Open Collections

UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

"Writing as conversation" : the novels of Henry Green with an annotated bibliography on Green Fraser, Gail 1975

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata


831-UBC_1975_A8 F73_8.pdf [ 7.21MB ]
JSON: 831-1.0093441.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0093441-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0093441-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0093441-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0093441-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0093441-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0093441-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

"WRITING AS CONVERSATION": THE NOVELS OF HENRY GREEN with an annotated bibliography on Green by CAROLINE GAIL FRASER B.A., Univers ity of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1961 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in the Department of English : We accept th i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA A p r i l , 1975 In presenting th i s thesis in pa r t i a l f u l f i lment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the Univers ity of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library sha l l make i t f r ee l y ava i lable for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of th i s thesis for scholar ly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representatives. I t i s understood that copying or publ icat ion of th i s thesis for f i nanc ia l gain shal l not be allowed without my written permission. Department of English The Univers ity of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 ABSTRACT Henry Green described his experiments in f i c t i o n as "conversa-t ions " between the wr i ter and his unseen reader. "We ta lk to one another in novels," he sa id. In chapter one, the implications of th i s statement are discussed within the framework of the author-reader r e l a -t ionship in f i c t i o n from Sterne to John Barth and Robbe-Gri l let. By comparing Green with these novel ists and others such as Jane Austen, Dickens, Henry James, and V i r g i n i a Woolf, one can consider and evaluate more e f f e c t i ve l y his techniques of communication. Some of the aspects of conversation as a l i v i n g art as well as a l i t e r a r y art are also d i s -cussed, with pa r t i cu la r emphasis on the del ight in process rather than in the f in i shed product. Chapter two begins by re la t ing the "communication without speech" between author and reader to the dialogue between Green's characters. Then, the "project for the nove l i s t " which the author outl ined in two of his radio talks i s considered as a formula for the successful manage-ment of the conversation between wr i ter and reader. This formula i s : " f i r s t , to catch his [the reader ' s ] a t tent ion, secondly, to make him read each word as i f he were not asleep, and f i n a l l y to create a work of art . . . between the author and reader." The second chapter contains a study of the tac t i c s whereby Green catches the attention of the reader, and awakens him to the experience of the novel. These t ac t i c s include: the challenging t i t l e s ; the introduction of s t a r t l i n g discrepancies, pa r t i cu l a r l y in the opening chapters; the "a r res t ing " use of coincidence; and the juggl ing of ident ica l names between d i f fe rent characters. i i i i i Chapter three tests the second part of Green's formula: "to make him read each word as i f he were not asleep." To ensure the reader 's careful l i s t en i n g , Green forged a personal and d i s t i n c t i v e prose s t y l e - -a voice for his side of the conversation. In th i s chapter, the arrest ing aspects of his s ty le are examined in d e t a i l . Green developed another sure technique for keeping us awake: the s i gn i f i cant d i s tort ions which r u f f l e the surface of his prose and create a watchful, uneasy reader. Green's narrators in Party Going and Concluding are parodies of omnis-cient s t o r y - t e l l e r s ; consequently, the reader i s placed in e s sent ia l l y the same questioning, tentat ive pos it ion as the characters occupy in the novels. Green's formula i s completed when the reader takes an act ive part in the s i l e n t conversation. Chapter four discusses the ways in which th i s reader i s urged to become a performing partner in the creation of the novel. The mysterious, unanswered questions, the lack of auth-o r i a l commentary, and Green's technique of "non-description" provide s i l en t places in the narrative which the reader must f i l l . Ambiguous endings put Green's reader in an equivocal pos it ion in which his own re -actions become comically apparent, and most of his conventional expecta-tions are exposed by the author 's parodies of various stock devices. At the same time, Green persuades his reader to create meaning from the net-work of f ree - r id ing motifs and images which gives unusual freedom to the interpret ive voice. Thus the reader " ta lks back" even af ter the novel i s " f i n i s hed , " and Green's f i c t i o n becomes a v i t a l , a r t i s t i c conversation. CONTENTS Chapter Page I. "WRITING AS CONVERSATION" 1 II. CATCHING THE READER'S ATTENTION 21 I I I. ENSURING CAREFUL LISTENING 50 IV. THE READER TALKS BACK 92 BIBLIOGRAPHY 137 iv Chapter I "WRITING AS CONVERSATION" Henry Green doted on conversation. " I t i s now almost the only communication there is between human beings, " 1 he once wrote; and in a fragmented, precarious world, th i s exchange of knowledge, feel ings and in tu i t i ons through the ha l f - t ru th s , evasions and humour of speech was, to him, a miracle. In a memorial address given in February, 1974, V. S. P r i t chet t paid t r ibute to Green's unique apprehension of the mysterious power of human t a l k : He saw that the human rigmarole is a mosaic of repet i t ions and that i t i s a sort of unconscious poetry or a touching attempt to grope our way towards intimacy and yet also to se l f -p ro tec t ion . Talk was part of the human mystery, an attempt to l i f t the corner of the v e i l . Thomas Hardy spoke of the 'low sad music of humanity' [ s i c ] . To Henry, speech was th i s music, though he did not think of i t as mourn-f u l ; for him i t was strange, even an assertion of a character ' s pride in the ro le he has a r ight t o . 2 Green saw ta lk between two people as a celebration of both individual ism and intimacy, a symbol of "the human mystery." When I v i s i t e d him, sev-eral months before his death, he had not completed a novel for twenty years, and a l l his strength, v i v ac i t y , playfulness and tolerance had be-come channelled into th i s l i v i n g a r t . The perfection of communication through conversation was an Augustan i dea l . The term, "conversation," used then in a much broader sense than now, embraced the whole socia l re lat ionsh ip in i t s most perfect 3 intercourse. In his autobiography, Pack My Bag, Green records that he 1 2 was sent, before Oxford, to " f i n i s h o f f " in southern France, "at a big country house and a large family with everyone speaking from noon to 4 midnight, the women talked l i f e and the men p o l i t i c s . " It was an educa-t ion reminiscent of the seventeenth century country houses in England, where the grace and learning which fathered the Augustans were she l tered. For twelve hours each day, Green wr i tes , socia l intercourse consisted of "one ra id a f ter another superbly done, not into enemy country because they were charming people but rather from the natural a c t i v i t y of the i r minds, as birds a f te r food" (PMB, 190). As in the eighteenth century, women were involved as int imately as men in the l i f e of conversation; with one of them, Green played through a l l the stages of a courtship and marriage, in ta l k . Before the break-up of the English class system during the Great War, Green found del ight in conversation with the cottagers of his v i l -lage. The easiness of the i r ta lk came "from the re lat ionsh ip between us being a f ixed one with simple ru les. In ta lk ing with them the minutes would s l i p by with nothing v i t a l sa id, in ease and comfort, with no f l a t t e r y but with a high sense on both sides of things untold" (PMB, 70). Green never evokes the past in his books except to i l l u s t r a t e how i t can i nh i b i t the growth of a Richard Roe or a Charley Summers; his characters are committed to present l i f e . Rosamund Lehmann t e l l s how he once wrote to her that the times of the second world war, when everything was in f lux and nothing ce r ta in , were "an absolute g i f t to the wr i te r . Every-thing i s breaking up. A seed can lodge and sprout in any crack or f i s -5 sure. Nonetheless, behind his characters ' mishearings and 3 misconceptions, beneath the i r fragmented and evasive stream of dialogue, one hears f a i n t echoes from a lo s t art of communication between men in society--the ideal behind the sh i f t i ng facade. Unt i l his death, Green practised a b r i l l i a n t l y unique version of th i s a r t . He was cons istently enterta in ing, a s t o r y - t e l l e r with an en-gaging ta lent for sharply drawn anecdotes and l ight-hearted fantas ies. Just as, in the novels, his ear for tone and cadence had created the idioms of servants, London landladies, and the Mayfair set a l i k e , so his conversation was highlighted by s p i r i t ed speech impressions--from his grandmother, who coloured her " re f ined " accents with pronunciations l i k e " y a l l e r " to a v i s i t i n g French student who clasped his hands in hers and ca l led him "M i s ta i r Rock." An Augustan in the ease and grace of his movements from one topic to another, Green was a Shandean as w e l l , and made his l i s tener the v ict im of a bagful of conversational t r i c k s : d e l i -berate mis interpretat ions, double entendres, "deafness," and expressive "body" language. Most important, his side of the conversation waited i n s t i n c t i v e l y and sens i t i ve ly on his partner ' s voice. Conversation was a game Green loved to play, but he sought col laborat ion rather than domi-nation, and he encouraged one to take the freedom of the f i e l d . In the course of the memorial address, V. S. P r i t chet t also remarked that Green was "at heart . . . a 1istener" (p. 29). The speech between human beings that Green saw as "an attempt to l i f t the corner of the v e i l " became his metaphor for the communication between wr i ter and reader in f i c t i o n . In th i s age of what has been ca l led " a f fec t i ve c r i t i c i s m , " i t i s surpr is ing that the author/reader 4 re lat ionship should have been thus far overlooked in the work of a wr i ter whose radio talks were en t i t l ed "A Novel ist to his Readers." Green describes th i s re lat ionsh ip in an a r t i c l e he wrote on the c ra f t of f i c t i o n , ca l led "The English Novel of the Future." He says: The communication between the two w i l l be on a common or garden plane, but the mere exchange between two human beings in conversa-t ion i s a mysterious thing enough. The mere fact that we ta lk to one another i s man's greatest asset. That we ta lk to one another in novels, that i s , between complete strangers and perhaps, in d i f -ferent countries, i s nothing less than miraculous i f you once rea l i ze how much common experience can be shared. My plea is that we should not underestimate th i s and that between wr i ter and reader we should t ry to create l i f e , a l i f e of i n te res t , entertainment and solace, without the appeal to the heights of morals or the depths of p o l i t i c s , neither of which have a proper place in narrat ive. (ENF, 21) The importance Green assigned to th i s passage i s indicated by i t s pos i -t ion at the summing-up point of a statement which expresses, so he wrote to John Lehmann, "my theory of how novels should be done." 7 Wherever we look in the slender f i l e of commentary Green l e f t us on his work, we f ind th i s emphasis on communication—a conversation through the medium of p r in t . Prose i s described, for example, in Pack My Bag, as "a long intimacy between strangers with no d i rec t appeal to what both may have known" (p. 88). The two B.B.C. programs, "A Novel ist to his Readers, I and II," take th i s as the i r thes i s : "I mean to deal here with the unspoken communication between novel ist and reader in nar-o r a t i v e . " In "An Unfinished Novel," he speaks of the wr i ter "conferr ing" g with the reader from a remote distance. That wr i ter and reader can create and sustain l i f e across seas and af ter death i s perhaps, as John Russell th inks, a "cur ious ly romantic 5 expec t a t i on . " 1 0 Perhaps i t indicates Green's refusal to be trapped by the l imi tat ions and vagaries of the world, through the invocation of an i dea l : the enlightened and sympathetic conversation of another age. That the reader possesses, po ten t i a l l y , the imaginative response which can apprehend and endow a f i c t i v e l i f e with meaning indicates a v e s t i -g i a l romanticism in Green the scept ic , whose awareness of man's s e l f -delusions i s fundamental to his comedy. "That we ta lk to one another in novels" reminds one most per-suasively of Tristram Shandy's famous dictum, from which is drawn the t i t l e for th is essay: "Writ ing, when properly managed (as you may be sure I think mine i s ) i s but a d i f fe rent name fo r conver sat ion . " 1 1 The most self-conscious, all-encompassing conversation in l i t e r a tu re i s , on one l e v e l , between a dramatized narrator and dramatized readers; on another l e v e l , between a dramatized narrator and us; but ac tua l l y , be-tween Sterne and us. James A. Work describes th i s communication v i v i d l y when he says: The door that i s shut in the fourth chapter is never opened; the whole book is a conversation between Sterne and his reader, a drama in which they two play the pr inc ipa l parts. Sterne i s constantly present, smil ing at the reader and mocking, beckoning and obstruct-ing, revealing and concealing, leading and misleading, int r igu ing and i r r i t a t i n g and del ight ing him--sometimes in c l e r i c a l s , more f r e -quently in motley; sometimes weeping, more frequently gr inning; sometimes c lea r , more frequently inscrutable--but eterna l ly there. ( " Introduction," TS_, Ixxi) The reader has a ro le to play a l so, as we are not allowed to forget, for Tristram is constantly putting us on stage, placing us in uncomfortably equivocal pos i t ions, and test ing our imagination, adaptab i l i t y , and 6 memory. Our col laborat ion i s essential to the t e l l i n g , for "a man should ever bring one half of the entertainment along with him" (TS, VI I I, x i x , 559). On the