordinate extensive reading with deep reflection. Subsequently, by emphasizing two key words “reality” and “life”, Professor Horne analyzed some major letters of James and shed light on the correlation between James’s great literary accomplishments and his art of criticism. Additionally, Professor Horne mentioned James’s intimate friends Robert Louis Stevenson and William Dean Howells. A close reading of the correspondences and the literary criticism of these three literary giants, as Professor Horne advocated, could be rewarded with a better understanding of James’s unique art of criticism—namely, determined efforts could reveal some telling lessons behind these simple words.
Professor Yao Junwei, Director of the Research Institute of Foreign Languages and Cultures, presided over the lecture. On behalf of the School, Professor Yan Zhijun extended a warm welcome to Professor Horne and he was convinced that the lecture would be quite helpful to American studies of the School. Members of the Research Institute, including Zhang Ruihua, Wei Yan, Zhang Yuan and Yang Jing, some junior teachers and graduate students were also engaged in communicating with Professor Horne by posing several questions.
(by Wen Yiwen)