The Lesson of the Master

An Essay

by Cynthia Ozick

Thank you for the lesson. I appreciate the insight into this difficult question. Long I have lamented the greatness of Bach in the face of my own measly music. But, more than validating measliness, you have given me a better hope through distancing and daring. Thanks.

Brilliant. Dare I say masterful? Wise and funny. Thanks!

As above said, but also the most encouraging words I can imagine for all of us who strive for the best of which we're capable. Of course, this essay is bound to make hundreds attempt to achieve something as masterful.

To look at the master in this fashion only can be done after so many years of "becoming" the master. But the youth had to become Henry James. She had to. She couldn't have written these poignant, poignant words unless she did.

Your impassioned essay struck a deep chord; I fell in love with Henry James the first time I was introduced to him in college. The gulf between his perfectly structured novels and my naive efforts was profoundly discouraging. His call to only live, from the perspective of 60, was at such odds with his advice to pursue one's art at the expense of ordinary human entanglements. You're right: James' works should be labeled For Mature Audiences Only.

A Jamesian analysis, presenting something complex as an emotional necessity!


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