surface, the s i m i l a r i t i e s between the conversation Sterne manages so well in Tristram Shandy and the conversation Green draws his readers i n to , are obscured by the outstanding d i f ference. For, i f the conversation of Tristram Shandy i s dramatized, and Sterne's voice tr ium-phantly assumed by Tristram, the clown, publ ic entertainer, bumbling i n -competent, and narrator-par-excel lence, Green's conversation i s s i l e n t and oblique--a "communication without speech." Except in Party Going and Concluding, where the narrator achieves a certa in dramatic stance by parodying omniscient s t o r y - t e l l e r s , Green's techniques of scenic jux ta -pos i t ion , dialogue, and exter ior "camera-eye" representation of the type found in Loving, succeed in removing the narrator as a commentator on the act ion. In his l a s t two novels, Nothing and Doting, Green as "persona" re t i re s completely: "The wr i ter has no business with the story he i s w r i t i ng " (ANR I, 506). And, whereas Sterne's eighteenth-century readers are dramatized (a soc ia l gathering of S i r s , Madams, your wor-ships and your reverences) Green's reader i s a stranger, his tastes and prejudices a mystery, " . . . and that i s , so far as most of us are con-cerned to make (him)self r e a l " (PMB, 233). I t i s interest ing to compare Green's notion of the reader as "stranger" with the nineteenth century nove l i s t ' s f a m i l i a r i t y . Dickens, for example, could address his reader (through Esther Summerson) at the end of Bleak House: "Then I, and the unknown f r iend to whom I wr i te , w i l l 7 12 part for ever. Not without much dear remembrance on my s ide. " How could Esther, or Dickens, know the reader well enough to remember him, except in the sense of V i r g i n i a Woolf 's remark about older wr i te r s , l i k e 13 Jane Austen, who could re ly upon an audience with public norms? Dickens's t rust in his reader 's habitual responses was deepened by the intimacy of se r i a l pub l icat ion, and expressed i t s e l f in that r i t u a l , 14 incantatory rhetor ic that declares a public and communal nature. The reader spoke back exactly as Dickens knew he would, a f te r each se r i a l episode; and the author tempered his voice accordingly. In Martin  Chuzzlewit, he even changed the topic of conversation, interpolat ing the American episodes in response to his readers ' lack of interest in what he had been ta lk ing about. In sp i te of the difference between speech and s i lence, Sterne and Green both manage the i r conversation with the reader in s t r i k i n g l y s imi -l a r ways. Many of Green's t r i c k s for teasing, i r r i t a t i n g , and cajo l ing the reader into ta lk ing to him may have been learned from Tristram 15 Shandy; for instance, the aggressively eccentr ic punctuation, the mockery of t rad i t i ona l plot sequences, the d i rec t challenges to the reader 's inventiveness and the play with his impatience for conclusions, the use of equivocation to reveal the reader to himself. These devices are wielded s i l e n t l y by Green who, in l i eu of a Tristram to drag us from our cha i r s , uses other techniques to disrupt and i r r i t a t e , so that we are awakened to the point of reply. His prose s t y l e , while revealing nothing d i r e c t l y ("the wr i ter w i l l keep any d i rec t statement from him-se l f out of his narrative because anything of the kind has an i nh ib i t i ng 8 ef fect on the magic which has to be created between wr i ter and reader" [ENF,25]) i s as d i s t i n c t i v e and personal a speaking voice as Green could fashion for his side of the conversation. This voice, Green bel ieved, would be as e f fec t i ve in reaching us as the "dear Reader" approach of the author-narrators in f i c t i o n between Sterne and Henry James. The presence of the author being established thus obl iquely, in some cases so obl iquely as to be sensed only in the a r t i s t i c arrangement of dialogue, gave the reader 's imagination ( in which Green believed so stubbornly) the freedom i t needed to create l i f e . His decision to conduct a conversation between the reader and a wr i ter so hidden from view owes something, as w e l l , to Green's temperament. He also "doted" on the mysterious: the del iberate concealment of strength which prompted his assumption of a pseudonym, and his ins istence on the opacity of his characters. As V. S. P r i t chet t claims, "he f e l t himself to be mysterious" (p. 29). Authorial effacement was, perhaps, the condi-t ion which gave his s ty le such a bold expressiveness. Andre Maurois, in his l i t t l e t reat i se describing the spoken conversation, equates freedom of expression with the mask of concealment: "The most secretive men are con f ident i a l , but beneath the surface of general ideas they believe them-1 c selves hidden behind a mask. Even I who wr i te th i s . . . ." One wr i ter who, before James, used "rendered" scenes to communi-cate s i l e n t l y with the reader, and with whom Green has been compared, 1 7 was Jane Austen. Even with a r e l i a b l e narrator to guide us--masterful ly, 18 as Wayne Booth has i l l u s t r a t e d --Austen re l i e s on a richness of unspoken comment through irony and discrepancy, often drawing on a f ine mingling 9 of tones to evoke a complicated response. In th i s respect, as well as in the i r "unfooled" clearsightedness, both authors are a l i k e . The most dramatic scene of Persuasion, for example, involves a s i l e n t juxtapos i -t ion of Anne E l l i o t ' s capab i l i t y with the helplessness of the other lad ies , demanding a moral judgement from the reader, and a comic adjust-ment of response. Louisa Musgrove's impulsive leap from the top step at the Cobb provokes several moments of real ter ror and despair for the str icken group about her. Descriptions of the apparently l i f e l e s s v i c -t im, Charles ' s g r ie f and Wentworth's cry of agony, "Is there no one to help me?" a l l suggest the makings of a tragedy. Checking the reader 's response, however, are the elements of farce. Mary becomes hy s te r i ca l , rendering her husband Charles comically useless, and Henrietta fa int s dead away, so that not one but two unconscious s i s te r s require ass i s -19 tance. 20 S im i l a r l y , in a scene from Back, comic discrepancies in tone are used to complicate the reader 's response. Charley Summers, ju s t back from the war, in which he lo s t a leg and his g i r l , Rose, looks up a lady whose address has been given him by Rose's father. Unknown to Charley, or to us at th i s time, Nancy i s actua l ly Rose's h a l f - s i s t e r , and there i s a mysterious l ikeness. When the door is opened, Charley f a i n t s , and on r e v i v a l , his horror increases with every moment. Rose i s back from the dead, but f r ighten ing ly a l te red; Middlewitch, in a s i n i s t e r coincidence, is ju s t across the landing; everything i s seen through the v e i l of Charley 's growing nausea, when a l l at once the scene becomes overcast with comic irony. Nancy's r e l i e f at her f u rn i tu re ' s escape 10 from Charley 's overturned coffee, and the softening of her manner because "the su i t has taken a l l he had s p i l t , " her ludicrous attempts at small ta lk ("D'you do th i s for a l i v i n g , then?") - - in short, the undercutting of Charley 's p l i gh t , causes the reader to adjust his glasses, and make a judgement about "coincidence" and contingency. After F laubert ' s well-known dictum, "No l y r i c i sm, no comments, the author 's personality absent," novel ists adopted now-celebrated tech-niques of authorial comment without benefit of narrator. As Booth says, With commentary ruled out, hundreds of devices remain for revealing judgement and molding responses. Patterns of imagery and symbol are as e f fect i ve in modern f i c t i o n as they have always been in poetry in cont ro l l ing our evaluation of de ta i l s , (p. 272) In order to maintain a playful re lat ionsh ip with his reader, however, Green de l iberate ly abandoned the t i gh t l y - con t ro l l ed "seamless web" which James and modern symbolists l i k e V i r g i n i a Woolf wove from th is s i l e n t language. The somewhat exotic blend which emerges from Green's use of symbolic objects, image, l e i tmot i f and techniques of scenic montage to suggest meaning, and the d isrupt ive tac t i c s he also uses to communicate with the reader, make him unique in modern f i c t i o n . Although James, for example, was pa r t i cu l a r l y concerned with the reader 's creat ive r o l e , th i s ro le was to be ch ie f l y a " l i s t e n i n g " one: the reader as judge of a shaped and completed world. This i s true in spite of the blank spaces l e f t for the reader to f i l l in The Turn of the Screw and James's exper i -ments with the ambiguous ending which only appears to be formally closed 21 and completed. S im i l a r l y , V i r g i n i a Woolf r e l i ed heavily on the reader 's a b i l i t y 11 to recognize, and confer meaning on, patterns of imagery, symbol, and l e i tmot i f . However, she uses no rhetor ica l s t rateg ies, as Green does, to i r r i t a t e and intr igue her reader into pa r t i c i pa t i on . Neither does she leave si lences for him to speak i n t o - - l i k e James's, hers i s a world complete in i t s e l f . Except in her comic fantasy Orlando, the reader i s never roused from the story, as he i s in Green's novels, to feel the author 's eyes f ixed on his face, waiting for a response. In the del iberate rents Green made in the "seamless web" to get his reader 's a t tent ion, there are a f f i n i t i e s with some modern exper i -mental wr i te r s ; for example, A la in Robbe-Gri l let. The subtle d i s to r -tions of sequence, and discrepancies in Green's novels are forerunners of the seemingly capricious handling of chronology which has such a d i sor ient ing ef fect on the reader of Jealousy. Green and the "new novel i s t s " also share a fasc inat ion with formal structure; Nothing and 22 Doting resemble, in the i r mathematical prec i s ion, the pr inc ip les of organization based on, for instance, t r a i n schedules or ( in the case of Claude Simon's The Flanders Road) the ace of clubs. Furthermore, Robbe-G r i l l e t and Green both bear a strong resemblance to Kafka, in the i r ambiguous endings and in the i r hal lucinatory e f fect on the reader. The sense of being awake, and dreaming, at the same time pervades Green's work; pa r t i cu l a r l y Party Going, Back, and Concluding. This atmosphere i s induced part ly by his "statuesque" imagery, part ly by an insidious assault on the reader; in Back, through the lenses of Charley Summers's obsession; in Concluding, by a network of motifs suggesting sleep and dreaming, opiates, lethargy, dul led senses, and spec i f i c hal lucinatory 12 effects such as black and white squares, bluebottles buzzing in azaleas, and the sun g l i n t i n g on ice cubes. In the novels of Green and Robbe-Gri1 l e t , one finds a del iberate attack on te leo log ica l tendencies within the novel and within the reader. The detective novel has been parodied by Green, in Concluding, and Robbe-G r i l l e t , in The Erasers; the i r wr i t ing generally mounts an assault on plot structures and endings which celebrate a point or pos i t ion, or make a "discovery" which has been ca re fu l l y planted. They both, l i k e Sterne, t ry to defeat the reader 's i n s t inc t s to proceed " i n a st ra ight l i n e " to the end. "Digressions are the sunsh ine, " - - i t i s the process rather than the product which de l ights , and immersion in the process allows for no f ixed positions or goals. One suspects that i t was Green's absolute re -fusal to write anything resembling an apologue, and his humorous scorn for l i t e r a r y or academic "point-making" that so angered C. P. Snow. I r r i t a ted by Green's avoidance of the abstract speech of l i t e r a r y c r i t i -cism, and his preference fo r workmanlike examples from everyday l i f e , Snow charged him with " f a l se naivete" in de l iberate ly not sounding l i k e 23 the learned, "c lever man" he was. Snow's reaction to Green i s amusingly l i k e a well-known episode two hundred years ago. When Congreve was an old man, Vo l ta i re v i s i t ed him in England, to pay his respects to the greatest l i v i n g English drama-t i s t . He was ho r r i f i ed when, upon a r r i v a l , he was asked that I should v i s i t him upon no other Foot than that of a Gentleman, who led a L i f e of Plainness and S imp l i c i t y . I answer'd, that had he been so unfortunate as to be a mere Gentleman I should never have come to see him; and I was very much disgusted at so unseasonable a Piece of Vanity.24 13 Both men, Vo l ta i re and Snow, took as an a f fectat ion an att i tude which they misunderstood. For Congreve, the l i v i n g ar t of conversation was more s i gn i f i can t than the l i t e r a r y a r t ; and for Green, " th i s determinedly 25 un l i terary author," the process of l i v i n g , or of wr i t i ng , was more s i gn i f i can t than the concept or product. Green, l i k e Robbe-Gri l let and other modern nove l i s t s , was McLuhanesque in his concentration on the process of symbol-making and associat ive thinking in the mind of the reader; in his drawing attent ion to the act of w r i t i n g , through the boldly displayed components of his s t y l e ; and in his commitment to the ac tua l i t y of dialogue. As in Sterne, what i s real in Green i s the movement of the mind between points, rather than the points themselves. I do not know i f Green read any early McLuhan; but his remarks to Terry Southern cer ta in l y indicate a s im i la r emphasis on the "form of communication": I t i s simply that the novel i s t i s a communicator and must therefore be interested in any form of communication. You don't d ictate to a g i r l now, you use a recording apparatus; no one fa in t s anymore, they have blackouts; in Geneva you don 't k i l l someone by cutt ing his throat, you blow a poisoned dart through a tube and zing you've got him. Media change.26 As a wr i ter cons istent ly engaged in experiments with communication, Green would also have been interested in John Barth, who has proven that "new nove l i s t s " in North America can i l luminate the processes of thought rather than the end-product, by using very d i f fe rent methods from the i r contemporaries in Europe. Barth has moved much further away from the novel as ordered, organic a r t i f a c t than Green, who was never r ea l l y "mad 27 at Flaubert, was prepared to , but his del ight in v i r t uo s i t y and the 14 concept, which he shares with Nabokov, of f i c t i o n as a sort of l i t e r a r y funhouse in which the reader i s inv i ted to amuse himself even i f he gets 28 lo s t occas ional ly, i s character i s t i c of Green's special brand of com-munication. As we shal l see, Green thought of his reader as a part ic ipant in the action of the story, with the other characters as his "audience." Robbe-Gri l let is very s imi la r in that he demands a creative reader; but whereas Green's reader is almost always at an i ron ic distance from the characters, and responds to the w r i t e r ' s rhetor ica l strategies with a renewed comic self-awareness, Robbe-Gr i l let ' s prose tends to put the reader inside the mind of the narrator. In Jealousy, for example, we are compelled to adopt the same obsessive attention to deta i l as the nar-rator. Thus, in his e a r l i e r novels, the emphasis i s not focussed on the game which author and reader play. More recent ly, Robbe-Gr i l let ' s work has exhibited a comic self-consciousness, and in Projet d'une Revolution a New York, discussions with the reader form part of the text of the novel. Barth, Nabokov, Green, and Sterne--these authors are more i n t e r -ested in playing a communications game with the reader than are V i r g in i a Woolf or Henry James. The former writers use comic awakening tac t i c s on the reader, who is revealed in his status as reader, and much of the i r prose plays a self-conscious game of waiting on the response, which enlivens the work while i t reveals the reader to himself as an actor, or a character in the story. One modern Shandean, Flann O 'Br ien, dramatized the writer-reader re lat ionsh ip on several levels in At-Swim-Two-Birds. 