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December 4th, 2007

Tuesday Morning Brain Food

From Arts & Letters Daily:

Google and Its Enemies
Google has, as they say, all the right enemies. Anytime the ALA, Microsoft, France, a trade guild, and a bunch of trial lawyers are lined up on one side of an argument, the other side is going to look extremely attractive. And there is a seductive appeal to the idea of Google Book Search, to the dream of having millions of books at your fingertips. Yet there are the aspects of the project that should give us pause.

'Henry James: The Mature Master' by Sheldon Novick
But James himself famously urged that the writer try "to be one of the people on whom nothing is lost!" His reference is to George Eliot, and the power of imagination; she did not confine herself to scenes observed firsthand. And much of his great fiction arises out of dinner table conversation or gossip overheard. If James could not enlarge upon experience actually engaged in, his writings would have been exclusively memoir. No female or foreigner, no adventurer or servant could have been portrayed with that intense evocative precision so characteristic of this author -- and many of his greatest portraits are of women, from Daisy Miller and Isabel Archer to Kate Croy and Milly Theale and Maggie Verver.

-The Gneech

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