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Hubris and the ego inside,
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This review is from: The Beast in the Jungle (Penguin Mini Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Any reader coming to Henry James for the first time, having viewed, for example the 2009 BBC adaptation of 'A Turn of The Screw' should be warned that James is a very different proposition in print than he is on screen.
Although only 75 pages in length, this novella is no brisk read. In the most part this is due to the fact that the author is the master of the complex sentence. His prose is ornate and lacking the clarity and narrative crispness of say Orwell. Be prepared to read and reread sections in order to gain a secure grasp of the dialogue and characterisation.
Nevertheless this piece is a worthy philosophical take on the axiom life is for living and an indictment of hubris .The reader is led adroitly together with John Marcher to the inevitable epiphany that the 'Beast in the Jungle' (of life) is in fact our own ego which lurks with destructive intent steering us from commitment, self expression and joy.
This work would perhaps be better read as part of a James anthology, rather than as a stand alone novella, thus enabling the reader to become familiar with the author's challenging prose.