15 On one l e v e l , the " I " narrator, wr i t ing a novel, plays a var iety of t r i c k s borrowed from Tristram to s t a r t l e the reader and urge his p a r t i c i -pation: a portion of the manuscript has been l o s t , synopses are produced from time to time "For the Benefit of New Readers," d i rect ions are given to reread the synopses, and so on. On another l e v e l , the hero of the " I " narrator ' s novel, a novel i s t a l so, i s overcome by his own char-acters and kept under sedation while they write the novel with him as a character. The most important problem they tackle i s how to keep the reader engaged, and pa r t i c ipa t ing . Shanahan, one of the characters-turned-novel ist, says: "I_ may understand you, Mr. Lamont may understand you, Mr. Furriskey may understand you--but the man in the street? Oh, by God you have to go very very slow i f you want him to fol low you. A snai l would be too fast for him, a snai l could give him yards."29 The de l i g h t f u l l y arrogant irony of th i s " techn i ca l " discussion is con-tained in the fact that At-Swim-Two-Birds, l i k e Tristram Shandy, makes the most atrocious demands on i t s reader, expecting him (for one thing) to fol low three separate and eccentr ic story l ines at once. Green also makes heavy demands, expecting us, for instance, to sort out the complex time-scheme of Caught, while a l l the time perpetrating a s i l e n t joke based on the reader 's " j o u r n a l i s t i c " expectations: from his conditioned responses to the printed page, to his longing for f a i r y ta le endings. And yet , most surpr i s ing ly , Green i s a symbolist. This fact has a special s ign i f icance for his reader, who. is placed in an equivocal pos it ion by the dua l i ty in th i s wr i ter he converses with. The blend of romanticism and scepticism which we noted e a r l i e r is recapitulated 16 in the mixture of the celebration of process with what sometimes appears to be a search for transcendent meaning. In th i s respect, Green's work casts the same sort of l i gh t as Nabokov's Ada, which, in i t s mocking exaggeration of the same romantic values which are given such convincing r e a l i t y , i s both romantic quest and parody. S im i l a r l y , Berck combines a medieval, romantic quest for a lo s t ideal with a parody of the quest, through the sentimental love story enacted on the narrative l e v e l . Thus, Summers's Rose symbolizes the only creative communication Green has ever seen for his characters (loving) but th is ideal i s undercut by Rose's l e t t e r s , and the p o s s i b i l i t y of Nancy having been "a t a r t . " S im i l a r l y , the eighteenth century romantic ta le reproduced at the novel 's center parodies the quest and universal izes i t . Just as how Green communicated with his readers stresses the act of creat ion, so the what of his message concerns the process of l i v i n g rather than the structure of l i f e . As he sa id , the experiences to be shared by reader and wr i ter were to be "common or garden": f a l l i n g in love, doting, growing o l d , and so on. "The great issues should be dealt with by the poets, but I think the great issues are the personal 30 ones," he said in an interview. F i fteen years l a t e r , Barth repl ied to a question about soc ia l c r i t i c i s m , "I can ' t in f i c t i o n get very i n t e r -ested in such things. My argument is with the facts of l i f e , not the conditions of i t . . . I'm not very responsible in the Social Problems 31 way, I guess." Rather than t e l l i n g the i r readers about l i f e , l i k e the s a t i r i s t or, as Robbe-Gri l let sa id, the "propagandist," these novel ists re ly on an immediacy of communication and response to create l i f e . Thus Green's wr i t ing is of a piece--the act of the reader 's response, through the stages of his awakening to his speaking into the novel, fuses with themes b u i l t around characters 1 iv ing, committed, through dialogue and 32 act ion, to the f lux of present times. In his work and in his l i f e , Green avoided the abstract ion, or the argument which concealed a "planted" conclusion. His spoken conver-sation was, predictably, based on the personal, and drew i t s examples and metaphors from everyday l i f e . In his speech as well as in his novels, he was a great enemy of "theory" and loved to defeat any that happened along with f anc i fu l incongruit ies. He once sa id , " L i te ra ture i s not a subject to write essays about" (PMB, 213). 18 Notes "The English Novel of the Future," Contact, 1 (1950), 21-24. Subsequent references to th is a r t i c l e are noted parenthet ical ly in the text by i n i t i a l s (ENF) and page. 2 "Henry Yorke, Henry Green," London Magazine, June-July 1974, pp. 28-32. 3 Herbert J . Davis, The Augustan Art of Conversation (Vancouver: Univers ity of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1957), p. 13. 4 Pack My Bag (London: Hogarth Press, 1940), p. 187. Subsequent references are noted parenthet ical ly in the text by i n i t i a l s (PMB) and page. 5 "An Absolute G i f t , " Times L i terary Supplement, 6 Aug. 1954, p. 41. Green probably inher ited his ear for speech-patterns from his father, whom he represents as an amateur of d ia lects (PMB, 10-11). 7 John Lehmann, The Ample Proposition (London: Eyre & Spott i s -woode, 1966), p. 109. g "A Novel ist to his Readers: Communication without Speechi" The  L i stener, 9 Nov. 1950, p. 505. Subsequent references to th i s a r t i c l e and i t s companion, "A Novel ist to his Readers--II," The L istener, 15 March 1951, are noted parenthet ica l ly in the text by i n i t i a l s (ANR I, or ANR II) and page. 9 "An Unfinished Novel," London Magazine, 6 (1959), 11-17. 1 0 Henry Green: Nine Novels and an Unpacked Bag (New Brunswick: Rutgers Univers ity Press, 1960), p. 27. Hereafter c i ted as Nine Novels. 1 1 Laurence Sterne, The L i f e and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, ed. James A. Work (1760-67; rpt. New York: The Odyssey Press, 1940), I, x i , 108. Subsequent references to th i s book are noted paren-t h e t i c a l l y in the text by i n i t i a l s (TS), volume, chapter and page. 12 Charles Dickens, Bleak House, ed. Norman Page (1853; rpt . Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin, 1971), p. 932. 13 "To believe that your impressions hold good for others is to be released from the cramp and confinement of personal i ty. " Collected  Essays, ed. Leonard Woolf (London: Chatto & Windus, 1966), I I , 159. 19 14 P h i l i p Stevick, "Sentimentality and Class ic F i c t i o n , " Mosaic, 4, No. 3 (1971), 23-31. 15 Green was maddeningly Shandean when I asked him about Sterne. He pretended I had said something e l se , and went o f f on a digress ion. Later, he admitted to having reread Tristram Shandy, "how many times, I haven't the s l i gh tes t idea. " La Conversation (Par is: L i b ra r i e Hachette, 1964), p. 18. A l l quotations are my translat ions from the or ig ina l text. 1 7 See Eudora Welty, "Henry Green: A Novelist of the Imagination,' Texas Quarterly, 4 (1961), 246-56. I o "Control of Distance in Jane Austen's Emma," The Rhetoric of  F i c t i on (Chicago: The Univers ity of Chicago Press, 1961), pp. 243-66. 19 Persuasion, with a Memoir of Jane Austen, ed. D. W. Harding (1818; rpt. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin, 1965), pp. 129-31 20 Henry Green, Back (London: Hogarth Press, 1946), pp. 47-55. 21 "Rea l ly , un iversa l l y , re lat ions stop nowhere," wrote James, "and the exquis ite problem of the a r t i s t i s eterna l ly but to draw, by a geometry of his own, the c i r c l e within which they sha l l happily appear to do so." "Preface to Roderick Hudson," The Art of the Novel (1907; rpt. New York: Charles Scr ibner ' s Sons, 1934), p. 5. The Po r t ra i t of a Lady i l l u s t r a t e s how James solved "the exquis ite problem." 22 Donald S. Taylor, in his a r t i c l e , "Ca ta l y t i c Rhetoric: Henry Green's Theory of the Modern Novel," C r i t i c i sm , 7 (1965), 81-99, i n d i -cates that Doting i s constructed on an elaborate reverse-mirroring of scenes, involving calculus. 23 "Books and Writers, " The Spectator, 22 September 1950, p. 320, was written in rebuttal to "The English Novel of the Future." 24 Francois Marie Aronet de Vo l t a i r e , Letters Concerning the  English Nation (London: Westminster Press, 1926), V, 140. 25 Edward Stokes, The Novels of Henry Green (London: The Hogarth Press, 1959), p. 136. 26 Terry Southern, "The Art of F i c t i o n , " Paris Review, 19 (1958), 60-77. 27 In an interview with John Enck, Barth sa id, " . . . I guess some us us are mad at Flaubert instead, in a f r i end ly way . . . A d i f -ferent way to come to terms with the discrepancy between ar t and the 20 Real Thing is to af f i rm the a r t i f i c i a l element in ar t (you can ' t get r i d of i t anyhow) and make the a r t i f i c e part of your point . . . ." "John Barth: An Interview," Wisconsin Studies in Contemporary L i te ra tu re , 6 (Winter-Spring 1965), 3-14. po See Lost in the Funhouse (New York: Doubleday, 1968). Green would be pa r t i cu l a r l y interested in these short pieces, I think, which Barth saw as experiments in mixed media—pr int, l i v e voice, tape, etc. 29 Flann O'Brien, At-Swim-Two-Birds (London: MacGibbon & Kee, 1939), p. 243. 30 Harvey B r e i t , "Talk With Henry Green--and a P.S.," New York  Times Book Review, 19 Feb. 1950, p. 29. ^ Enck, p. 13. 32 As has often been observed, Green's characters have no past. No-one has remarked, however, how the reader 's sense of the mysterious i s exploited even here. For example, the s i lence about Mr. Rock's great discovery, in Concluding, prompts the reader 's response, "What was i t ? " and, as the s i lence per s i s t s , we are made aware of our own response—a conditioned one which has nothing whatever to do with the immediate, sentient l i f e of the novel. See Chapter 4 for a discussion of th i s technique. Chapter II CATCHING THE READER'S ATTENTION After twenty-four years and eight novels, Henry Green began to open his workshop door by a few inches, allowing readers a b r i e f , glanc-ing view of his t o o l s J Between 1950 and 1952, he gave three radio talks and wrote an a r t i c l e on the art of f i c t i o n . As one would expect from a wr i ter who claims that "explanation k i l l s l i f e , " Green reveals very l i t t l e which does not deal d i r e c t l y with the technical managing of his dialogue novels, Nothing and Doting. However, despite the non- l i terary language and s l y humour of "The English Novel of the Future," "A Novelist to his Readers, I and II," and "A F i r e , a Flood and the Price of Meat," we do f ind abundant confirmation of the be l i e f that informs his unique and consistently experimental novels. For th i s wr i te r , art i s communi-cat ion. His f i r s t novel, Blindness, the story of John Haye's attempts to resolve the emotional d i s a b i l i t y induced by an accident which blinded him, was published before he was twenty-one. Even th i s early in his wr i t ing career, Green f e l t the imagination of the reader to be in co l l ab -oration with the a r t i s t ' s power. Art i s defined, in f a c t , by the qual i ty of i t s existence in the reader, as John muses about his projected wr i t ing career: "Art was what created in the looker-on, and he would have to try 2 and create in others." One i s reminded of Sart re ' s comment, "the 3 l i t e r a r y object has no other substance than the reader 's s ub jec t i v i t y . " Henry Green knew very well the d i f f i c u l t y of establ ishing a crea-t i ve re lat ionsh ip between wr i ter and reader. Writing about a novel he 21 22 t r i ed to f i n i s h a f te r Blindness, he attr ibutes his f a i l u r e to "a to ta l lack of sympathy or communication with the reader" and comically compares the second novel to an Aintree fence which horse and r ider ("not a bad analogy for the re lat ionsh ip between the author and his casual reader") 4 must take together without the reader being hurled o f f . In "An Unfin-ished Novel" and "A Novel ist to his Readers," he refers to the printed page almost as a faceless medium through which the wr i ter must speak, using the words on the page to carry his voice "at second hand through the black and white of p r in t " while he carr ies on his "conference" with the unseen reader. Recording, in Pack My Bag, his attempts to capture the speech of factory workers, he refers to "the deadening ef fect pr int has" (p. 243). How was Green to accomplish the seemingly impossible? Part of the answer i s suggested in the s ub t i t l e of his second and th i rd radio broadcasts: "Communication Without Speech." In Green's novels, the most painful lessons in misunderstanding come about through comic d i s to r t i on of discurs ive reasoning. Pye and 5 Roe, in a c l imact ic scene of Caught, his novel about the London b l i t z , struggle to make contact, but the chain which Pye forges from " s i s t e r , " "w i fe , " and "psychologist, " i s altogether d i f fe rent from Roe's because the same l inks have d i f fe rent associations to each. Green would describe this s i t ua t i on , common in his books, as being "on a wrong wavelength." In the f i r s t chapter of an unfinished "h i s tory " of London at war, he records a drunken audience in Ireland, 1938, l i s ten ing to H i t l e r in f u l l , mad f l i g h t of rhetor i