Sunday 19 April 2020


Brookner once said she saw in The Golden Bowl, of all James's novels, evidence of the 'madness of art'. No doubt she had in mind his many wild extended metaphors, metaphors that take wing and carry the reader into quite other worlds. Here Adam and Charlotte sense they possibly shouldn't outstay their welcome in Adam's grandson's nursery:
Treated on such occasions as at best a pair of dangling and merely nominal court-functionaries, picturesque hereditary triflers entitled to the petites entrées but quite external to the State, which began and ended with the Nursery, they could only retire, in quickened sociability, to what was left them of the Palace, there to digest their gilded insignificance and cultivate, in regard to the true Executive, such snuff-taking ironies as might belong to rococo chamberlains moving among china lap-dogs.

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