Hopitutuqaiki

The Hopi School

PO Box 56
Hotevilla, Arizona 86030

928-734-2433
www.hopischool.net

Scholar’s Library


Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Test

Title: A Most Unholy Trade - Being Letters on the Drama by Henry James
Author: James, Henry
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Most Unholy Trade - Being Letters on the Drama by Henry James" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.






                         “A MOST UNHOLY TRADE”




[Illustration]




                         “A MOST UNHOLY TRADE”
                         BEING LETTERS ON THE
                         DRAMA BY HENRY JAMES


                            [Illustration]


                           THE SCARAB PRESS
                           PRIVATELY PRINTED
                               MCMXXIII




                   Copyright, 1923, by Dunster House
                  Bookshop, Cambridge, Massachusetts.




NOTE


The four letters here printed for the first time are part of Henry
James’s informal correspondence with William Heinemann, the publisher.
They are selected for their unity of subject, in that they concern
themselves with James’s impressions of Ibsen’s “Little Eyolf” and
contain some general remarks on the drama. Written about the time of
the publication of the first and second series of James’s Theatricals,
they indicate his ideas at the time when his consideration of the
subject was most intense. Acknowledgment is made to Mrs. J. Tucker
Murray and to Pierre de Chaignon la Rose, Esq., for permission to print
two of these letters.




“A MOST UNHOLY TRADE”


                                                              Wednesday
                                                34, De Vere Gardens. W.

My dear Heinemann,

I feel as if I couldn’t thank you enough for introducing me to Ibsen’s
prodigious little performance! I return it to you, by the same post
conscientiously after two breathless perusals,――which leave me with a
yearning as impatient, an appetite as hungry, for the rest, as poor
Rita’s yearning & appetite are for the missing caresses of her Alfred.
Do satisfy me better or more promptly than he satisfied her. The thing
is immensely characteristic & immensely――immense. I quite agree with
you that it takes hold as nothing else of his has as yet done――it
appeals with an immoderate intensity & goes straight as a dose of
castor oil! I hope to heaven the thing will reach the London stage:
there ought to be no difficulty, if Rita, when she offers herself, can
be restricted to a chair, instead of lying on her back on the sofa.
Let her _sit_, and the objection vanishes――I mean let her eschew the
sofa. Of course I don’t know what the rest brings forth――but this act
& a half are a pure――or an impure――perfection. If he really carries
on the whole play simply with these four people――& at the same high
pitch (it’s the _pitch_ that’s so magnificent!) it will be a feat more
extraordinary than any he’s achieved――it will beat “Ghosts.” Admirable,
gallant old man! The success of this would be high! I greatly enjoyed
our “lovely luxurious” (as Rita wd. say), _fin de soirée_, on Monday.
Tree is as dewily infantine as Eyolf!

                             Yours truly,
                                                            Henry James

P.S. _Do_ remember that I’m on the sofa, with my hair down――and pink
lamp shades!


[Illustration]


                                                34, De Vere Gardens, W.
                                                   November 22nd, 1894.

My dear Heinemann,

All thanks for your prompt and adequate relief――the last “go” at Act
II. It is a very great little affair. If Act III doesn’t drop, it will
be Ibsen’s crown of glory――I mean the whole thing will. It is a little
masterpiece. It seems to me that he doesn’t make quite enough――(in
form, in the pause to take it in, and the indication of the amazement
and emotion of Allmers)――of the revelation of the non-relationship; but
that is a detail, and the stroke itself――coming where it does――immense.
The thing must and _can_ be represented. This Act 2 is such a crescendo
on 1. that if 3 is an equal crescendo on 2, the fortune of the thing
will be made, and it will be a big fortune. I hope 3 is already on the
stocks of translation. It’s a fine case for the British manager’s fine
old demand for a “happy ending!” What I seem dimly to divine is that
the she-Eyolf goes the same way as the He! i. e. the way of the fiord.

I don’t see what _complete_ tragedy there is for it _but_ that. But the
Devil knows what queer card the old Roué has up his sleeve!――Perhaps
Rita “has” the roadmaster publicly on the stage, while Asta throws
herself into the fiord. Yes, Eyolf No. 2 does by design what Eyolf No. 1
did by accident――and does it conjointly _with_ Alfred (at the risk of
repeating Rosmersholm and Hedda and the Wild Duck), while Rita falls
upon Borgheim and the Rat wife returns leading in a wild dance of
rodents! That, at least, is the way it _should_ be. But come to my aid!
I was so full of it yesterday that, being near you, I popped in――tho’ I
had already written, but only missed you.

                              Yours ever,
                                                                  H. J.