c . The men thought i t was the pr ize f i gh t they had been looking forward to and, though "I t r i ed to explain they were on a 23 wrong wavelength," they were lo s t in the i l l u s i o n , shouting encouragement to the i r favour i te. The insecur i ty of modern times, and human f a i l i n g s such as drunkenness and deafness 7 have broken down the counters of d i s -cursive reasoning. More r e l i a b l e now is the unspoken conversation ca l led forth by the suggestions, half l i e s , omissions and misunderstandings of the other. I r on i ca l l y , when confusion on the "surface" level of communi-cation i s greatest and most h i l a r i ou s , the deepest transfer of feel ings and fears i s often effected. Harold P inter , l i k e Henry Green, suffers from a su r fe i t of readings which "prove" that his characters do not com-municate with each other. Of t h i s , Pinter says, " I t ' s rather more that they communicate only too well in one sense. Their tentacles go out o very strongly to each other . . . ." The drunken Irishmen, in making the wrong connection, have caught the violence and mass hyster ia of H i t l e r ' s crowd, analogous to the pr ize f i gh t . Pye's obsession remains pr ivate, but Roe catches his desperation: " I t came to Richard that Pye must be insane" (p. 162). And jus t as Adams, in the f i r s t chapter of Concluding, develops the deep suspicion that his cottage-hold may be betrayed by Mr. Rock from an innocuous question followed by s i lence, sur-face conversation obl iquely suggests an i n s t i n c t i ve t ru th . Like Green's characters, who often understand one another in sp i te of surface confusion, the author and his reader share a s i l e n t con-versat ion. Using the printed page as his characters use the idiom of the i r everyday speech, through the language of discrepancies and omis-sions, what i s not said i s transmitted to the reader, and created by him, jus t as i t i s between Green's characters ("You needn't have to ld me. I knew, don 't worry," Kate said to the now empty room, but with a sort of Q sa t i s f ac t i on as i t seemed i n pa in " ) . Thus the inconsistencies and evasions which apparently separate the characters can, paradoxical ly, bring reader and wr i ter together through humorous recognition of the s i l e n t language. The aura of mystery which surrounds Green's work owes much to th i s r e f l e c t i on cast by the unspoken onto the verbal l e v e l . Everything depends, however, upon the reader 's wi l l ingness to p a r t i c i -pate, an aptitude which can be encouraged, Green seems to say, by a prose s ty le which w i l l awaken him. At the heart of "The English Novel of the Future," which, l i k e his radio t a l k s , i s concerned with the idea of communication and the reader 's r o l e , l i e s a passage in which Green outl ines th i s "project " for the novel i s t : The main d i f f i c u l t y before the wr i ter i s to f i r e the reader 's en-thusiasm with what he i s reading s u f f i c i e n t l y , f i r s t to catch his at tent ion, secondly, to make him read each word as i f he were not asleep, and f i n a l l y to create a work of a r t — t h a t i s , something l i v -ing which isn ' t—between the author and reader in a work which, while non-representational, w i l l be convincing and a l i v e , (p. 23) Here we have, from th is most oblique of wr i te r s , a straightforward f o r -mula for the managing of the s i l e n t conversation between reader and wr i te r . F i r s t , the reader must be awakened, surprised, and intr igued by the experience of the novel; then, his ca re fu l , imaginative l i s ten ing to a l l the innuendoes of the narrative speaking voice must be encouraged so that he talks back and something is created between them. This f o r -mula i s echoed in a ta lk which Green gave a year l a t e r . "A F i r e , a Flood, and the Price of Meat" has been generally ignored, although i t 25 catches the reader 's attent ion eas i l y enough by purporting to be about the time the c i s te rn in the Gent's overflowed in Green's favour ite pub. But here we f ind "a lesson for wr i te r s " which agrees exactly with his e a r l i e r , more formal statement: It [the f lood] also had the qual i ty of every good book ever wr i t ten , i t challenged the attent ion at once, held th i s and drew a l l the modest drinkers present into a communion of people, each in his own way, equally interested in what would happen nextJO Again, we have the ingredients, in the same order, of the s i l e n t conver-sat ion. F i r s t , the assault on the reader through the narrative voice; then, the v i t a l reciprocal flow through the reader 's response. It i s worth noting, in th i s statement, how each drinker is emphasized; for com-munication is to be magically conducted (with respect and playfulness at once) between private ind iv idua l s . Thus engaged, they form a "com-munion," but Green is not interested in addressing large part ies . His s i l e n t communication with each reader of his novels i s best explored, I think, in terms of the formula he has twice given us. He stresses that the f i r s t of the w r i t e r ' s tasks in negotiating th i s conversation with the reader i s " to catch his a t tent ion . " This i s accomplished eas i l y and immediately in Green's novels by the at tent ion-getting device of his one-word t i t l e s . The interest ing var iety of his readers' responses to these (and Green is always concerned with the widest possible range of response) t e s t i f i e s to the success of the device. Some have found the t i t l e s ob l ig ing ly he lpfu l - - " s imple signposts i n d i -cating the general d i rect ion in which he intends to e x p l o r e , " ^ or " l i k e 1 ? musical indicat ions to keys." Others have found them more than he lp fu l : 26 Earle Labor, for instance, t r i e s to interpret Loving by the grammatical 13 form of i t s t i t l e , using the gerund as a type of symbol. Will iam York Tindal l seems to reinforce t h i s , in his claim that Green's t i t l e s are 14 "as functional as his images." John Russell uses the t i t l e s to system-at ize the whole body of Green's work, d iv id ing the novels into those of s tas i s and those of k inet i c flow. For him, the t i t l e s give "an index to s i gn i f i can t content," and, consequently, he attr ibutes " l i b e r t y of judg--15 ment on the outcome" only to the " i ng " novels. Interesting as th i s theory i s , the dangers of try ing to "organize" Green reveal themselves upon close examination. Other readers have found the t i t l e s annoying ("a continuous, rather nagging present p a r t i c i p l e , or more probably a 17 18 gerund"), a f fected, and (th is being the most common response) myster-19 ious and in t r i gu ing . Bluntly assert ive and de l iberate ly self-conscious, the i r f i r s t e f fect i s , quite simply, to c a l l attent ion to themselves. In doing so, they f rus t rate the reader 's expectations of a t rad i t i ona l t i t l e which does not "protrude," which is inseparable from the world of the novel, l i k e A Passage to India, or The Po r t ra i t of a^  Lady. In the i r arrogant "specialness, " they d isrupt, ever so subtly, the reader 's i l l u s i o n . It i s not, of course, so d i r e c t l y an aff i rmat ion of a r t i f i c e as John Barth 's story ca l led " T i t l e , " but the i r self-consciousness produces the same sense of d i s locat ion in the reader. We are not used to t i t l e s l i k e t h i s , and the attack on one of the conventions of the novel—the f i r s t that the reader meets—is indeed a "signpost" of what he may expect henceforth. 27 The charge of a f fectat ion is r isked here, as almost everywhere in Green's wr i t i ng . The t i t l e s exh ib i t themselves, with the same man-nerism that defines his tota l s t y l e , but the se l f -d i sp lay i s a means rather than an end. The end i s to quicken the reader 's imaginative response, and to do t h i s , Green wanted to forge an intensely personal speaking voice for his ro le in the conversation. Once the reader has the s l i ghtes t acquaintance with th i s voice, the d i s t i n c t i v e t i t l e becomes the f i r s t recognizable element of s t y l e , the i n i t i a l note of intimacy sounded between author and reader/stranger-- l ike the character i s t i c ex-pression or accents of a f r i end : Raunce's "Holy Smoke" or Pye's "Sweet Jesus." I r on i ca l l y , then, Churchi l l was p a r t i a l l y r ight when he claimed that Green's t i t l e s were supposed "to excite the af ic ionados." The r i sk of being misinterpreted was one that, as an experimental nove l i s t , Green was bound to take. Green's stubbornly unique t i t l e s attack our dulled s e n s i b i l i t i e s as do the "precise and rad iat ing " black and white t i l e s of the breakfast room in Concluding. In the i r stark prec i s ion, they represent to the reader a comic attempt to pin down a whole concept or experience, an attempt which is doomed to f a i l u r e as the central s i tuat ion blossoms f o r t h , and the i n f i n i t e suggestions of the t i t l e radiate through the novel. Thus they seem to say as w e l l , that t rad i t i ona l attempts to "sum up" or structure the whole meaning of anything in a " t i t l e " (be i t a novel world or a person) are worthy of r i d i c u l e . As the c i r c l e s of imp l i -cations widen around the opening statement "summed up" in the t i t l e , th i s t i t l e takes on a more and more universal aspect. The sense we have is 28 that i t conveys everything that is unsaid, within and without the world of the novel. And when one considers that the radiat ing implications of Concluding and Caught include the reader himself--that i s , that he i s l e f t concluding at the end of one book, and i s caught in the mechanism of a ruthless and absurd time scheme in the other—Green may be expecting us to share a pa r t i cu l a r l y good joke. Another game Green plays with the reader i s i m p l i c i t in the cha l -lenging suggestiveness of the t i t l e s . Here is the author 's f i r s t puzzle presented to the reader before he even has a chance to open the book. I t i s not unl ike a "Hidden P ictures " game (how many birds can you f i nd in th i s scene?) in which, as you search in the book from each angle of v i s i on , and birds emerge from the landscape, you know that there are more and suspect that you w i l l never f ind the l a s t one. The puzzle-aspect i s b u i l t into a l l the t i t l e s , and i s one way in which the reader recreates the novel for himself. Many c r i t i c s play th i s game, scoring of f each other as they do. Stephen Shapiro, for example, in his i n te r -pretation of Back, declares that he w i l l explore "the i n t r i c a t e veins traced through the action by the implications of the t i t l e , " and wonders 20 that Russell stopped where he d id . Sometimes, Green del ights in encour-aging jus t such a pa r t i c i pa t i on . Back, for example, announces Charley Summers's theme on the f i r s t page: I t was a time of war. The young man in pink tweeds had been re -patr iated from a pr isoners ' camp on the other s ide. Now, at the f i r s t opportunity, he was back. (p. 15) 29 Like a l l Green's t i t l e s , th i s simple statement blossoms into a profusion of impl icat ions, even as the f i r s t chapter opens out. The c i r c u l a r nature of his quest for the " r e a l " Rose i s next stressed (a quest which began when he l e f t England): "Indeed, i f he had not come such a distance, from one country at war to another, then home again, he might well at th i s minute have turned back" (p. 7; i t a l i c s mine). The l a s t phrase i s then i r o n i c a l l y repeated as Charley 's obsession i s l inked with time, and the c i r cu l a r motion of the c lock ' s hands: The idea had been to make the c lock ' s hands go round. And now that he'd come, he to ld himself, a l l he was a f ter was to turn them back, the f o o l , only to f ind roses grown between the minutes and the hours, and so entwined that the hands were stuck, (pp. 8-9; i t a l i c s mine) Having indicated two of the d irect ions in which the t i t l e w i l l move, Green returns in a c i r c u l a r route to a splendid parody of the opening theme. James's nervous, fatuous remarks r e f l e c t a l l the absurdity of Charley 's coming back to a "normal" society: "Why, Charley, then they've sent you back . . . Where've you been a l l th i s time? . . . They often t e l l us, 'Wait t i l l the boys come back' . . . Well you haven't come back to much I can t e l l you." (p. 10) F i n a l l y , the ent i re opening scene, the sad, rose-hung graveyard with i t s beds of earth and marble pi l lows i s one to which we_will inev i tab ly turn back when we come to the f i n a l chapter with i t s summer roses and Nancy's bed. Thus Green keeps our attention directed to the radiat ing sugges-tions of his attent ion-gett ing t i t l e . A s imi la r e f fect i s achieved in 30 Party Going which enacts, on i t s verbal l e v e l , an elaborately emphatic word game on i t s t i t l e , mirroring the socia l games the characters play. The novel concerns a party of "Bright Young Things" whose travel plans have been paralyzed by a London fog. Both "party" and "going" are manip-ulated in a de l iberate ly obvious manner from the beginning: on the second page, for instance, we f ind the f i r s t reference to a "party, " surrounded by no fewer than four references to "going"—a fragmented t i t l e . Dis integrat ion and lack of communication pers i s t in the f u t i l e attempts of characters and narrator to draw the fragments together into v i t a l or purposeful a c t i v i t y : "She thought here was the i r party laughing 21 and shrieking as though nobody was going t r a v e l l i n g . " Confusion, ambiguity, and helpless pass iv i ty is developed through the sh i f t i ng meanings ( including the puns on "party") and the ident ica l s ingular and plura l forms of the words. Whose party is th i s no-host a f f a i r—Max ' s , J u l i a ' s , or the stat ion master's? How i s one party to be dist inguished within the main party? . . . once again Robert thought how odd he [Max] was, i t was p r a c t i -c a l l y his party and yet he did not seem to know who would be coming and appeared to be quite ready to have C l a i r e ' s aunt along, although they meant to be away three weeks. He explained that she had only come to see them o f f . "Don't know the party," Max sa id. (p. 48) Confusion deepens with the various associations attached throughout to "going" (going home, something going on, etc.) and the juggl ing of d i f -ferent grammatical forms, with a consequent loss of meaning. This i s apparent, for instance, in Max and Amabel's phone conversation, in which "going" i s reduced to a meaningless counter expressing the s t e r i l i t y and 31 