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Henry, please take a bow

Henry, please take a bow

By santa jedPublished 4 months ago 4 min read

In early 20th-century England, when a play ended and the audience thought it was good, they would shout, "Author! The Author! This means that the writer of the play is invited to the stage, and they salute him with applause and screams. At this time, the author can pretend to be surprised and calm, and frequently bow to the audience to express gratitude. At the time, the cry was the honor writers sought.

In modern eyes, Henry James is one of the most important literary giants of the 20th century. But at that time, when one of his plays was staged in London, it was a huge blow. After the curtain call, the audience in the back shouted, "Author! The Author! Henry James was called to the stage and was delighted to receive applause from the audience when a chorus of boos and shouts of "Bah! Pei Pei!" Henry stood on the stage, not knowing what to do. He had been a famous novelist for many years, and his first step in the theatre had been a humiliation.

The three minutes he spent on stage were the longest of his life. He looked around, unable to see the faces of the audience, listening to the insults he heard, wondering whether to bow or flee. It wasn't until the curtain fell that he realized he had blown it. He went home in the evening and lay in bed thinking that tomorrow all the newspapers would be writing about the insult he had suffered. Henry felt desperate, like a tsunami survivor, exhausted as he lay on the wet, cold sand.

Henry remembered why he had written plays in the first place. He remembered with embarrassment that he wanted to make money. Henry, who was in his late fifties at the time, was famous in his youth for his novels, and although he had a great reputation, his books could not sell. Publishers were so stingy that they would only advance 200 pounds on a book. One year, he sold only 25 copies of all his published books a year. It was a humiliation for him, a failure by today's standards, and worse still: his friend Dumerier was a bestselling author.

Henry knew Dumerier when he was an illustrator, drawing pictures for a magazine. Dumerier's disability, which gradually blinded him in one eye, made painting increasingly difficult. He tried to write two novels, one of which was an instant hit, selling well in Britain and the United States, and a second edition, the money poured into his pocket. The publisher graciously advanced him to 2,000 pounds for his next novel. Once he received a £7,000 payment from his publisher, looked at it, and threw it away. Making money means nothing to him.

Henry was jealous of this. He had read his friend's novel and thought it was shallow and immature compared with his own. Just after Henry's dramatic failure, Dumerier's novel was adapted into a play that toured the United States and England for several years, and Henry's work was withdrawn after a few weeks.

Although failure is painful, the success of a friend is even more painful. Henry, as a writer, could hardly make false praise of Dumerier's works, and as a friend, he felt jealous of his success. This mixed emotion made Henry feel embarrassed. Henry now counted his life. He was fifty years old, and for all his optimism, more than half of it had passed. By this time, his brother William James was a world-renowned academic, his sister-in-law had always thought she was married to the better of the two brothers, and his friend Dumerier was a writer publishers were eager to please. Henry sold few books a year and was ridiculed for his dramatic failures. He is referred to in the past tense and is referred to by his servants as an "old celebrity".

This situation of failure did not change until the end of Henry's life. In the twilight of his life, Henry burned all his letters to all the great men of letters. He felt angry and hopeless that if you did not value me, I would not let you know me. He didn't want them to be published after his death, relegating him to a minor role in the correspondence with various famous people.

Henry would chuckle if he knew now how much the letters he had burned had cost the literary world. But if Henry knew that his work now sells in distant markets overseas, one edition, every year, a professor of English and American literature students none dare to skip his work, he has readers all over the world is his unimaginable Numbers, and was the best-selling author, now have been destroyed, names are forgotten by the people, what would he think?

Henry, who was considered a failure in life, was remembered repeatedly in death. This is the biggest counterattack of all. And the success of the reverse hit so late, let a person sigh! For Henry, it is a pity that he did not enjoy the success he did during his lifetime, but what does it matter? Successful counterattacks, over time, become sad and funny, this is nothing after all.

Anyway, Henry, if you can hear me, take a bow!

fact or fiction

About the Creator

santa jed

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