“Large and full and high the future still opens. It is now indeed that I may do the work of my life. And I will.
… I have only to face my problems. ” dames CTD. In Del, HAJJ: 95) “He lived, at times, he felt, as if his life belonged to someone else, a story that had not yet been written, a character who had not been fully imagined. ” (Sobbing, Master 111) Each time a writer summons up “The Master,” Deadline R.Tinnier has rightly observed, “There is personal revision or comment, a change in the picture that James imposed, some new figure in the carpet” (9).
Referring to Bruce Elitist’s The Village (1982), a novel featuring characters whose names have clear Jameson associations, Tinder finds it ironic that, “the man who had been caricatured in the popular press of 1905 because of his aestheticism, expatriates, and complex language, was in 1982 regarded as a cultural hero, the modern artist who atones for his hidden sexuality by his talent” (129).Today, she adds, “an interest in Sesame’s sexual orientation usurps the attention given by scholars in the past to his work rather than to his life” (129). Never did Henry Sesame’s grip on the literary imagination seem stronger than in 2004, which witnessed the publication of David Lodge’s Author, Author and Cool Sobbing The Master, two novels that attest to the “afterlife of his figure and fiction” (Tinnier).While boot works t retreat?ten thirst at greater length n than the latter? Sesame’s unsuccessful foray into playwriting and subsequent efforts to shore up his finances by returning to fiction, I have found that The Master most sharply evokes the challenges to the intellectual and emotional discipline of the novelist’s art during a erred (1895 to 1901) of personal and professional upheaval. Leon Del, Sesame’s eminent biographer, has fittingly described these years as “treacherous,” for they “harbored within them false prospects, false hopes, cruel deceptions, and a host of private demons” (HAJJ: 1 15).In addition to the deaths and suicides of both family members and friends, James had to face the disappointing reception of Princess Commissar and The Bostonians. He latched onto theater as a lifeline, but his plays also failed, culminating with the disastrous launch of Guy Domicile on the London stage in 1895. Resigned to being without a large public for his work, James withdrew more and more within himself.
When he returned to fiction afterwards, James did so with new confidence in his powers of sympathetic imagination, which, in the absence of a satisfying emotional?and physical?life, allowed him to discover “all passions, all combinations” (CTD. In Del 267). James himself recognized, however, that in order to “do the work of his life,” he had to face those “problems” he had kept “shrouded in silence. ” As he wrote his old friend William Dean Howell, “all that is of the ineffable ?too deep and pure for NY utterance.Shrouded in sacred silence let it rest” (CTD.
In Del 95, italics mine). The Master compels our attention because of the subtle way in which it articulates the ineffable shrouded in the “silent art” (Sobbing 65) of Sesame’s fiction. The problem most intimate to the novelist?the desire whose name he dared not speak?was the secret he guarded most fiercely and locked into the “invulnerable granite” of his art. In The Master, as we will see, homoerotic desire figures as lack, difference, and otherness.
Similar to The Last Testament of Oscar Willed, The Master allows us to see he creator constantly inventing himself as he constructs fictional worlds and personae that conceal as much as reveal, and that leave him uneasily poised between desire and gratification. For, if “the figures in any picture, the agents in any drama, are interesting only in proportion as they feel their respective situations”?as James declares in a passage from the preface to The Princess Commissar (vii)? then the eponymous hero of Sobbing novel engages our interest precisely because the author brings him close to Lambert Stretcher’s startling recognition in TheAmbassadors: the revelation of a “deep truth of ..
. Intimacy’ precisely where he (like Stretcher) “labored not to notice or acknowledge it?in other words, where he has not dared to feel it” (313). Equally significant, the phrase “too deep and pure for any utterance” is echoed at a turning point in Sobbing account of Sesame’s attempts to salvage his writing career.