anxiety of the characters, unable to go anywhere in the i r l i v e s : "Oh, Max, are you r ea l l y going?" "Why?" said he. "I mean must you r ea l l y go?" "I won't have you go, tha t ' s a l l . I can ' t bear i t . " "I d i dn ' t say I was going." " . . . s o you are not going a f ter a l l ? " "You mean to t e l l me you are going a f ter a l l ? " "That 's not the point, I 've got to go." (pp. 32-35) Cl ive Hart has pointed out that in i t s past tense, the verb forms a l e i t -motif which sounds an ominous, deathlike note (". . . and then he was 22 gone") culminating in "She's a goner." Thus our at tent ion, f i r s t caught by the t i t l e , i s held as we see i t appear and reappear before us in changing aspects. Fragmentation, and sh i f t i ng meanings and forms provide an ultimate d i f fu s ion of meaning over the surface of the book, echoing the chatter of the partygoers and commenting on the i r existence. Only in the reader 's mind can the pieces be drawn together. S im i l a r l y , in Caught and Doting, Green keeps the t i t l e before us in an e x p l i c i t manner, whereas in his other novels the associations are less obtrusive. The characters of his l a s t novel juggle the "doting" relat ionships with an energetic gamesmanship s im i la r to that of Party  Going. More akin to Back is the technique of Caught, as concentrated images rather than word-play d i rec t the reader to the veins radiat ing from the central metaphor. Within the f i r s t few pages, memories catch 32 Richard Roe in a "web of love and death":' But th i s day a permanence of ra in softened what was near, and half hid by catching the soft l i g h t a l l that was f a r , in the way a ve i l w i l l obscure, yet enhance the beauty of a well-remembered face or, in a naked body so covered, sharpen the s ight, (p. 8) The "net t ing " image (which suggests, a l so, the fireman's net) indicates one d i rect ion in which the t i t l e w i l l move--the c r ipp l ing of Roe's emo-t ional l i f e by the past--and soon we encounter another. On the t r a i n going back to London, Roe recreates the disastrous coincidence that had caught him out: "there was no escape" from the agonizing awkwardness with Pye which Christopher 's abduction had caused. At the same time, an omniscient narrator recreates the abduction. In a pa r t i cu l a r l y l u r i d scene, Pye's s i s t e r and Christopher are "caught f u l l by the l i g h t from those windows" (p. 14). Much l a t e r , the firemen are caught in the f l a r i n g l i gh t s of the b l i t z . This trap i s antic ipated in chapter two by the wartime images of firemen caught by gas, "caught before they r i g h t l y knew they 'ad i t " (p. 21), and rooks beating, cawing, against walls of rabbit wire. The t i t l e , within the f i r s t twenty pages, has already taken on i t s t y p i c a l l y Greenian complexity. Simultaneously, the reader is drawn, l i k e Richard Roe, into a cruel and d i sor ient ing trap which reinforces the entrapment being enacted on the narrat ive l e v e l . This i s a time-scheme which disturbs his sense of "chronos," stra ins his powers of deductive reasoning and, at the height of the paralyzing wait and Pye's d i s in tegrat ion , tempor-a r i l y defeats him. In the f i r s t four chapters the reader, l i k e Roe, is help less ly caught in units of hours, days, weeks and months: 33 After a time, when the turmoil of the f i r s t weeks of war subsided, conditions set t led in the Service and i t became possible to do n inety-s ix on duty to get for ty -e ight hours o f f . In th i s way, a f te r three months of war and no ra id s , that i s of ant ic l imax, Roe worked four days to be two days on leave, (p. 5; i t a l i c s mine) Especia l ly at the beginning, th i s helplessness i s i l l u s t r a t e d by short, f l a t , declarat ive sentences. Clock time is kept r i g i d l y enclosed, l i k e the square space of the trap for rooks, by the narrat ive: "He was allowed one day's leave in three" . . . "Roe worked four days and nights s t ra ight of f to get another for ty -e ight hours' leave" . . . "every Tuesday for three hours." Internal time provides an escape for Roe, and the reader must fol low as he weaves, for instance, memories of scal ing the walls of Tewkesbury Abbey at age sixteen with t ra in ing on the f i r e s t a t i o n towers. Having, with some d i f f i c u l t y , established a rat ional time-scheme, an imaginative order which can deal with Roe's memories and the flashes forward to the b l i t z , the reader i s suddenly forced to abandon his hard-won i l l u s i o n , as chapter f i ve opens on "the evening of the second day in the substat ion." The point of reference is now September rather than December; what Erich Auerbach c a l l s the "exter io r frame" of the narrative 23 has unaccountably sh i f ted . Stokes reminds us that A. A. Mendilow has documented the reader 's " y ie ld [ ing ] to the i l l u s i o n that he is himself par t i c ipat ing in the action or s i t ua t i on , " a f te r establ ishing the point 24 at which the " f i c t i v e present" begins. The d i f f i c u l t y in working out Roe's involved wartime schedule, complicated as i t i s even further by associat ive rather than chronological l i n k s , emphasizes the reader 's sense of doubleness and shock when he must resign the order he has made. He is caught in a machine ("War puts men in th i s pos i t ion, however, that 34 they can do l i t t l e about the i r own a f f a i r s " ) which has only ju s t begun, 25 in 1939, and thus fa r in the novel, to play with him. The sense of doubleness stays with the reader, and he experiences the novel from th is point on, in the hopes of reconci l ing the two "present" times. Uncon-sciously perhaps, th i s becomes an "end," the creation of order between the two r e a l i t i e s which make up Roe's schizophrenic wartime l i f e . For the f i r s t "frame," in dwelling on the deta i l s of Roe's domestic l i f e , t r i e s to "catch" his war serv ice, subjecting i t to the r e a l i t y of his past memories and l i f e with his son, in passing references: He was to be back in a day or two, so that his night at home seemed to have been a week-end before the war, his l i f e in the F i re Service, so eas i ly forgotten once he was away, no more important than a routine, (p. 27) But the second frame reverses t h i s ; as the f i r e s t a t i o n l i f e swells and becomes hugely r e a l , trapping the other in one sentence: "Coming back a f te r his second spel l of leave, Richard found he could not remember what his home l i f e had been only a day or two before" (p. 134). Eventu-a l l y , the two frames mesh in chapter th i r teen but before they do, chron-o log ica l d i s tort ions have reinforced the reader 's f ru s t ra t i on and anxiety. These are the novels in which Green makes the most e x p l i c i t use of his one-word t i t l e s as a chal lenging, suggestive, attent ion-gett ing device. By playing with them overt ly , espec ia l ly in the opening chapters, he d i rects our attent ion to the i r c e n t r a l i t y , and involves us in the i r suggestiveness. If the f i r s t involvement must be by way of the t i t l e s , Green also depended on his comic s i tuat ions to make an i n i t i a l assault 35 on the reader. After a l l , the novels suggested themselves to him in the form of s i tuat ions—as he has declared to both Alan Ross and Terry Southern --absurd s i tuat ions , f u l l of comic tension. Again, Green's "lesson to wr i te r s " in "A F i r e , a Flocl and the Pr ice of Meat" provides us with colourful examples of s i tuat ion as awakener. When the c i s te rn overflowed in Green's pub, the scene leapt into l i f e , a l l the modest drinkers were a l e r t and enthra l led, "everyone was shocked into an acute awareness of himself or herse l f " by the unexpectedness of the event and by "a sense of the r id i cu lous " in i t s nature. Most people have a sense of humour, says Green, and "a sort of communion" is fostered by t h i s , and by the commonness of the experience. Green's pleasure in the chimney f i r e at his pub was a private one, and the other dr inkers, not under-standing the firemen's et iquette and thus, uninvolved, quickly grew bored. Unspoken communication is heavily dependent on the r e l i s h of a shared joke, and "the wr i ter cannot use too much material that has to be explained." Consequently, the absurdity of Green's s i tuat ions always re ly on a tension that i s , at bottom, human: on juxtaposit ions of old age and blossoming f e r t i l i t y , or of dying butlers and scavenging ones. Like his t i t l e s , Green's comic s i tuat ions must intr igue the reader at the beginning, to draw him into that communion of fee l ing which i s the world of the novel. The reader must experience something of the delighted surprise with which Green heard the roar in the pub chimney; i t must be an experience in which he can share, and i t must be marked by "a sense of the r i d i cu l ou s . " In the opening chapters of the novels, the reader i s awakened to the r id icu lous by Green's f i ne sense 36 of discrepancy—something out of i t s place which s ta r t le s the reader and i l l u s t r a t e s the essential absurdity which Terry Southern noted in Green's comic s i tuat ions . In Blindness, John Haye portrays the nove l i s t ' s eye for the discordant when he picks out the red parasol in the t r i a l scene of Crime and Punishment. In l a te r novels, Green used discrepancy "to catch [the reader ' s ] at tent ion" and thus enliven his response. The 27 " irony of simple incongruity" formed the basis of Pope's tac t i c s for awakening his audience, and Geoffrey T i l l o t s o n , in the " Introduction" to his ed i t ion of The Rape of the Lock (London: Methuen, 1962), p. 113, speaks of the poet 's technique of " lay ing down para l l e l s t r ipes of the beautiful and the sord id. " This coupling of opposites i s the key, he says, to the concentrated ef fect of such famous l ines as "Puf f s , Powders, Patches, B ib les , B i l l e t -doux , " forming a trap for the inattent ive reader. Loving, for example, opens with the dying but ler , El don, and the scavenging but ler - to-be, Raunce. On the f i r s t page, Eldon's f a i n t c a l l " E l l e n , " his " p i t i f u l appeal," i s juxtaposed with Raunce's laugh. The brutal intrus ion of th i s l a s t in a deathbed scene i s underlined by the starkness of the i n te r j ec t i on : "Came a man's laugh." The reader i s meant to je rk , ju s t as Miss Burch does. Our s e n s i b i l i t i e s are further confused as Raunce's words emerge ("you should clean your teeth before ever you have anything to do with a woman") and become a part of Eldon's dying. Later in the same scene, th i s juxtapos it ion i s comically emphasized: "W i l l Mr. Eldon die?" Bert asked, then swallowed. "Why surely, " says she, giving a shocked giggle, then passing a hand along her cheek, (p. 7) Against the background of Eldon's "double p i t i f u l appeal," the l i v i n g , 37 loving rogues make off with Mrs. Tennant's whisky, her gardening glove, Paddy's peacock eggs, and El don's notebooks. Shocking our sense of pro-pr ie ty , the opening scene awakens us to the comic absurdity central to the novel—that i s , the v i t a l discrepancy between a l i f e t i m e ' s passion, in a l l i t s f a i r y t a l e splendour, and the undigni f ied, physical t r i c k s of "gett ing on" which are emphasized by the medicinal motif of "doses," purgatives, and so on. S im i l a r l y , Concluding, the story of an aging s c i en t i s t threatened with removal from his cottage on the grounds of a t ra in ing i n s t i t u t e for young g i r l s , presents us with the cent ra l l y comic s i tuat ion in the open-ing chapter. This s i tuat ion i s , simply, the absurdity of growing o ld , of "concluding," in a scene heavy with fecund i ty— in l i f e ' s summertime of radiant sexual i ty. Mr. Rock and a lush, blossoming Moira, for i n -stance, are absurd together: they confound our expectations in the same way as the juxtapos i t ion of dying and Raunce's "personal hygiene" do in Loving. In the opening chapters of Concluding, the reader i s j o l t ed by various discrepancies, the most subtle of which juxtapose imagery with dialogue to suggest the extremes of youth and being "o ld and deaf, half b l i n d " : At th i s instant, l i k e a woman l e t t i n g down her mass of hair from a white towel in which she had bound i t , the sun came through for a moment, and l i t the azaleas on e i ther side before fog, redescending, blanketed these off again; as i t might be white curta ins, drawn by someone out of s ight, over a palace bedroom window, to shut behind them a blonde princess undressing. ? f t " I t ' s not f a i r on one to grow o l d , " Mr. Rock sa id. And again: 38 --I do this fo r E l izabeth, Mr Rock to ld himself, but out loud he ex-claimed, "I hope I have more sense." His glasses were misted, fog s t i l l hung about, but the sun coming through once more, made i t for a second so that he might have been ins ide a pearl strung next the skin of his beloved. " I t ' s what them younger ones have'nt got, sense," Adams sa id, (p. 8) Thus the e s sent ia l , absurd d i spar i ty between youth and age i s highlighted through sexual, even court ly overtones: growing old and "having sense" acquire i ron i c shadings through the i r context. The opening of the next scene para l le l s the f i r s t , and we f ind that the same comic d i spar i ty involves Miss Edge, placing the aging bureaucrat in an opulent sett ing in which she i s as out of place as the B r i t i s h dragons: In sp i te of summer and that i t was dawn, there was already a log f i r e a l i gh t as Edge moved across to draw one pair of curta ins , merely to look at the weather, or to lower a window perhaps, she did not know, but the room influenced her to act on graceful impulse. She took hold on ve lvet, which had red l i l i e s over a deeper red, and paused, as she gently parted the twin halves, to admire her hands' whiteness against the heavy p i l e . De l i cate ly , then, she proceeded to reveal window panes, because shutters had not been used the night before, to disc lose glass frosted to f l a t arches by condensation, so that the Sanctum was re f lected a l l dark sapphire blue from e lec -t r i c l i g h t at her back because i t was not yet morning. She could even see, round her head's inky shade, no other than a swarm of aqua-marines, which, pictured on the dark sapphire panes, were each drop of the chandelier that she had l i t with the lamps switched on i n entering, (p. 12) The court ly overtones which were i r o n i c a l l y juxtaposed with Mr. Rock's age are here abundantly rea l i zed . Edge, previously described blunt ly as "short and th i n " and one of "two whiteheaded women," i s painted with a l l the queenly trappings