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30+ quotes from The Golden Bowl by Henry James

Quotes from The Golden Bowl

Henry James ·  591 pages

Rating: (9.6K votes)


“My idea is this, that when you only love a little you’re naturally not jealous-or are only jealous also a little, so that it doesn’t matter. But when you love in a deeper and intenser way, then you’re in the very same proportion jealous; your jealousy has intensity and, no doubt, ferocity. When however you love in the most abysmal and unutterable way of all – whey then you’re beyond everything, and nothing can pull you down.”
― Henry James, quote from The Golden Bowl


“It is no wonder he wins every game. He has never done a thing in his life exept play games”
― Henry James, quote from The Golden Bowl


“It argued a special genius; he was clearly a case of that. The spark of fire, the point of light, sat somewhere in his inward vagueness as a lamp before a shrine twinkles in the dark perspective of a church; and while youth and early middle-age, while the stiff American breeze of example and opportunity were blowing upon it hard, had made the chamber of his brain a strange workshop of fortune. This establishment, mysterious and almost anonymous, the windows of which, at hours of highest pressure, never seemed, for starers and wonderers, perceptibly to glow, must in fact have been during certain years the scene of an unprecedented, a miraculous white-heat, the receipt for producing which it was practically felt that the master of the forge could not have communicated even with the best intentions.”
― Henry James, quote from The Golden Bowl


“Our relation, all round, exists--it's a reality, and a very good one; we're mixed up, so to speak, and it's too late to change it. We must live IN it and with it”
― Henry James, quote from The Golden Bowl


“Ah darling, goodness, I think, never brought any one out. Goodness, when it's real, precisely, rather keeps people IN.”
― Henry James, quote from The Golden Bowl


“But if we may perish by cracks in things that we don't know.”
― Henry James, quote from The Golden Bowl


“My first impulse is always to behave, about everything, as if I feared complications. But I don't fear them— I really like them. They're quite my element.”
― Henry James, quote from The Golden Bowl


“...and with this reminder other things came to her -- how strange it was that, with all allowance for their merit, it should befall some people to be so inordinantly valued, quoted, as they said in the stock-market, so high, and how still stranger, perhaps, that there should be cases in which, for some reason, one didn't mind the so frequently marked absence in them of the purpose really to represent their price. ”
― Henry James, quote from The Golden Bowl


“It was amusing, in such lightness of air, that the Prince should again present himself only to speak for the Princess, so unfortunately unable again to leave home; and that Mrs Verver should as regularly figure as an embodied, a beautifully deprecating apology for her husband, who was all geniality and humility among his own treasures, but as to whom the legend had grown up that he couldn't bear, with the height of his standards and the tone of the company, in the way of sofas and cabinets, habitually kept by him, the irritation and depression to which promiscuous visiting, even at pompous houses, had been found to expose him. ”
― Henry James, quote from The Golden Bowl


“He was allying himself to science, for what was science but the absence of prejudice backed by the presence of money? His life would be full of machinery, which was the antidote to superstition ...”
― Henry James, quote from The Golden Bowl


“She was keeping her head for a reason, for a cause; and the labour of this detachment, with the labour of her forcing the pitch of it down, held them together in the steel hoop of an intimacy compared with which artless passion would have been but a beating of the air. Her”
― Henry James, quote from The Golden Bowl


“The perfection of her success, decidedly, was like some strange shore to which she had been noiselessly ferried and where, with a start, she found herself quaking at the thought that the boat might have put off again and left her. The”
― Henry James, quote from The Golden Bowl


“And it was in the mitigated midnight of these approximations that she had discerned the promise of her dawn.”
― Henry James, quote from The Golden Bowl


“The infirmity of art was the candour of affection, the grossness of pedigree the refinement of sympathy; the ugliest object in fact as a general thing were the bravest, the tenderest mementoes, and, as such, figured in glass cases apart, worthy doubtless of the home but not worthy of the temple – dedicated to the grimacing, not to the clear-faced gods. She”
― Henry James, quote from The Golden Bowl


“The golden bowl – as it was to have been.’ And Maggie dwelt musingly on this obscured figure. ‘The bowl with all our happiness in it. The bowl without the crack.”
― Henry James, quote from The Golden Bowl


“It was the hushed daybreak of the Roman revelation in particular that he could usually best recover – the way that there above all, where the princes and popes had been before him, his divination of his faculty had gone to his head. He”
― Henry James, quote from The Golden Bowl


“the sudden hour that had transformed his life, the hour of his perceiving with a mute inward gasp akin to the low moan of apprehensive passion that a world was left him to conquer and that he might conquer it if he tried. It”
― Henry James, quote from The Golden Bowl