Just a few days after the Guy Democratically, while vacationing in the countryside, James picked up the idea for a story whose “ramifications and possibilities lifted him out of the gloom of his failure” (64), even as it opened up old mounds.The ghost story told him by his friend Bonbon’s father, the archbishop of Canterbury, became the stimulus to a flashback about Sesame’s early life and the close on w n his invalid sister, Alice “The Turn to the Screw” took shape trot his idea to a “fused self”: “Two lives, but close to one experience”?the irrevocable loss of their parent’s (63). As he drew out the scenes in their “full drama and fright,” the story acquired a pressing urgency.James felt his self-confidence and determination growing to the point where he “was ready to begin again, to return to the old high art f fiction with ambitions now too deep and pure for any utterance” (64). The novella that emerged has been interpreted as a “quest for the governess to find out the secret of the ghosts’ relation to the children, to get the children to confess this relation, and thereby purge and save them from the ghosts” (Flatly 104). Sobbing has his protagonist embark on a similar quest, in which the ghosts haunting Sesame’s dreams continue to shape and inspire his waking life.The novel opens with a disturbing dream “about the dead?familiar faces and the others, half- forgotten ones, fleetingly summoned up” (1), suggesting the weight of family and arsenal past impinging upon James. These pages are shot through with death images triggered by the painful loss of his mother and sister?”the two people whom he had loved most in his life” and to whom he could not offer consolation (2).
James invokes the power of work and sleep to numb his pain, to distract him, “from the vision of these two women who were lost to him,” and yet whose “unquiet” ghosts often came to him (3).As the novel unfolds, other ghosts come to haunt James?the specters of his father, his cousin Minnie, and his intellectual companion, Constance Feminine Wilson. Thus anchored in the protagonist’s memory and desire that render him vulnerable to a return of the repressed, The Master bespeaks Sobbing intense preoccupation with the themes of alienation he has explored in The Blackener Lightship (a finalist for The Booker Prize) and tragic lack of self-awareness, which finds its best expression in The Heather Blazing. He novel is charged with the energies and anxieties of both sexual self-definition and cultural validation, suggesting that James would be able to achieve the latter only at the expense of the first. In other words, for James to achieve literary mastery and gain cultural connection, he had first to master himself by accepting, more or less consciously, the renunciations exacted by the creative life. Paradoxically, however, it is Sesame’s ascetic self- discipline that, as Sobbing remarked in an interview, liberates him and “enables [him] to imagine more fully, more deeply, the outside world in certain ways. By showing Sesame’s perseverance through difficult times, Sobbing creates a broader understanding of his character, so that in some sense “the experience is universal. ” Let us now look more closely at how Sobbing puts these seemingly contradictory strictures together to complicate, indeed problematic, our sense of Henry James the man and the Master.
The Buried Life “It seemed strange, almost sad, to him that en and produced and published so much, rendered so much that was private, and yet the thing that he most needed to write would never be seen or published, would never be known or understood by anyone. (Sobbing, Master 9) The Master takes its place alongside several recent books, including John Carols Rower’s The Other Henry James (1998) and Eric Harpoon’s Henry James and Queer Modernity (2003) that transform “the pompous figure of James as master of the novel …
Onto the vulnerable, sexually anxious, and lonely writer struggling with the new modern art and new age he had helped make possible” (Rowe xiv). Lets title notwithstanding, Sobbing book partakes of this process of demystifying the monolithic notion of authorship carefully crafted by James in the eighteen prefaces to the New York Edition of his work.Collected by R.
P. Blackman into The Art of the Novel (1934), these “enshrine,” as David McAlister argues, “not only Henry James, but a conception of authorship?the author as an autonomous, unitary, originating and decidedly masculine genius?that seems increasingly untenable in the wake of structuralism, and more than a little suspect in the context of recent historicist, cultural, and gender criticism” (3).Like the other author fictions examined so far, The Master deserves scrutiny for the postmodern critique it effects, in that it replaces the cannonaded image of James the master formalist (and the implicit, reified notion of the impersonal author) with a situated subject constructed along the lines of gender and sexuality. Coexisting with the portrait of James, the morally responsible artist animated by a keen interest in the politics of the private realm, is a portrait of James he man filled with “vague and uneasy hopes and dreams” (Sobbing, The Master 282).As Sobbing has indicated, the “germ” of his novel can be found in Fred Kaplan biography of James. Here Kaplan writes: “Something extraordinary began happening to James in the mid-ass’s, and more frequently in the next decade. He began to fall in love with young men.
” “Sesame’s self-consciousness,” Kaplan continues, “seemed either impossibly innocent or embarrassingly explicit” (CTD. In Sobbing, Love 30). In the novel’s “Afterward,” Sobbing also acknowledges his indebtedness to Leon Dell’s celebrated but somewhat outdated biography of Henry James as well as toSheldon Novices Henry James: The Young Master, among others.
