The Corner

George and Henry

Mona wins Dainel Deronda a reprieve from the thrift shop bag, though he is on warning.

I was not slamming George Eliot. I too was moved by Dorothea and her wretched marriage in Middlemarch (though there is that handsome, noble Polish patriot–see “Eleanor Roosevelt” in my first post, below).

It would make an exercise to say what are your least favorite works by artists you mostly, or sometimes, love. Henry James would make me hang fire, as it were.

Would it be The Ambassadors, a complete failure, the production of a malicious parodist?

Would it be Daisy Miller, which I loved until the last two pages, when our author, the unhappy, young, gay man, realizes that Daisy is going to an assignation…and kills her? (James would get a better grip on his anxieties, at least as far as his heroines were concerned.)

Or would it be The Bostonians, which I quit after eighty pages of bullying, humorless humor?

Historian Richard Brookhiser is a senior editor of National Review and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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