By Vivien Jones (auth.)
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P. 73). , where James accuses Trollope of failing to respond to the demands of his subject: . it evinces in the novelist a deep insensibility to his opportunities that he should succeed, after all, in making of the 38 James the Critic tragedy but a simple postponement of the wedding-day. 88) James sees a fatal inconsistency in Trollope's disappointing bow to convention at the end of the novel, asking us to accept the marriage of his independent heroine Alice Vavasor to her dull, conventional (but suddenly idealized) suitor John Grey, whose inadequacies she had earlier convinced us of so eloquently.
18 Perhaps they read some 26 James the Critic of the Westminster Review articles; perhaps they gleaned their principles from George Eliot's novels; whatever the immediate source, the American moral consciousness of James and his contemporaries responded positively to this English respect for absolutes and they took up what was essentially the orthodoxy of English liberal criticism in their battle against a narrow nationalIsm. In an article of 1872, 'American Novels', Perry pitted his belief in a generalized moral realism against those who equated a 'great American novel' with Howellsian detailism.
James's categories implicitly asserted his control over popular forms and attempt to extend readers' expectations, puncturing their easy acquiescence in a verisimilitude which appeals to familiar paradigms rather than to 'actuality'. Actuality in these reviews means character. Central to James's objections to all four 'schools' is their distorted or inadequate treatment of human nature, usually associated with a symptomatic failure to observe accurately. James makes his commitment clear in his second published review, of Harriet Prescott's 'picturesque' novel Azarian: 'an author's paramount charge is the cure of souls' (N & R, p.