“He had seen the follies of the romantic disposition, but there seemed somehow no follies in theirs – nothing, one was obliged to recognise, but innocent pleasures, pleasures without penalties.”
― Henry James, quote from The Golden Bowl


“She had none the less extracted from her a vow in respect to the time that if the Colonel might be depended on they would spend at Fawns; and nothing came home to her more in this connexion or inspired her with a more intimate interest than her sense of absolutely seeing her interlocutress forbear to observe that Charlotte’s view of a long visit even from such allies was there to be reckoned with.”
― Henry James, quote from The Golden Bowl


“She saw herself in this connexion without detachment – saw others alone with intensity; otherwise she might have been struck, fairly have been amused, by her free assignment of the pachydermatous quality. If”
― Henry James, quote from The Golden Bowl


“It all left her, as she wandered off, with the strangest of impressions – the sense, forced upon her as never yet, of an appeal, a positive confidence, from the four pairs of eyes, that was deeper than any negation and that seemed to speak on the part of each for some relation to be contrived by her, a relation with herself, which would spare the individual the danger, the actual present strain, of the relation with the others. They”
― Henry James, quote from The Golden Bowl


“They might in short have represented any mystery they would; the point being predominantly that the key to the mystery, the key that could wind and unwind it without a snap of the spring, was there in her pocket – or rather, no doubt, clasped at this crisis in her hand and pressed, as she walked back and forth, to her breast. She”
― Henry James, quote from The Golden Bowl


“She might fairly, as she watched them, have missed it as a lost thing; have yearned for it, for the straight vindictive view, the rights of resentment, the rages of jealousy, the protests of passion, as for something she had been cheated of not least: a range of feelings which for many women would have meant so much, but which for her husband’s wife, for her father’s daughter, figured nothing nearer to experience than a wild eastern caravan, looming into view with crude colours in the sun, fierce pipes in the air, high spears against the sky, all a thrill, a natural joy to mingle with, but turning off short before it reached her and plunging into other defiles. She”
― Henry James, quote from The Golden Bowl


“His very quietness was part of it now, as always part of everything, of his success, his originality, his modesty, his exquisite public perversity, his inscrutable incalculable energy; and this quality perhaps it might be – all the more too as the result, for the present occasion, of an admirable traceable effort – that placed him in her eyes as no precious work of art probably had ever been placed in his own.”
― Henry James, quote from The Golden Bowl


“This impression came out most for Maggie when, in their easier intervals, they had only themselves to regard, and when her companion’s inveteracy of never passing first, of not sitting till she was seated, of not interrupting till she appeared to give leave, of not forgetting too familiarly that in addition to being important she was also sensitive, had the effect of throwing over their intercourse a kind of silver tissue of decorum. It”
― Henry James, quote from The Golden Bowl


“We must see the old king; we must “do” the cathedral,’ he said; ‘we must know all about it. If we could but take,’ he exhaled, ‘the full opportunity!’ And then while, for all they seemed to give him, he sounded again her eyes: ‘I feel the day like a great gold cup that we must somehow drain together.”
― Henry James, quote from The Golden Bowl


“He put into his one little glass everything he raised to his lips, and it was as if he had always carried in his pocket, like a tool of his trade, this receptacle, a little glass cut with a fineness of which the art had long since been lost, and kept in an old morocco case stamped in uneffaceable gilt with the arms of a deposed dynasty.”
― Henry James, quote from The Golden Bowl


“Charlotte was in pain, Charlotte was in torment, but he himself had given her reason enough for that; and, in respect to the rest of the whole matter of her obligation to follow her husband, that personage and she, Maggie, had so shuffled away every link between consequence and cause that the intention remained, like some famous poetic line in a dead language subject to varieties of interpretation. What”
― Henry James, quote from The Golden Bowl


“It isn’t a question of any beauty,’ said Maggie; ‘it’s only a question of the quantity of truth.’ ‘Oh the quantity of truth!’ the Prince richly though ambiguously murmured.”
― Henry James, quote from The Golden Bowl


“His love of music, unlike his other loves, owned to vaguenesses, but while, on his comparatively shaded sofa, and smoking, smoking, always smoking, in the great Fawns drawing-room as everywhere, the cigars of his youth, rank with associations – while, I say, he so listened to Charlotte’s piano, where the score was ever absent but, between the lighted candles, the picture distinct, the vagueness spread itself about him like some boundless carpet, a surface delightfully soft to the pressure of his interest.”
― Henry James, quote from The Golden Bowl


About the author

Henry James
Born place: in New York, New York, The United States
Born date April 15, 1843
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