of medieval romance: heraldic emblems ( l i l i e s ) , red ve lvet, white hands, jewel lery, and f i n a l l y (triumphantly) with "no 39 other than" a crown on her head. Edge moves l i k e a queen too- - "gent ly , " " d e l i c a t e l y , " and g racefu l l y , and a regal formal i ty pervades the prose: "she proceeded to reveal window panes . . . to disc lose glass frosted to f l a t arches . . . ." At the outset, a tone of languour, of wel l -bred, even coquettish, indecis ion i s established as she moves to the windows "merely to look at the weather, or to lower a window perhaps, she did not know . . . ." Like Mr. Rock i r o n i c a l l y placed next to the warm breast of a lover, the e lder ly spinster i s placed in a sett ing of gay, romantic decadence—and the discordance of the i r s i tuat ions i s echoed in the comic discrepancies within the settings themselves: the s h r i l l c r ies echoing down the s i l e n t morning r ide , and the bizarre decor of the seventeenth century room, with i t s B r i t i s h dragons married to naked Cupids. Everywhere, our expectations are confounded. Gauguin, in his notes on the painting "Manao Tupapau--The S p i r i t of the Dead Watching," describes the choice of a l i g h t chrome yellow for the bedsheet, "because 30 th i s colour suggests something unexpected to the beholder." In Concluding, the s t a r t l i n g , awakening e f fect of discrepancy is s l y l y com-mented on by Green in describing the scene at breakfast--the black and white squares which "seemed altogether out of place next B r i t i s h dragons," and the Cupids above providing "a shock, a sad surprise in such a room." Deviations from the ca re fu l l y designed pattern suggest something new to the awakened reader--"a game," says M. Vinaver of Loving, "at once so well regulated and yet to such a degree lawless that I am rapid ly j o l t ed out 31 of my habitual state of mind." 40 Green's use of discrepancy i s not confined to the opening chap-ter s , nor i s i t purely an attent ion-gett ing device, for beneath the sur-face i t sustains an unspoken communication of meaning. Discrepancies between a character ' s d i rec t speech, and the spartan stage-directions Green juxtaposes create humour and convey s i gn i f i can t information about the speaker. Here is Edith, accosted by Charley in Loving: '"Why you gave me a jump,' she sa id, not s t a r t l ed " (p. 7). Even in the opening scene the reader, alerted by the comic discrepancy, w i l l surmise that Edith expected, even prec ip i tated, the meeting, her pretended surprise as much a part of the plan for Charley 's enchantment as the peacock eggs she holds. Indeed, we need th i s information to appreciate the irony of Charley 's remark l a t e r , when he i s completely under the spel l of the enchantress: "'How she has come on. You'd never know i t was the same g i r l i e ' " (p. 117). S im i l a r l y , Diana Middleton's reply to Arthur ' s plea for help in Dot ing,- - " ' I must th ink ' she answered, then immediately went 32 on" --reveals her cool mastery of a s i tuat ion in which she has planned to toss her husband back to nineteen-year-old Ann Paynton (for afternoons only) in order to reserve Charles Addinsell for herself. Also s i gn i f i can t in the novels are inexpl icable discrepancies in a character ' s speech; that i s , sudden and s t a r t l i n g a l terat ions in how he says things. The mysterious and obscurely threatening aspects of th i s technique were f i r s t explored in Party Going, when the Mystery Man sud-denly changes his accent: " . . . and without any warning he had used Yorkshire accent where previously he had been speaking in Brummagen. This sudden change did his t r i c k as i t had so often done before and Alex, 41 losing his nerve, asked him in to have a drink" (p. 80). In th i s early novel, Green does too much explaining, ident i fy ing the " t r i c k " and i t s habitualness; l a te r he le t s the mystery speak for i t s e l f . His short story "The L u l l , " for example, portrays a barman who stutters noticeably on the f i r s t page but not on the second. Mike Mathewson l i sp s s o f t l y through his entrance in Loving, only to drop the af fectat ion when threatened (or threatening). In a Pinteresque manner, these discrepan-cies seem to lend a dark undertone to the surface ta lk (one thinks, for instance, of The Birthday Party and McCann's name changing without explanation from "Nat" to "Simey") and, ce r ta in l y in the case of the insurance agent in Loving, to communicate danger. Along with his t i t l e s and s t a r t l i n g discrepancies, Henry Green uses coincidence to catch the reader 's a t tent ion, the action of Caught and Back being almost t o t a l l y dependent thereon. The pure shock-value of coincidence, pa r t i cu l a r l y in modern times when i t i s no longer a convention as i t was with the V ic tor ians , must not be underestimated. The sudden, unexplained suspension of a causal sequence i s almost cer-ta in to c a l l attention to i t s e l f . David Goldknopf, in his study of coincidence in the V ictor ian novel, uses Green's very words when he 33 speaks of "the catch of attent ion i t invar iably produces." But the technique does more than surprise the reader, fo r i t engages his p a r t i -c ipat ion on the imaginative l e v e l . Goldknopf wr ites: Even when coincidence is used pr imar i ly for convenience i t always has the e f fect of elevating our attent ion from a p o s i t i v i s t i c to a speculative level—we must enlarge our scope of thought to f ind a more comprehensive pattern of cause and e f f e c t , or, that being 42 unavailable, to " l i v e with " a breakdown in f ami l i a r modes of under-standing experience . . . coincidence always has th is transcending e f f ec t , and the author . . . must somehow also deal with the shock of surprise i t produces, (p. 162) Because Green openly uses coincidence to advance the p lot , one might assume that he t r i e s to minimize the "shock of surpr ise" to the reader. Edward Stokes believes that th i s i s what Green t r i e s to do in Caught, for he claims that the elaborate descr ipt ion of the toy shop i s planned to d ivert our attent ion from the coincidence of Christopher 's having been abducted by Pye's s i s t e r . Green's in tent ion, however, seems to be rather to a t t rac t our attent ion to th i s strange and chance meeting. As in Back, the language underlines the coincidence: " . . . i t was his Fireman Instructor, Pye 's, s i s t e r of a l l people" (p. 17; i t a l i c s mine). Not the s l i gh te s t attempt at an explanation, n a t u r a l i s t i c or motiva-t i o n a l , i s made of what brought the two together. Coincidence is com-pounded when Roe is assigned to Pye when ca l led up, yet "he did not suppose even for a wi ld moment that Pye could be his Station O f f i ce r " (p. 37; i t a l i c s mine). F i n a l l y , and inev i tab ly , i t i s Roe who f inds Pye in the gas oven, and Dy wonders "as she had often done, why someone else could not have found that hateful man" (p. 183). A l l these are chance happenings as b latant, del iberate and unabashed as the gigantic c o i n c i -34 dence of the men's names: Pye and Roe. Coincidence i s even more obviously employed in Back, fo r i n the very f i r s t chapter, an inexorable assault i s made on the reader through the language of the prose. Green dwells merci less ly upon the v i t a l facts of Charley 's predicament: 43 . . . and her name, of a l l names, was Rose. . . . to search for Rose, through roses . . . She had died some time about that ident ica l week. For of a l l people, of a l l imaginable men, and fa t as those geese, was James, (pp. 6-10; i t a l i c s mine) From th is hal lucinatory scene, when Chance stares us in the face much as the roses seem to watch Charley, to the l a s t but one, when Ridley r i s e s , with shocking suddenness, and "absolutely without warning," from a she l -ter in the road in front of Charley and Nance, l i t e r a l l y from a hole in the ground—coincidence is the prime moving force. While we watch Charley react to each chance happening with renewed dread, the operating p r i nc ip le is spelled out in his ta lk with Mrs. Fraz ier : "Every year you l i v e the world shrinks smaller . . . Once you s ta r t on coincidences why there ' s no end to those things" (p. 33). The legitimacy of c o i n c i -dence as an ordering device i s further stressed by Nancy's remarks on Mr. Grant 's sending Charley to her: "Even i f he did send you along so things wasn't natura l , l i k e crossing one another in the s t reet " (p. 75). The same point is made in Caught when the narrator says of Piper, "He was the kind of man who could never c red i t coincidence" (p. 150). I t seems apparent, then, that Green, in using coincidence to ad-vance the p lo t , takes maximum advantage of i t s attent ion-gett ing value, rather than try ing to d ivert our attent ion from i t s "shock of surpr i se. " Goldknopf indicates two uses the novel i st has for coincidence: the f i r s t , "propuls ive, " in which he means to control and resolve the transcending e f f ec t , and the second, " a r re s t i ng , " in which he uses i t fo r i t s 44 i n t r i n s i c s ign i f icance (p. 174). Green's use of coincidence i s c l ea r l y arrest ing (Stokes to the contrary) and here he bears a surpr is ing resem-blance to the V ictor ian novel ists l i k e Charlotte Bronte who de l iberate ly emphasize fortuitousness to establ i sh the ordering control of a God. In Green's s to r i e s , a fa te fu l C i rcumstant ia l i ty has the same power: any house can get a bomb without the s l i ghtes t warning, or any t r a i n window a stone. The indiv idual unable to l i v e with th i s truth may "enlarge [his] scope of thought" to construct a psychotic framework ( l i k e Charley Summers's) to explain a lack of order. At the same time, the arrest ing qua l i ty of a mysterious happening in Green's world i s almost magical—at times, seemingly removed even from a na tu ra l i s t i c causal sequence. It s ta r t l e s us, and demands an explanation, but we are only given enough information to suggest that there is one. Not un t i l the end of Back, for instance, do we discover that Ernie Mandrew is the bookie Phi l White used to work fo r . A possible chain of relat ionships is thus created between Middlewitch and Nancy. But Mr. Grant, "the missing l i n k , " i s never brought into the chain: there is enough suggested to guess but not to prove. Throughout the novels, . the Greenian ambiguity and mystery sustain the magic, and help to give l i f e ' s very c i rcumstant ia l i t y a power in the ordering of the novel. L i f e is " l i k e that , " with a monstrous and exc i t ing i n s c r u t a b i l i t y . F i n a l l y , i t i s possible that Green learned another device to shock his reader into attent ion from a wr i ter whom he greatly admired, Will iam Faulkner. Nathalie Sarraute points out, in The Age of Suspicion, that the old conception of the f ixed character, which was a challenge to 45 the reader in Balzac 's time, is an i n v i t a t i on to laziness for the modern 35 reader, who immediately makes of th i s character a type. Hence, Faulkner 's use of the same f i r s t name for two pairs of characters in The  Sound and the Fury must be attr ibuted to the need to make a character not too eas i l y d i st inguishable, rather than to "a perverse and ch i ld i sh desire to mystify the reader": This f i r s t name, which he shunts back and forth from one character to the other, under the annoyed eye of the reader, l i k e a lump of sugar under the nose of a dog, forces the reader to be constantly on the a l e r t . Instead of l e t t i n g himself be guided by the signposts with which everyday custom f l a t t e r s his laziness and haste, he i s obl iged, in order to ident i f y the characters, to recognize them at once, l i k e the author himself, from the ins ide. (Sarraute, p. 70) How l i k e Green's concern to j o l t the reader from the "dismal sleep of journalese!" Like Faulkner, Green f rustrates the reader 's c l a s s i f y i ng and codifying tendencies by giving characters the same f i r s t names (for example, the two Alberts in Loving) even to the point of using "Charley" for the hero's name in two consecutive novels, Charley Raunce of Loving, and Charley Summers of Back. These are some techniques whereby Green arrests the reader 's at tent ion, surpr is ing and int r igu ing him so that he i s awakened to the narrative voice. Sarraute describes such tac t i c s as designed "to dispos-sess the reader and entice him, at a l l costs, into the author 's t e r r i -tory" (p. 71). Green's challenging t i t l e s , his use of incongruity, coincidence, and ident ica l names for characters succeed in dispossessing the reader of conventions which encourage laz iness. Once he i s awakened and ventures into Green's " t e r r i t o r y " (the world of the novel), he must 46 be seduced into attent ive l i s t en i ng : an art which is as important as speech. Careful l i s ten ing establishes one side of the conversation be-tween wr i ter and reader. 47 Notes The analogy i s borrowed from Green who re fer s , in a t yp i c a l l y non-academic s t y l e , to his discussion "A Novel ist to his Readers, I" as "rather as i f a mechanic were to open the door of his workshop." 2 Blindness (London: J . M. Brent, 1926), p. 159. 3 Jean Paul Sartre, What i s L i terature? trans. Bernard Frechtman (New York: Harper & Rowe, 1965), p. 45. 4 "An Unfinished Novel," p. 5. 5 Caught (London: Hogarth Press, 1943), pp. 156-62. 6 "Before the Great F i r e , " London Magazine, 7 (1960), 12-27. 7 See the comic misunderstandings between Mrs. Tennant and the drunken Mrs. Welsh, in Loving, or between Miss Edge and the deaf Mr. Rock, in Concluding. g Quoted in Kay Dick, "Mr. Pinter and The Fearful Matter," Texas  Quarterly, 4 (1961), 257-65. g Loving (London: Hogarth Press, 1945), p. 75. 1 0 "A F i r e , A Flood, and the Price of Meat," The L istener, 23 August 1951, p. 294. ^ "Molten Treasure," rev. of Loving, by Henry Green, Time, 10 October 1949, pp. 104-10. 12 Giorgio Me lch io r i , "The Abstract Art of Henry Green," The  Tightrope Walkers: Studies of Mannerism in Modern English L i terature (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1956), pp. 188-212. 1 3 "Henry Green's Web of Loving," C r i t i que , 4, No. 1 (1960-61), 29-40. 1 4 The L i terary Symbol (Bloomington: Indiana Univers ity Press, 1955), p. 92. 15 Nine Novels, pp. 115-16. 16 I do not, for example, think that one is j u s t i f i e d in saying that the ending of Back i s more "resolved" than that of Loving. ^ 7 Henry Reed, rev. of Loving, by Henry Green, New Statesman and  Nation, 29 (1945), 292. 48 18 Thomas Chu rch i l l , "Loving: A Comic Novel," C r i t ique , 4, No. 2 (1961), 29-38, and Bruce Johnson, who says, in "Henry Green's Comic Symbolism," Ba l l State Univers ity Forum, 6 (1965), 29-35, "his t i t l e s had helped give him the reputation of an aesthete." 