Picture and Text, A Little Tour in France & The Sacred Fount (Paperback)
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Picture and Text is a collection of essays by Henry James on the art of illustration, published in 1893. The essays are brief profiles of the principal illustrators for Harper and Brothers books and magazines, and has been remembered for extensive and perceptive essays on John Singer Sargent and Honor Daumier. Included with the essays on black-and-white illustration of texts is a discussion in dialogue form about the similar relation between scenery and play in the theater.
A Little Tour in France is a book of travel writing by American writer Henry James. Originally published under the title En Province in 1883-1884 as a serial in The Atlantic Monthly, the book recounts a six-week tour James made of many provincial towns in France, including Tours, Bourges, Nantes, Toulouse, Arles and several others. The first book publication was in 1884. A second, extensively revised edition was published in 1900.
James gives the idea for the book in the first paragraph of the first installment of the original magazine serial: "France may be Paris, but Paris is not France." He conceived the book as a description of and even homage to the provinces. James had tried living in Paris before settling in London in 1876. He returned to France in 1882 to discover more of French provincial life than he had previously been able to see.
James began his tour in Touraine, then journeyed southwest through Provence, and then north along the flooding Rh ne River to Burgundy. The resulting book was a pleasant mix of art and architecture criticism, references to classic literature as well as guide-books and pamphlets, sharp observation of people and places, and knowledgeable discussion of French history and culture - all communicated in an easygoing, urbane, witty style.
The Sacred Fount is a novel by Henry James, first published in 1901. This strange, often baffling book concerns an unnamed narrator who attempts to discover the truth about the love lives of his fellow guests at a weekend party in the English countryside. He spurns the "detective and keyhole" methods as ignoble, and instead tries to decipher these relationships purely from the behavior and appearance of each guest. He expends huge resources of energy and ingenuity on his theories, much to the bemusement of some people at the party.
As he waits for the train to take him to a weekend party in the country, the narrator notices that Gilbert Long seems much more assured and lively than before. He also sees that Mrs. Brissenden (nicknamed "Mrs. Briss") is much younger-looking than her husband, though she's actually ten years older. The narrator begins to theorize that Long and Mrs. Briss are getting their vitality, vampire-like, from the "sacred fount" of their sexual partners' energy. At first, the narrator theorizes that the source of Long's newfound assurance and intelligence is a certain Lady John.
Later he changes his mind, as he constantly discusses his ideas with others at the party, particularly an artist, Ford Obert. The narrator notices that another woman at the party, May Server, seems listless, and he starts to wonder if she may be the lover providing vitality to Long. Eventually, the narrator begins to construct enormously elaborate theories of who is taking vitality from whom, and whether some people are acting as screens for the real lovers. In a long midnight confrontation with Mrs. Briss which concludes the novel, she says the narrator's theories are ridiculous, and he has completely misread the actual relationships of their fellow guests. She finishes by telling him he's crazy, and that last word leaves the narrator dismayed and overwhelmed.