Novice takes issue with Dell’s heavily psychoanalytic interpretation of James as a man whose passion for life was confined to observing rather than living it and whose homosexuality Del regarded as a “kind of failure: The ‘passive male’ in the Freudian account was wounded and frightened by a powerful mother and a weak, absent father. This mythic figure retreated from the terrors of heterosexual rivalry into the world of delicate imagination” (xiii). Novice wonders, “why should we suppose that [James] accomplished so many miracles of the imagination? Ђ? I. E. That he imagined, instead of actually experiencing the trials and tribulations of passion.
Novice concludes from Sesame’s essays, stories, and letters that, “one could hardly distinguish between the vividly imagined and the intensely lived” (393). Sobbing also believes in a continuity between reading fictions and reading lives, and in The Master he achieves a fusion of what James called the “real” and “romantic” modes of knowledge: thus, if “the real represents … The things we cannot possibly not know’ about James?I. E. The recorded biographical facts?”the romantic tanks .
Or the things … That reach us only through the beautiful circuit and subterfuge” of his thought and desire, and that Sobbing gleans from Sesame’s writings (LLC: 1062-3). In seizing both upon recent biographical findings and upon Eve Kickoffs Sedgwick queer interpretation of “The Beast in the Jungle,” Sobbing arrives in The Master, as he did first in his collection of articles and essays, Love in a Dark Time: And Other Explorations of Gay Lives and Literature(2001), at a “darker” interpretation of the “life that James chose to live, or was forced to live.Traditionally dead as a parable of the artist’s life, of how the artist is forced to choose (in Yeats phrase) “perfection of the life, or of the work,” the story “The Beast in the Jungle” has been more recently seen to embody “Sesame’s nightmare vision of never having lived, of having denied love and sexuality’ (Kaplan CTD. In Sobbing, Love 34-35).
Like Marcher, the protagonist of this story, James “has failed to love,” has been “unable to love” because “he could not deal with his own sexuality. As Sobbing goes on to say, “in ‘The Beast in the Jungle,’ Sesame’s solitary existence is shown in its most frightening manifestation: a life of pure coldness” (35). For Sobbing, The Master offered a chance to probe more deeply into this life of “pure coldness” and to subtly illuminate not only the work resulting from it, but also the creative process that produced it. As such, The Master offers a subtle novelistic exploration of the homoerotic undercurrents in Sesame’s life and a provocative demystification of his works “ambiguous aesthetic air” dames, Preface v).
Relying on the psychologically intimate third-person style that “the Master” perfected and elegantly weaving his subject’s words in and out of his own, Sobbing dramatists the internal struggle for mastery over Sesame’s insecure and divided self. Indeed, far from being at war merely with Puritan mores, or with a socially and culturally uneducated reading public, James was also at odds with himself. His war “had been private, within his family and deep within himself” (Master 1 11).
Sesame’s formula for the self-image he constructs for his readers is articulated in the preface to The Portrait of a Lady: “Tell me what the artist is, and I will tell you of what he has bounciness” (AN 46). But, Eric Harrison perceptively asks, “how conscious was this highly conscious artist of the sexual meanings of his art? ” Harrison considers that “criticism is obliged to indulge in conjecture on this point” because Sesame’s “case” is “instrumental to the evolving and politically important history of gay male writers” (22-23).The Henry James the critic hopes to evoke in his study of the relationship between James and queer modernity is “neither a perfect being (that misleading icon the Master’) nor a perfectly neurotic being, but just various, interesting, human, and (yes, after all) queer enough to express his splendidly nuanced ‘self in a splendidly nuanced body of writing” (23). This tenement accurately describes the multilayered portrait fleshed out by fictional meaner in The Master.For Sobbing, as for Harrison, James was “so deliberate, so careful to control, that en could nave let out anything en chose trot his fiction” (Love). In one of his letters to Morton Fullerton, James exhorts his readers to “read into my meager and hurried words?well, read into them everything” (CTD. In Flatly 103).
The Master alludes to fictions (Redbrick Hudson, “The Author of Filterable” and “The Pupil”), in which James came close to “losing this control” and into which critics have “read” pretty much everything, including evidence of his gay sensibility.Sesame’s internal repression mirrored an externally repressive system. Freedom from national prejudices was central to his cosmopolitan vision, but, Sobbing reminds us, James could never actually free himself from the alienating cultural definitions of personality and human relations that were being perpetuated by a commercial, philistine, protestant, and heterosexual social order. Early in The Master, Henry?as Sobbing refers to his character throughout?is told that, as an American abroad, he has the “great advantage” of being “anybody.This echoes a statement that James himself made in 1876, when he thought it “a great blessing” to be an American who can “deal freely with forms of civilization not our own, can pick and choose and assimilate and in short (aesthetically) claim our property wherever we find it” (CTD. In Crunched 59). Henry “loved the yearning openness of Americans, their readiness for experience, their expectation and promise,” as opposed to the ‘dry nature” of the English, sure of their own place and “unready for change” (83).Both family and cultural pressures compelled James to turn to writing?in which he saw he “only real basis of freedom and sanity’ (SSL xix).