19 Stokes, The Novels of Henry Green, p. 23, among others. 20 "Henry Green's Back: The Presence of the Past," C r i t i que , 7 (1964), 87-96. 21 Party Going (London: Hogarth Press, 1939), p. 45; i t a l i c s mine. 22 "The Structure and Technique of Party Going," The Yearbook of  English Studies, 1 (1971), 185-99. 23 Mimesis: The Representation of Real i ty in Western L i te ra ture , trans. Wi l lard R. Trask (Princeton: Princeton Univers ity Press, 1953), p. 534. 24 A. A. Mendilow, Time and the Novel (London: N e v i l l , 1952), p. 97. 25 One American reviewer, James H i l t on , writes that in the "con-voluted" action of Caught, the reader feels "mental stra ins and stresses." "Two More by Mr. Green," New York Herald Tribune Book Review, 1 October 1950, p. 6. Another, Walter Havighurst, comments: "Mr. Green is not much concerned about making things easy for his readers . . . So he thoroughly tangles the time threads in his narrat ive. Perhaps i t i s espec ia l ly true in war that the past w i l l not stay quiet in i t s place and the future w i l l not wa i t . " "Two Worlds of Henry Green," Saturday Re- view of L i te ra ture , 30 September 1950, pp. 11-12. 26 Alan Ross, "Green, with Envy," London Magazine, 6 (1959), 18-24, and Southern, "The Art of F i c t i o n , " pp. 69-70. 27 D. C. Muecke, in Irony (London: Methuen, 1970), p. 61, defines th i s as "highly incongrous or incompatible phenomena in close j ux ta -pos i t i on . " 28 Concluding (London: Hogarth Press, 1948), pp. 6-7. 29 Edge and Baker are also coupled together for comic contrast. In th i s scene, Edge, with her s k i t t i s h prancing about the room, sets of f Baker who, cow-l ike, set t les down for a good feed. 30 Quoted in Sergei M. E isenstein, The Film Sense, trans. Jay Leyda (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1942), p. 118. 31 Quoted in Anthony Quinton, "A French View of Loving," London  Magazine, 6 (1959), 25-35. 49 Doting (London: Hogarth Press, 1952), p. 151. 33 The L i f e of the Novel (Chicago: The Univers ity of Chicago Press, 1972TTp. 174. 34 It i s coincidence, as w e l l , that Diana Middleton met Arthur at the Hunt Bal l and that Summers's Rose is dead. Green's del ight in sharing jokes with the reader is i l l u s t r a t e d here too: Mary i s l o s t on Founders' Day. 35 The Age of Suspicion, trans. Maria Jolas (New York: George B r a z i l l e r , 1963T7~p. 69. Chapter III ENSURING CAREFUL LISTENING Henry Green's second task, having awakened the reader to a sense of the unexpected, is " to make him read each word as i f he were not asleep." The qua l i ty of the s i l e n t conversation he establ ishes, that "gathering web of ins inuations" between strangers, demands the concen-trated attention one gives to poetry. The a r t i s t i c spoken conversation which, as I have sa id , l i e s behind the fragmented attempts of Green's f i c t i o n a l characters l i k e a forgotten i dea l , also demands an a l e r t l i s t ene r . Andre Maurois wr i tes , "One must be present during an ent i re conversation—most men are absent i n themselves!" 1 Green believes that an indiv idual response is quickened in the reader/l istener by an arres-t i ng l y indiv idual narrative voice. Hence he concentrated, from Liv ing on, on forging a personal and d i s t i n c t i v e s t y l e — a voice for his side of the conversation. In "The English Novel of the Future," he wr ites: The novel i st who must evoke conscious imagination in the reader w i l l make each sentence appear as i f only he could have wr itten i t , and the tendency in the next few years should therefore be for each wr i ter to work in a very personal prose, (p. 23) In his attack on depersonalized art is ref lected the del ight in human eccent r i c i t y which shows us so ca re fu l l y each quirk, pervers i ty, day-dream and fear of his characters. The eccen t r i c i t i e s of his prose which are sometimes condemned for a f fectat ion are part of an attempt to stamp the printed page with the unmistakable imprint of a uniquely human i n d i -v i dua l i t y . In s t a r t l i n g his readers from the dismal sleep of 50 51 " journalese," he hopes to make them hear his voice, to recognize i t as the accents of a f r i end , and thus prose becomes "a long intimacy between strangers." C. M. Doughty, the author of Arabia Deserta, represented to Green a man who had carved out a s ty le to embody his d i s t i n c t i v e character: " . . . indeed his s ty le is so perfect ly the expression of his personality 3 that he stands out as though in the harsh sunlight he describes." This feat , involving as i t did mannerisms and obscur it ies as well as magnif i-cence, was so strangely "experimental" that i t was neglected, unheard i f you l i k e , by the reading public of his time. Green's a r t i c l e in defence of Doughty contains, because of th i s neglect, the only bitterness I believe he has ever expressed. It also attacks e f f o r t l e s s , f a c i l e wr i t ing characterized by repet i t ions and l i t e r a r y c l i ches . Speaking of T. E. Lawrence and l i t e r a r y " journalese," he wr ites: . . . can we at l a s t have the s i lence of those Sunday reviewers to whom, of his generation, we can almost cer ta in l y lay the charge that he was not reprinted for t h i r t y years, and from whom, in our own generation, we resent the patronage they extend to us in phrases which, l i k e those sung from the minaret on the l a s t page of the Seven P i l l a r s of Wisdom, have, from constant r epe t i t i on , only a l i m i -ted meaning even to those so deaf as to be able to hear, and none at a l l to those who, on reading the words, sigh recognition of the old t r i c k i t was on the part of Lawrence to close his book in that fashion, remembering how there i s not one such i n a l l Arabia Deserta? (p. 51) Those readers whose s en s i t i v i t y has been deafened by too much of the expected must be awakened by a daring prose which shocks us into a sense of the author and ourselves as persons conversing. Writing too ea s i l y , Green says, cannot do t h i s . That his prose succeeds, as Doughty's does, 52 in being h imself 4 i s unanimously affirmed by his readers, one of whom 5 says: "You fee l his authorship continuously and pervasively. " Perhaps Blindness ( i f we take the diary section as a f a i r repre-sentation of Green's career at Eton) records by ind i rect ion the author 's f i r s t experiments in prose. John Haye t e l l s us that he has ju s t com-pleted a story, "an experiment in short sentences." I t was in his second novel, L i v ing , however, that he struck out boldly, forging a spare, sometimes harsh prose to f i t the l i f e of the Birmingham factory worker, and at the same time disrupting a l l our conventional notions of how a sentence should read: Weather was hot. They l i ved back of a s t reet and kitchen which they ate in was on to the i r garden. Range made kitchen hotter. A man next door to them kept racing pigeon and these were in slow a i r . g They ate in s h i r t sleeves. Plump she was. They did not say much. Even chapter d iv i s ions are gone, and the rough, abrupt juxtaposit ions of s h i f t i n g scenes suggesting a multitude of l i ves l i k e f locks of b i rds , miraculously joined together yet separate, give a tota l e f fect of power-fu l immediacy. The other techniques which he used here for the f i r s t time to break through the curtain of "cor rect " English between wr i ter and reader led Ph i l i p Toynbee, in his excel lent a r t i c l e , 7 to place Green among the "Te r ro r i s t s " of the English language, along with James Joyce and V i r g in i a Woolf. Whether in L iv ing the introduction to Green's world is too abrasive for the reader, as Mr. Toynbee suggests, is a matter for each i nd i v i dua l ' s experience. Some have found the omission of a r t i c l e s , awk-ward inversions, redundancies, fragmentary sentences, e l l i p s e s , and the 53 juxtapos it ion of short, spare sentences with elaborate conceits, an obstacle to imaginative pa r t i c ipa t i on . Others, such as Rosamund Lehmann, have been s ta r t led by the same techniques into a perception of the factory l i f e , the awkward beauty of the workers' movements and speech, and the black, g r i t t y landscape with i t s splashes of colour. Does the roughness of the inversion in the above excerpt, for example, deter the reader from i n tu i t i n g L i l y , a plump pigeon " i n slow a i r , " by turns grace-fu l and awkward, free f l y i n g and housebound? Here as in the la te r novels, s ty le may awaken us to the v i s ion of l i f e i t embodies. A recent examination of Green's prose has noted "an interest i n English prose as an instrument of awareness," as the primary motivation g for the s t y l i s t i c devices. In concentrating on the ef fect of rhetor ica l f igures such as e l i s i o n , chiasmus, and asyndeton on prose cadence and sound, the c r i t i c makes a strong point for looking at the language i t -se l f rather than at i t s "mimetic" s ign i f i cance. This approach high-l i ghts the ef fect of Green's prose on the reader. For example, Bassoff shows how, in a passage from L i v ing , the omission of commas and a r t i c l e s , and an ind i rect pronoun reference, exercises a del iberate control on our reading tempo. We slow down and read ca re fu l l y , because we begin to be unsure of the possible meanings. Henry Green fought against the deadening effects of "cor rect " English by breaking i t s rules " l a i d down a hundred years back." Even his playful punctuation, by assaulting the eye, makes the reader aware of the r i g i d expectations he has of the printed page. Moving apostrophes about ( " I ' d ' ve , " "have 'nt") and disregarding abbreviations (Mr) he mocks 54 the patterns which structure our prose and the reader who unquestioningly expects them. His use of the comma, pa r t i c u l a r l y , reminds one of Sterne: Tristram Shandy wielding dashes and aster isks to test the reader 's adapta-b i l i t y and to keep him off balance and a l e r t to the conversation by pu l -l i ng him from one thought, or place, or voice, to another. The surface of Green's prose s im i l a r l y tests the energy of the reader, as in the disquiet ing f i r s t sentence of his short story, "Mr. J ona s " : 1 0 Above us, in the night, as we drew up, in the barrage, the sky, from street l e v e l , seemed to be one vast corr idor down which, with the speed of l i g h t , blue double wooden doors as vast were being slammed in turn. From experiments in d i sor ientat ion l i k e t h i s , 1 1 Green learned to place commas to create a subtle disorder, or to bring phrases and clauses into t i ght and suggestive juxtapos i t ion. The dialogue of Nothing and Doting, for example, is de l iberate ly wr itten to challenge the reader 's interpretat ive powers which, in turn, bring the characters to l i f e . When Diana Middleton of Doting, Green's novel of middle-aged f rust rat ions and absurd i t ies , i s chased about the apartment of her would-be lover, Charles Add inse l l , she stops him with th i s l i n e : "Now, just you s i t down, over there, and think about me for a whi le" (p. 175). The unexpected pause a f ter "Now," without which the sentence might r ipp le eas i ly by, and the other commas e f f ec t i ve l y break up the flow of the f i r s t half of the sentence. Now the reader, hopefully awakened by the juxtapos i t ion of emphases, i s a l i ve to the possible points of emphasis in the second ha l f . Here Green's philosophy of guid-ing the reader towards creating his own meaning in the novels (or, 55 fol lowing our metaphor, responding in his own voice) triumphs, for there are three possible interpretat ions of th i s one phrase. If the reader places his emphasis on " th ink, " he interprets Diana's mood as p l ay fu l l y w i t t y - - a d i rec t reference to Charles ' s body-chasing; i f on "me," her tone is sharper, containing a ve i led attack on his se l f i shness. If he stresses "whi le" as he reads, Diana becomes f l i r t a t i o u s , promising future rewards to "keep him sweet." F i n a l l y , as he becomes aware of the mu l t i -p l i c i t y of react ions, the reader w i l l see Diana " i n the round": a com-plex character created between himself and Green. As a l a s t joke, the l i ne i t s e l f recreates the comically breathless e f fect of Charles chasing Diana around the fu rn i tu re . Small wonder that Green wanted no actors giving r i g i d , one-way readings of his l ines (ANR I, 505). The simple omission of commas in Green's deft hands s im i l a r l y awakens the reader to the l i f e beneath the d isrupt ive surface of the prose. A frozen moment in Loving is depicted l i k e t h i s : "Bert stood motionless his r ight hand s t i f f with wet knives." This sort of omission, very common in his w r i t i n g , has the double e f fect of catching the reader up, forc ing him to go back a few words to be sure of the sense (to "read each word as i f he were not as leep" ) , and of su i t ing the moment as glove to hand. In the above l i n e , for instance, the technique creates a s i l e n t place in the scene, an expectant hush in which neither Bert nor the reader is allowed to re lax. In dialogue, the omission of commas and other punctuation marks presents a comically expressionless surface to the eye, underlining by contrast the emotions of the speaker: "Well you can keep the damn thing, break your own good t id ings " Mr Abbot exploded without ra i s ing his voice and handed the envelope 56 back. "Yes by God" he said then l e f t them. , 2 "He seemed quite upset" Mr Pomfret remarked. The joke here—that the punctuation (or lack of i t ) does not allow poor Dick Abbot to appear "quite upset" in p r i n t , i s a private one between Green and the reader. Comparable to his keeping the reader awake by unexpected punctu-ation is Green's technique of misplacing or interpolat ing words and phrases in the narrative ("Mrs Jack possibly knew better than to argue") which often gives i t a de l icate irony. In dialogue, th i s manoeuvre sug-gests a tone beneath the character ' s speech, espec ia l ly when c l iches are given a new and bizarre twis t . Interest ing ly, the overworked expressions are often those which the reader would be apt to use himself, and thus create a sharper j o l t to his s e n s i b i l i t i e s . "In 'good Eng l i s h , ' " says Green, "the brain is dulled by c l iches which have become meaningless through being used in too many contexts" (ENF, 23). From the l i p s of his characters come parodies of exhausted expressions, brought to sur-pr i s ing l i f e by the absurd contexts in which they f ind themselves. In Concluding, for example, Miss Edge, ly ing to Mr. Rock about the reso lu-t ion of Mary and Merode's adventures, states: "Absolutely nothing in the i r storm in a l i t t l e teacup" (p. 239). By subtle a l t e r a t i on , and the addi-t ion of " l i t t l e " (a r he to r i ca l l y interest ing word in Edge's speech pat-tern, cont inual ly used for i t s denigrating ef fect) the c l i che becomes d i s rupt ive, pointing out the unease and suspicions which refuse to be subdued by t i g h t l y control led col loquia l i sms. At the same time, the speech i s impeccably Miss Edge, combining "jargon" with f a i n t , i ron ic overtones of daintiness and g e n t i l i t y . 