Henry James, “The Middle Years”, Blog Observation

“It had taken too much of his life to produce too little of his art. The art had come, but it had come after everything else.” (338).

James, Henry. “The Middle Years.” Henry James: Complete Stories 1892-1898, The Library of America, 1996, Page 335-55.

Here Dencombe reflects on his past and the time it took to produce such a small quantity of art. While Dencombe finally realizes his work’s significance and value, he is met with the inevitable fact that his time is slowly dwindling away.

James, “The Middle Years”, and Observation

“He had followed literature from the first, but he had taken a lifetime to get alongside her. Only to-day, at last, had he begun to see, so that what he had hitherto done was a movement without direction. He had ripened too late and was clumsily constituted that he had had to teach himself by mistakes” (James 347).

James, Henry. “The Middle Years.” Henry James: Complete Stories 1892-1898, 335-55. New York: The Library of America, 1996. pp. 347.

Dencombe in his fading health observes how despite his achievement  of a soon to be successful novel, it marks the end of his bittersweet career. In his struggle to reach his ideal through mistakes, he had squandered the limited time he had to live and lost the time he needed to reach perfection.