By the same token, he conceived of his characters as his “projected performers” through whom he could make and remake himself in a changing culture (CTD. In Snyder 114). Hence Sesame’s symbiotic relationship with his art: the act of writing created the author and vice versa.Yet the Master’s imagination, Sobbing suggests in his essay collection, was not as “fearless” as that of other influential writers, from Oscar Willed to Thomas Gun, who, while also living in a “dark time,”nevertheless managed to reveal, albeit seldom, the “explicit ram of being themselves” (Love). Throughout The Master, Sobbing pits the writer’s need for social engagement and public recognition against his longing for solitude and privacy. Sesame’s aversion to “the deadly epidemic of publicity’ (AN 284)?translated into a “tremendous desire to control his public persona” (Pearson 42).
The promotion of Sesame’s public image carried with it the need to guard, even conceal, his private self, “which no one in England knew or understood” (Sobbing 108). He would simply not serve up his private life as public fodder. For instance, when copies of his sister Lice’s diary were rivalry published in 1894, he became “scared and disconcerted?I mean alarmed? by the sight of so many private allusions and names in print” (Portable 479). He burned his copy, one of only four published.
Like Dickens, who had built a large bonfire at Sad’s Hill, piling upon it the accumulated correspondence of several decades, James built, a similar fire in his Lamb House garden, burning most of the letters he had received through 1908. An 1915, he destroyed many other personal papers. As Sobbing notes, “[r]imagining invisible, becoming skilled in the art of self- attachment,” even to those en and known so long, “gave him satisfaction” ( Paris and London, secrecy, pretense, and duplicity ruled, making the need to know or disclose what was hidden even more urgent, especially for a writer with Sesame’s insatiable curiosity (5).While always “ready to listen,” he was not prepared to “reveal the mind at work, the imagination, or the depth of feeling” (211-12). Henrys mind “moved into areas that would always have to remain obscure to those around him” (99), as when he pondered the secret meaning of a memory triggered by the name of his cousin, Gus Baker, who had been killed in the Civil War. Five years earlier, when the James family had moved back to Newport from Europe so hat William could study art, Henry had come upon his cousin standing naked on a pedestal while the students were sketching him.
The sight of the young man’s beautiful and manly body was “stored away’ in an “entirely private world” hidden behind the “social mask” (100). The Master’s repressed homosexuality also surfaces in his secret attraction to a manservant, his unrequited passion for the Russian painter Paul Jockeys, and his quiet yearning for the young Norwegian-American sculptor Hendrix Andersen. And last, but not least, Sobbing evokes an erotically charged scene between James and Oliver Wendell Holmes Jar. Hen, in the late spring of 1865, the two slept naked in the same bed. Yet, Sobbing is careful to add, there is “no evidence that James had a physical relationship with any of these men” (Sobbing, Love el has also found the evidence “ambiguous and inconclusive.
” “Like most Victorians,” he explains, “James kept the doors of his bedroom shut”(Del, HAJJ: 315). But this does not prevent Sobbing from imagining the writer’s life behind closed doors and even opening those doors a little. Unlike Del, Sobbing would not defend James so easily.He would not make full allowance, as Del does, for “Sesame’s long puritan years, the infirmed habits of denial, the bachelor existence, in which erotic feeling had to be channeled back”?sublimated?”into strenuous work,” a sort of marriage to the Muse, as it were.
The “marriage,” Sobbing further suggests, could not have always been happy. The encroachment of Journalism and advertising upon the world of publishing, as well as the changes in the composition of the reading public were, to the imagination of fin De is©CLC writers, James among them, unsettling developments.Feeling completely demoralized, he saw himself as a novelist who “had fallen upon evil mimes,” when neither editors nor publishers “wanted” him. In the face of a new generation of writers, the “sense of being almost finished weighed him down” (12). The theatre promised to offer him a new lease on life, but the actual productions only added to a state he called “embarrassment. ” Significantly, in Volume XV of the New York Edition, James informs us that his fictions about writers emerged from the “hidden stores” of his own experience and imagination as a “homogeneous group.
