Henry James: The Sacred Fount

(2351 words)

The Sacred Fount (1901) is the most enigmatic of James’s novels. Whilst it was written immediately before James’s three late major novels, The Ambassadors, The Wings of the Doveand The Golden Bowl, it has never received the critical or popular attention which these command. However, The Sacred Fount explores many of James’s governing concerns, announcing many of the elements and techniques for which the later novels are so much admired. James himself had reservations about The Sacred Fount, describing it in his letters as a “trade-accident”, a “jeu d’esprit”, and a “consistent joke” (IV, 196, 186). He also excluded it from the New York Edition of his …

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Hutchison, Hazel McNair. "The Sacred Fount". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 October 2006
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=7635, accessed 26 September 2016.]