Emotion, Feeling, Sentiment in James: “Sorrow comes in great waves” (3/1/19)

deadline for submissions: 
March 1, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Henry James Review
contact email: 

Henry James wrote to Grace Norton, his longtime friend:

Sorrow comes in great waves—no one can know that better than you—but it rolls over us, + though it may almost smother us it leaves us on the spot + we know that if it is strong, we are stronger, inasmuch as it passes + we remain.  It wears us, uses us, but we wear it and use it in return; + it is blind, whereas we after a manner see.  My dear Grace, you are passing through a darkness in which I myself in my ignorance see nothing but that you have been made wretchedly ill by it; but it is only a darkness it is not an end, or the end.  Don’t think, don’t feel, any more than you can help, don’t conclude or decide—don’t do anything but wait.  Everything will pass and serenity + accepted mysteries + disillusionments, + the tenderness of a few good people, + new opportunities + ever so much of life, in a word, will remain.  You will do all sorts of things yet, + I will help you. (28 July 1883)

In addition, and indirectly related to James’s letter to Grace Norton, R. P. Blackmur offered the following unconfirmed anecdote about Henry James, which Blackmur found  “so true and just in spirit”:

Once, in the nineties, while James was staying in an English country house, the only child of a neighbor died of a sudden illness; and although James had quarreled with the neighbor and they had not been on speaking terms he announced to his host that he would attend the funeral of the little boy. His host argued that, in the small church in the small village, it would be conspicuously unseemly for him to go—the bereaved parents could only take it as an affront; but James was obstinate. When he returned, his host asked him how on earth he could have brought himself to go, and to sit, as he had, in the pew directly behind the mourners. James brushed all argument aside and, with that intensity in his eyes which made his face seem naked, stated firmly: “Where emotion is, there am I!”

Blackmur emphasizes the anecdote because it tells a “story of [James’s] struggle to realize art as emotion and to create it as art is the abiding story of Henry James, as near as we can come to the Figure in his Carpet.”

Thus the Henry James Review invites one-page proposals or short (10–12 pages) essays on any aspect of Emotion, Feelings, Sentiment in James, including but not confined to:

• Emotion

• Feelings

• Sentiment

• Affect

• Mourning

• Melancholy

• Enthusiasm

• Emotional intelligence

• Manipulation of emotion

• Reading and interpreting emotion

• Emotion and characterization 

• Jamesian grammar of emotions

• The place of emotion in Jamesian narrative 

• Feelings and emotions in James’s fiction, critical essays, autobiographical writing 

• Feeling and form

• Memory and emotion

• Theorizing emotion in James

• Neurology and emotion, feelings, and/or sentiment

Contributions should be produced according to MLA style (7th edition) and sent electronically by March 1, 2019, to hjamesr@creighton.edu. Please identify your manuscript as an Emotion, Feelings, Sentiment Forum submission.