These tales, completed in 1895, are gathered in the volume entitled Embarrassments published early in 1896. The more obvious embarrassment, invoked in “The Figure in the Carpet,” is “his sense of being a misunderstood author” (Del, HAJJ: 149). Sesame’s great public death came on January 1 95, the opening night to his historical play, Guy Domicile, when he was booed off the stage by a riotous mob. The failure of Guy Domicile brought home to Henry the “melancholy fact that nothing he did would ever be popular or generally appreciated” (Sobbing 19).He began to feel that “he was destined to write for the few, perhaps for the future, yet never to reap the rewards that he would relish now, such as his own house and a beautiful garden and o anxiety about what was to come” (20).
His fears were only partly Justified, for, in the summer of 1896, as transatlantic travel became easier, more and more of Henrys compatriots, friends, relatives, or other writers, expressed a wish to visit him in London, where “his name had been added to the list of the great local monuments,” such as the Tower, Westminster Abbey, and The National Gallery.Their letters made clear that visiting the capital “would la KC all due shine were they to miss the famous writer and not receive his company and counsel” (Sobbing 78). It has often been said that James aimed his writing too high, that he was uncompromising about his art, which he deemed “pure and unconstrained by mere mercenary ambitions” (Sobbing 20). In The Master, Sobbing dramatists Sesame’s struggle to negotiate between the personal need to signal a highbrow literary aesthetic and the financial necessity of engaging an increasingly consumer culture.The writer’s industry, the novel suggests, arose as much from his desire for recognition as for income, or as much from his highly developed sense of vocation as from economic constraints. Money became a pressing concern for Henry, who feared that the “reduced circumstances” would reinforce his “public humiliation” (19). He did not actively seek the “hard doom of general popularity’ that befell his friend Du Maurice following the success of his novel Trilby.
Nonetheless he wanted to succeed in the marketplace without compromising his sacred art. “It mattered to him how he was seen,” and it pleased him to be seen as both one who effortlessly produced popular works and one who devoted himself in “solitude and selfless application to a noble art” (20). He hoped to write his way out of “all of these melancholies” by reminding himself of the need to “Produce again?produce; produce better than ever and all ill be well” (B: 513).Sesame’s love for the theatre carried over into his fiction, particularly in a predilection for the “scenic method,” or, what he called, “the divine principle of the Scenario,” which, in the late ass’s, became “my imperative, my only salvation” (CTD. In Crunched 69). Sobbing makes effective use of Sesame’s “scenic progression” technique through which the writer follows the character’s perceptions and memories in a sequence of settings. As readers, we accompany him in his continental wanderings and delight with him in the elegance of Paris, the sensuous beauty and warmth ofItaly, the splendor of Rome.
Dublin, on the other hand, struck James as a “queer, shabby, sinister, sordid place” (SSL 191). To relieve the strain on his nerves after the Guy Domicile debacle, Henry traveled to Ireland, visiting with Lord Houghton, the new lord lieutenant at Dublin Castle, and Lord Wellesley, who was commander-in- chief of Her Majesty forces. While both invitations showed that Henry was “still very much persona grata in the high world,” the actual visit brought with it a strong sense to estrangement, the “deep sadness to exile” in the very country to Hen forefathers.Hence the strategies of detachment through which he negotiated the urgent emotions triggered by his stay at the Royal Hospital at Claimant, as the Wellesley’ guest.
Since everything there, from silverware to guests, was “imported” from England, Henry felt a “great stranger, with nothing to match his own longings, observing the world as a mere watcher from a window’ (Sobbing 44). The Master teems with images of doors, windows, and terraces from which the viewer (in this case James) takes possession of the scene in order to convert it into a text, whether a novel or a short story.Ross Pocono’s has interpreted the window as a metaphor for Sesame’s state of consciousness, one that is acutely aware of and receptive to difference, open, that is, to the fluid possibilities of modernity. For to be modern, as Wild’s example had shown, was to be willing, or “curious” enough, to venture into the strange territory of otherness, to never be one or the Other, but always multiple.
