Historical Line

“The perfume that her body exhaled was of the quality of that earth-flesh, fungi, which smells of captured dampness and yet is so dry, overcast with the odour of oil of amber, which is an inner malady of the sea, making her seem as if she had invaded a sleep incautious and entire. Her flesh was the texture of plant life, and beneath it one sensed a frame, broad, porous and sleep-worn, as if sleep were a decay fishing her beneath the visible surface. About her head there was an effulgence as of phosphorous glowing about the circumference of a body of water – as if her life lay through her in ungainly luminous deteriorations – the troubling structure of the born somnambulate.”

Barnes, Djuna, and T. S. Eliot. Nightwood. New York: New Directions, 1961. Print. 
In this quote is a description of Robin after she faints in her hotel room. The incredibly poetic language describes her beautifully. It shows what Barnes was capable of as a writer while giving the character Robin a great physical description.
In Henry James’ The Beast in the Jungle, there is the quote, “May Bertram, whose face, a reminder, yet not quite a remembrance.” He was one of the first authors for us to read this semester as well as one of the earlier voices in American literature. This short segment illustrates a basic example of James’ use of embedding information into sentences through breaks created by commas and hyphens. He was one of the great maximalist writers who believed in using a lot of words to accomplish a little. Following James we have Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. The quote, “The world for all its solid substance and complexity no longer existed for his soul save as a theorem of divine power and love and universality.” In this quote we see a different style of writing altogether. Joyce prefers the 3rd person narrator as a way to jump between different character’s thoughts. Here we see Joyce recounting Stephen’s take on the soul, obviously way different that how Henry James would have done the same thing. Later, in her novel Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Wolfe writes, “It was their idea of tragedy, not his or Rezia’s (for she was with him),” from the mind of Septimus before his suicide. Here we see Wolfe use the 3rd person narrator to get within a character’s mind like Joyce but also include extra information in her sentence like James, the difference being that she uses parenthesis instead of commas or hyphens. Last we have the quote, “It was a discord between person and circumstance by which a lion like him lay enmeshed in a net while many a common criminal wore a rajah’s crown,” from Anand’s Untouchable. In this quote all we see similar is use of a 3rd person narrator with a little bit of mind reading but nowhere near the extent present in Joyce’s or Wolfe’s novels. This serves to illustrate the great change in writing styles throughout the course of the early 20th century.

Bahka goes to prison

“It was a discord between person and circumstance by which a lion like him lay enmeshed in a net while many a common criminal wore a rajah’s crown.”   pg 94

This quote serves to point of how unfair the caste system is. It is saying how a good person like Bahka, described as a lion, can suffer under the “common criminals” that are randomly assigned to be the upper class. This quote shows more of the injustice within the social hierarchy.

Septimus’s thoughts on tragedy

“It was their idea of tragedy, not his or Rezia’s (for she was with him).” (146).

In this sentence Septimus is about to kill himself by jumping out the window as Dr. Holmes was coming upstairs to see him. This is an interesting part of the book because up until a few pages before his suicide Septimus is portrayed as almost entirely insane. It is while helping design a hat moments before his suicide that he is said to be himself for the first time in a while. In the quote Septimus does not think that his suicide will be beautiful poetic or tragic. He believes that in killing himself he is giving everyone else what they want in the form of a tragic death thus him saying “I’ll give it to you!” (146)., right before jumping. This serves to show how his mind was not working properly as he is out of touch with the other characters believing that his death will serve them in a way that he could not in life.

Commonplace A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man 10/3

“The world for all its solid substance and complexity no longer existed for his soul save as a theorem of divine power and love and universality.”

This quote caught my attention because it is explaining Stephen’s new outlook on everything. He has decided to completely devote himself to cleansing his soul and this quote serves to solidify his viewpoint of the world as a vessel for him to achieve his religious goal.

James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 126.

Commonplace The Beast in the Jungle

“May Bertram, whose face, a reminder, yet not quite a remembrance,”

I like this passage because it describes the woman, May Bertram, as average but it does it so uniquely. Although her face might not memorable the way it is described is.

Henry James, “The Beast in the Jungle,” in Major Stories & Essays (New York : Library of America, 1999), 446.

 

“It’s dreadful to bring a person back, at any time, to what he was ten years before.”

This passage stuck out to me because it is such a simple statement made by the woman but is still a vivid look into how Henry James probably viewed the past.

Henry James, “The Beast in the Jungle,” in Major Stories & Essays (New York : Library of America, 1999), 450.

 

“At this, for a minute, their lightness gave way to their gravity; it was as if the long look they exchanged held them together.”

Their lightness giving way to their gravity sort of seems to contradict itself since gravity is usually held by things with extremely large masses and not by any means considered light. This leads you to the conclusion the gravity is being used in the context of “the gravity of the situation” which is appropriate because John Marcher seems to be talking about watching some coming apocalypse.

Henry James, “The Beast in the Jungle,” in Major Stories & Essays (New York : Library of America, 1999), 454.

 

“The real form it should have taken on the basis that stood out large was the form of their marrying. But the devil in this was that the very basis itself put marrying out of the question. His condition he could invite a woman to share; and that consequence of it was precisely what was the matter with him.”

James is being so elusive with what the condition is. He keeps eluding and giving isolated hints while remaining vague.

Henry James, “The Beast in the Jungle,” in Major Stories & Essays (New York : Library of America, 1999), 457.

 

“a man of feeling didn’t cause himself to be accompanied by a lady on a tiger-hunt.”

This passage is talking about the metaphor made a sentence or two prior about the beast in the jungle waiting to slay or be slain. It caught my attention because while the beast’s actions are not definite yet, the lady is on a tiger-hunt. She is out to slay.

Henry James, “The Beast in the Jungle,” in Major Stories & Essays (New York : Library of America, 1999), 458.

 

“What’s the most inveterate mark of men in general? Why, the capacity to spend endless time with dull women”

Sounds like a very classical thing to say. I mean classical in the Jane Austen era sense.

Henry James, “The Beast in the Jungle,” in Major Stories & Essays (New York : Library of America, 1999), 461.

 

“He still, however wondered. ‘But doesn’t the man of courage know what he’s afraid of—or not afraid of? I don’t know that, you see. I don’t focus it. I can’t name it. I only know I’m exposed.’”

So he’s afraid but of something but he doesn’t know what yet he knows what’s going to happen. He also refuses to tell her what it is because according to her he’s afraid she’ll find out what’s going to happen. So he’s not afraid of what’s coming but is afraid that she’ll find out how it ends?

Henry James, “The Beast in the Jungle,” in Major Stories & Essays (New York : Library of America, 1999), 464.