                                                       Nov. 28th. 1894.
                                                34, De Vere Gardens. W.

Dear Mr. Pawling,

Many thanks for your missive of yesterday & the message from the
publisher-dramatist, whose friendly thought of sending me the play
I much appreciate. I have read it, and, having done so, feel that
such reflections as it may have engendered had better be imparted to
Heinemann directly. Therefore I will write to him by the time he shall
have returned from Manchester――& I will in returning him the sheets
also send back the 3d. act of Ibsen, which I ought already to have
restored & of which I spoke perhaps a little too despairingly on Sunday
night at Gosse’s. On reading it over more deliberately the next day,
I saw more its great intention of beauty. It is meagre & inconclusive,
I think; but none the less I can imagine that, played with some real
effort――& in a scenic Scandinavian twilight, it may have a certain fine
solemnity & poetry of effect.

                           Yours very truly
                                                            Henry James


[Illustration]


                                                34, De Vere Gardens. W.
                                                   November 30th, 1894.

My dear Heinemann,

All thanks for the privilege of perusal――which I greatly appreciate.
I applaud the boldness with which you attack _de front_ all the
difficulties of the damnable little art, and which ought to bring you
all honour. It is refreshingly courageous of you, for example, to have
staked your fortune on a dramatis personae of 3, when you might, like
H.A. Jones, have sought safety in 30 or so. I think the idea of the
_First Step_ interesting――the situation of the girl who has become a
man’s mistress, but rises in arms at the idea that her sister should
do so――but I am not certain that it stands forth, as the _subject_,
with that big dotting of the big _i_, that the barbarous art of the
actable drama requires. In that art one must specify one’s subject as
unmistakeably as one orders one’s _di_nner――I mean leave the audience
no trouble to disengage or disentangle it. Forget not that you write
for the stupid――that is, that your maximum of refinement must meet
the minimum of intelligence of the audience――the intelligence, in
other words, of the biggest ass it may conceivably contain. It is a
most unholy trade! But you are very brave and gay and easy with it.
You have attempted a _tour de force_ in trying to carry on 2 acts
with only three people (I can think of no other case but Maupassant’s
_Paix du Ménage_――performed at the Français after his death by Bartet,
Le Bargy & Worms), and with only one question, as it were, to create
in the bosom of the spectator that principle of _suspense_ which is
the essence of the function of a theatrical action――the suspense as
to whether or no, and _how_, by what means or by what catastrophe, a
certain thing will happen or fail. The particular thing, in the _First
Step_, is the fate of the young sister’s chastity, the “question”
whether or no Annie shall lose her or save her. It is interesting but
I am not sure it _fills_ the play enough――and whether in your very
laudable desire to be unconventional and real you haven’t simplified
too much. However, this will show in the test――though I pity you for
the ordeal of interpretation. I can’t help wishing Annie were rather
worse herself, for the dramatic effect of the contrast between her
own life and character and her intensity about the other girl; in
other words, I think you have made her too good and the man she lives
with too bad. The situation would have had a fuller force if his
entanglement with the actress had been more _represented_――so that
(with the actress _introduced_) the action would have been closer and
the effect of the circumstances leading Frank to sacrifice the girl
more pictured, more dramatic. Excuse this preachment. I didn’t mean to
pick holes in your so serious and honourable attempt――but only to show
you with what care I have read it and how much it has made me reflect!

I owe you also long-delayed thanks for the Ibsen――I mean Act III, which
I also return. It is a great――a very great _drop_; but it has distinct
beauty and it could, in representation, I think be made fine.

All success to your own tragic Muse. She is evidently much in earnest
and she is altogether in the movement. Do take with her also, after
this, another turn.

                    Yours ever, my dear Heinemann,
                                                           Henry James.

P.S. I long to hear about Manchester.


[Illustration]




Of this, the first book printed by The Scarab Press, one hundred
copies are for sale at Dunster House, 26 Holyoke Street & Mt. Auburn,
Cambridge, Massachusetts. [Illustration] The frontispiece was engraved
on wood by Waldo Murray of Cambridge, after a drawing by John S.
Sargent inscribed to his friend Henry James and published in The Yellow
Book, 1894. [Illustration] The cover was designed by Waldo Murray and
also cut by him on linoleum.

[Illustration]


Copy Number 35


       *       *       *       *       *


 Transcriber’s Notes:

 ――Underlined text is enclosed by underscores (_underline_).

 ――Punctuation and spelling inaccuracies were silently corrected, except
   when they occur in the four correspondence letters.




*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Most Unholy Trade - Being Letters on the Drama by Henry James" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home