Pocono’s regards Sesame’s curiosity as “a form of psychic energy that shapes a selfless at once instrumental and contemplative, permeable and hoarding” (21).As the impetus behind cultural inquiry, curiosity allowed both Willed ND James to “transgress genteel boundaries” (Pocono’s 20) and interrogate constructions of masculinity. But unlike Willed, who threw caution away and experimented with a wider range of sexual identities, encoding a forbidden homosexuality in his depictions of beautiful young men, James did not openly challenge standards of reticence in sexual matters. In Pocks terms, James, unlike Willed, “does not advertise his coming out with a yellow silk handkerchief and knee breaches” (5-6).Much more cautious both on and off the page, James remained safely above the fray of the scandal implicating Willed, often displaying “grace under erasure. ” This becomes apparent in The Master when Mr..
Webster, another one of the Wellesley’ guests, tries to make public his suspicions of Henrys homosexuality by suggesting he follow Wild’s example and marry as a disguise for his dangerous inclination. Throughout their conversation, Henry manages to preserve his dignity and keep the young politician at bay.Sobbing intent, however, is to strip away the defenses of the genteel, decorous Jameson self, puncturing its complacence and exposing a point of crisis, which, as we have seen, involved sexual excitement, often adding to bursts of creativity. The detached figure, watching the lives of others, is recurrent in Sesame’s work?wintergreen in Daisy Miller, Rowland Mallet (whom Novice compares to James) in Redbrick Hudson, John Marcher in “The Beast in the Jungle,” and last but not least, Lambert Stretcher in The Ambassadors.Sobbing dwells on this figure to account for the shared intimacy between Henry and Alice James.
As Henry reflects, they both “had never been fully included in the passion of events and places, becoming watchers and nonparticipating. ” Unlike their eldest brother, William, and hen Wiley and Bob, who had both fought in the Civil War, Henry and Alice had been unready for the world and unprotected (Sobbing 47). Their childhood see-sawing between Europe and America made both of them “long for security and settlement” (80).Dragged “from city to city, hotel to apartment, tutor to school,” they “knew themselves to be strange,” and so they “learned to lean on each other” The worst time for Alice was the period before and Just after Williwaw’s marriage to a woman who was everything she was not?”pretty, practical, and immensely healthy’?and whose name, “most cruelly,” was also Alice. The next blow came when her mother died and when Henry feared her “final and complete disintegration. ” To his surprise, Alice managed to hold things together better than he had thought she could.But after their father’s death within a year, “her act fell apart.
” The only thing left Alice was her close friendship with Katherine Lording, “whose intelligence matched hers and whose strength equaled her weakness in its intensity’ (56). Miss Lording accompanied Alice to England, caring for her, tolerating her “strong opinions and morbid talk,” and admiring her courage in the face of death. Since he had not been present at his mother’s or father’s deathbeds, Henry was profoundly affected by Lice’s long agony in the early months of 1892: “He had described dying in his books, but he had not known about this” (61).
Watching her die, he thought again of how similar their lives were: “They had both recoiled from engagements, deep companionship, the warmth of love” (62). The two novels Henry wrote during Lice’s stay in England were “saturated with the peculiar atmosphere of his sister’s world. ” The Bostonians captured the “dilemma of a woman brought up in a free-thinking family which confined its free Hough to conversation and remained respectable and conformist in every other way’ (Sobbing 59).
The eponymous heroine of The Princess Commissar embodied one half of Alice?”subtle, brilliant, and darkly powerful”?while the other half, Rosy Eminent, was “a strange bedizened little invalid,” confined to her bed (59). Similarly, as already indicated, in Henrys mind, the ghost story told him by the archbishop of Canterbury, fused with memories of his sister: “Two beings with one sensibility, one imagination, vibrating with the same nerves, the same suffering” (63). Throughout The Master, Sobbing connects Sesame’s fictions to both his inner ND outer life in subtle, intriguing ways.His approach is selective, highlighting certain concerns that were foremost in Sesame’s mind during the “Middle Years”? his need for a sizable reading public, his aversion to the vulgar literary marketplace, his longing for a “room of his own,” and his interest in traumatizing sexual rivalries and implicit homosexuality?and thrusting others, such as Sesame’s friendship with George du Maurice, into the background. Sobbing, unlike Lodge, is concerned less with the “historicity of the real James” (Woods) than with the personal, the intimate, and the psychosocial.Sesame’s thinking about his characters and themes in The Master is consistent with the aesthetic theory he developed in “The Art of Fiction” (1884), where he redefines experience as an analytic, reflective process in the “chamber of consciousness,” the novel as a “personal, direct impression of life, and the novelist as “one of the people on whom nothing is lost” (Portable 432, 435). The “reality’ reflected by the character’s individual consciousness is a function of memory, and the reader