The Jolly Corner

The Jolly Corner

by Henry James

Henry James describes the adventures of Spencer Brydon as he explores the empty New York house where he grew up.

Brydon begins to believe that his alter ego-the ghost of the man he might have been is haunting the house.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Classics
  • Rating: 3.27
  • Pages: 48
  • Publish Date: June 1st 2004 by Kessinger Publishing
  • Isbn10: 1419167936
  • Isbn13: 9781419167935

What People Think about "The Jolly Corner"

I'm not a fan of James - his prose is way too flowery and longwinded for my taste, and there doesn't ever seem to be much of a plot - so the only reason I read this is because it figures prominently in Domenico Starnone's 'Trick', which I wanted to read, and which translator Jhumpa Lahiri strongly suggested was advisable to know in order to glean the most pleasure from the Italian book.

Both of them wonder what he would have become had he remained in America and continued to occupy the impressive family apartment, pursuing a more materialistic American life.

E non mi ha aiutato il testo originale a fronte, in cui la mia già faticosa traduzione si perdeva tra le innumerevoli frantumazioni; e con il quale Raffaele Guazzone, da parte sua, doveva già aver fatto i conti, come lui stesso esprime nella prefazione, quasi a giustificazione: quello che non si può tradurre davvero di Henry James, è il vocabolario: personale, idiosincratico, immaginifico, dallaggettivazione dettagliata e quasi materica.

The Jamesian Reread #2 Henry James last ghost story, and his finest since The Turn of the Screw, is also his final meditation on some of his most personal concerns: the international theme, the American who goes back after a long period spent in the Old World and his impressions of a rapidly changing country that at the turn of the century was rising to the role of world power. Spencer Brydon is therefore a late assessment of the Jamesian theme of the life not lived, that had already run through the so-called major phase of his career (i.e. the first years of the new century) often in the guise of what could have been of a character had s/he (not) gone abroad. John Marcher, the protagonist, is obsessed quite like Spencer Brydon; except for the fact that the Beast, the event he believes will make his life exceptional, lies in the future (constantly in the future), while Brydon is haunted by his pastor better, by the ghost of the past he has never lived. Spencer Brydon self-obsession (in the end, who would ever dream of being haunted by his own ghost?) may then be read in narcissistic terms. But for all this, TJC remains James most haunting and thrilling ghost story after The Turn of the Screw (which should at this point be the next logical step in my Jamesian Re-read), full suspense and psychological subtleties.

The "Ghost" here is the imagined version of the protagonist as what he might have been if his life had gone a different direction.

His method of writing from the point of view of a character within a tale allowed him to explore the phenomena of consciousness and perception, and his style in later works has been compared to impressionist painting.