57 S im i l a r l y , in Nothing, Jane Weatherby disrupts her son's engage-ment in order to promote her own marriage to P h i l i p ' s future f a the r - i n -law, John Pomfret. To Jane's surpr ise, Mary ( P h i l i p ' s g i r l ) seems to exh ib i t a knowledge of the old a f f a i r between her father and P h i l i p ' s mother. Mrs. Weatherby's confusion s t i r s up the surface at the end of th i s de l i ght fu l f e s t i v a l of apt c l i ches : "Oh I went to my lawyer but he said l e t sleeping dogs l i e , don't s t i r up mud, better not throw glass stones" (p. 57). The e f fect on the reader, however, i s somewhat d i f f e r -ent from the f i r s t example, as the parody of i d i o t i c plat itudes i s much more blatant, and the actual d i s to r t i on which caps i t gains i t s sugges-tiveness from the s i l e n t fact that Jane has de l iberate ly or unconsciously l e f t out the whole sense of the expression. F i n a l l y , in a th i rd example, which i s d i f fe rent again, Charles Add inse l l , of Doting, infuses a common c l i che with a sexual suggestiveness in order to underline Arthur ' s obses-sion and his moment of triumph over him: "And you s i t here, and make mountains out of so f t mo leh i l l s ! " "A l i t t l e g i r l l i k e C l a i r e ! " Mr Middleton groaned. "She's not l i t t l e , she's a great big creature" Charles objected, (p. 224) Thus, the strangeness of the d istorted c l i che in Green's prose, under-l i n i n g , as i t does, the p o l i t e l y meaningless structure language often gives our speech and wr i t i n g , s ta r t le s the reader " i n to an acute aware-ness of himself or hersel f , and of his or her audience"—just what Green 13 f e l t was the prerequis ite of a v i t a l s i t ua t i on . For at the same time, the secret motives of the character speaking (the reader's "audience") are revealed and brought into action against the r i g i d i t y of the c l i che . 58 Again, s ty le awakens us to the l i f e of the novel. Generally, Henry Green's dialogue has such remarkable v e r i s i m i l i -tude that one may be tempted to assign a lesser s ign i f icance to i t s "non-representational" aspect than Green himself d id . Stokes, for example, claims that in his d i rec t scenes, Green is interested in a "meticulously accurate rendering of 'pedestrian conversations ' (to use Green's own phrase). " 1 ^ This, in f a c t , i s what Green accomplishes, according to Stokes, " u t i l i z i n g " language in d i rect scenes rather than " t e r r o r i z i n g " i t . The words of Green he has quoted come from an interview with Nigel Dennis, in which Green i s reported as saying that the w r i t e r ' s duty is ' " to meet as many pedestrian people as possible and to l i s t e n to the most 15 pedestrian conversat ion. ' " The difference between l i s ten ing to pedes-t r i a n conversation and rendering i t i s evident in Green's review of The  Oxford Book of English Talk, which was published in 1953 claiming to be "the f i r s t book to record at length how Englishmen and English women 16 actua l ly spoke from late medieval times down to the present day." Green challenges t h i s , using the example of his own scene from Back which i s included in the book, to prove that " a r t must intrude." As for a "meticulously accurate rendering," Green says "possibly nothing would be more untypical or bor ing," adding that "wr i t ten dialogue i s not l i k e the real thing and can never b e . " 1 7 That Green i s as much the a r t i s t in his suggestive arrangement and management of dialogue as in his descr ipt ive passages is evident from a close reading of, for example, the discrepancies between his char-acters ' speech and actual t a l k , as we have seen. Green's de f i n i t i on of 59 his non-representational dialogue, a f ter a l l , i s that " i t w i l l not be an exact record of the way people t a l k " (AMR I, 506). I t i s precisely in how i t d i f f e r s from "an exact record" that Green uses his a r t i s t r y to speak to us, his readers, in a s i l e n t language of hints and humour, that "unspoken communion" which he describes so ably in the f i r s t of his radio ta lk s . Consequently, when Stokes, in his analysis of Green's s t y l e , con-f ines himself to the narrative as though no-one had written the dialogue ("the purpose of th is chapter i s to examine Green's s t y l e , not the s ty le of his characters") he denies the voice of the author in an important 15 respect, espec ia l ly when he comes to Nothing and Doting. In ignoring the dialogue, he finds himself in grave d i f f i c u l t i e s attempting to analyze the s ty le of novels which are ninety-four percent dialogue. And i t i s not surpr is ing that his readings of these novels lack the perception and importance of his other c r i t i ques . Nothing and Doting belong to a spec i f i c genre in which dialogue usurps functions such as character izat ion, plot development, sett ing and rever ie, which are conventionally developed by narrat ion; hence the dialogue must be read as something "other" than " a l l the banal ity and f a tu i t y of ordinary conversation" (Stokes, p. 79). I t i s an a r t i s t i c a l l y ordered surface meant to catalyze "sub-conversation"--Nathalie Sarraute's term for the inner impulses, sensations, and memories 18 which l i e beneath the ta l k . The reader 's perception of these "subter-ranean movements," and the self-awareness he is "shocked" into at the same time, help to compose the v i t a l conversation between author and reader. The whole of Green's prose then, dialogue and narrat ion, is subtly 60 ordered to keep the reader awake. Overa l l , the s t y l i s t i c juxtaposit ions of oblique, e l l i p t i c a l dialogue, and sparse, short sentences with r i c h l y elaborate descr ipt ive passages have a disturbing e f fect on the reader, c a l l i n g attention to the a r t i f i c e which s ty le imposes on l i f e . Melchiori describes the l y r i c a l passages as "scrol lwork" which " w i l l suddenly 19 break out of the quiet and balanced form." Who could ignore, for example, the Greenian long sentence, blossoming into phrase a f ter phrase as i f to contain and include, qua l i fy and describe everything, in de l ight -fu l indif ference to i t s own obtrusiveness and in s t a r t l i n g contrast to i t s surroundings? He might have been watching for a trap, who had lo s t his leg in France for not noticing the gun beneath a rose. For, climbing around and up these trees of mourning, was rose af ter rose a f ter rose, whi le, here and there, the spray overburdened by the mass of f lower, a l i v e wreath lay f a l l e n on a wreath of stone, or on a box in marble colder than th i s day, or onto frosted paper blooms which, under glass, marked each bed of earth wherein the dear departed encouraged l i f e above in the green grass, the cypresses and in those roses gay and bright which, as s t i l l as the i r dark afternoon, stared at whosoever looked, or hung the i r heads to droop, to grow stained, to die when the i r turn came. I t was a time of war. (Back, p. 5) The strangeness of the contrast, forced upon our not ice, awakens us to a sense of the very l i f e which the succession of sentences has comically t r i ed to contain—paradoxical , ha l luc inatory, and id iosyncrat ic . S imi-l a r l y , the juxtapos it ion of ent i re works can have an awakening e f fect on the reader. Hence, in the chronological order of the novels, the sharply contemporary f i r s t sentence of Nothing, "On a Sunday afternoon in nine-teen fo r ty eight . . . " read a f te r the timeless dream of Concluding, i s an assault on the expectations. 61 Besides rules of punctuation, Green consistently breaks other tenets of " cor rect " Engl ish, from using Arabic numerals in Liv ing to his unconventional syntax which owes a l i t t l e of i t s rhythm to Doughty, as 20 John Russell has shown. His unusual handling of subordinate clauses, the omission of a r t i c l e s , the spr ink l ing of inversions, and the use of emphatic pronouns ("that bed") a l l surprise the reader 's expectations and help to render an indiv idual speaking voice. At the same time, they provide a unique introduction to the novel 's world. In Loving, for instance, the servants ' idiom seems to pervade the landscape; for example, "She sa id , a l l come over f a i n t . . . " and the narrator ' s reference to "Miss Evelyn" and "Miss Moira." S p e c i f i c a l l y , we can see how the simple subst i tut ion of adjectives for adverbs moves from the dialogue (". . . you take everything so solemn") to the narration ("She added gentle") as i f each were under the other ' s inf luence. Indeed, Green often uses th i s technique for comic e f fec t , as when Mrs. Tennant and her daughter-in-law are enveloped in the atmosphere ("Mrs Jack complained l imp" ) . Matter and manner are one, yet the s ty le protrudes ju s t enough for us to be con-scious of the voice. As Henry Reed aptly says, in reviewing th i s novel, "The s ty le has the e f fect of keeping one wholly a l e r t . " The magical cor-respondence of servants ' ta lk and cast le surroundings on the one hand, and the continuing j o l t s to the reader 's s e n s i b i l i t i e s create a double-ness which is pecu l ia r ly Henry Green. In a l l the novels, one of the factors which makes for alertness i s that Green follows no pattern. He breaks grammatical rules with jus t enough inconsistency to be as wholly unpredictable (and thus always 62 s ta r t l i ng ) as l i f e i t s e l f . Another factor is that Green i s often de l i b -erately obscure. Sometimes he i s so when i t su its an atmosphere of confusion (as in many of the long sentences in Party Going), or of a Lewis C a r r o l l - l i k e absurdity. The l a t t e r i s i l l u s t r a t e d in many of Miss Edge's comically i l l o g i c a l remarks: e.g., "Our Park wall that we r i gh t l y cannot get the labour to have repaired. " Much of the d i f f i c u l t y , how-ever, seems to stem from his use of e l l i p s i s ; that i s , a de l iberate ly d i f f i c u l t sentence structure in which, as in modern poetry, the reader must f ind the l i nk between one thought or image and another. Toynbee, for instance, finds the fol lowing sentence from Living " f rank ly incompre-21 hensible" because he t r i e s to equate i t s two halves: "Again was f i r s t day outside, another f ine evening." Bert thinks th i s on the t r a i n with L i l y , as his confidence returns a f ter a worried s ta r t to the i r journey. Looking ahead to a future l i f e in Canada, he thinks of the " f i r s t day" of " l i f e ' s journey," which promises "another f ine evening." The sentence re f l ec t s the a i r of optimism in Bert ' s temporarily renewed courage. On a small sca le, th i s sort of e l l i p s i s i s the key to the structure of Green's novels, in which the reader creates meaning through apprehending the l inks between juxtaposed scenes which, taken each for i t s e l f and without the reader 's creative imagination, have no s i gn i f i can t r e l a t i on -ship. The d i f f i c u l t y that such sentence structure often poses for the reader may be seen as a form of "ostranenie," the defami l ia r i zat ion 22 described by the Russian formal i st V iktor Shklovsky, in which the more d i f f i c u l t the reader 's apprehension is made, the more s i gn i f i can t and las t ing i t w i l l be for him. Perhaps the same sort of thing happens in 63 Caught, where, as I have suggested, the reader 's d i f f i c u l t y in creating a time scheme for the f i r s t four chapters makes him hold to i t even though the f i c t i v e present is rudely sh i f ted , creating a doubleness which he attempts to reconci le (as Richard Roe must) by bringing the two schemes together. Green's readers seldom f a i l to f a l l , completely or p a r t i a l l y , under the spel l of "the remarkable, id iosyncrat ic perspective from which he has chosen to represent those aspects of l i f e that have attracted his 23 a t tent ion . " Perhaps the best expression of th i s unique, hal lucinatory v i s ion i s P h i l i p Toynbee's conception of the wr i ter "spread out in the middle of a c e i l i n g and seeing the people below him in what they would hold to be d istorted and unnatural shapes" (p. 494). In th is discussion of some elements of Green's s t y le (the overal l e f fec t of which i s so mysterious that i t defies descr ipt ion) , I have t r i ed to indicate his del iberate assaults on the reader 's "normal" v i s ion of how things ought to look and sound, for I am convinced that these techniques, i n s i g n i f i -cant as they may appear in i s o l a t i o n , when brought together into that mystery of s ty le seduce the reader into seeing the world " i n an odd and unfamil iar way . . . ju s t out of focus, ju s t to one side of center" (Toynbee, p. 490). The subtle d i sor ientat ion of, for instance, "The boy looked to l i s t e n as for a shriek" might be compared, in i t s e f fect upon the ear, to a fun-house mi r ro r ' s e f fect on the eye. The disrupt ive ef fect of th is s ty le upon our expectations keeps us a t tent ive, as we must be, or Green's splendidly unstated comedy w i l l pass us by. His humour is only brought to l i f e i f we, as he says, "read each word " - - i t 64 would be lost i f his prose had the " f a t a l readab i l i t y " of, for example, 24 Christopher Isherwood's. Eschewing directness and co l loqu ia l real ism, 25 his w r i t i n g , l i k e Doughty's, "demands a hard reader." If not for the s t a r t l i n g punctuation, sporadical ly misplaced words, and a l l his other techniques of disturbance, we might f a l l asleep to the wickedly clever humour ly ing beneath the most innocuous statement—as when, a l i t t l e a f ter the dovecot scene in Loving, Nanny Swift declares of the ch i ldren: "Then y o u ' l l oblige me by watching 'em t i l l I'm back or t h e y ' l l go drop-ping each other out to the i r deaths" (p. 84). Besides speaking in such a boldly ind iv idua l i sed narrative voice that i t i s impossible not to l i s t e n , Green has another sure technique for keeping us awake. As I have sa id , his s t y l i s t i c disruptions are never a rb i t ra ry , and whenever he appears to be establ ishing a pattern, he w i l l promptly abandon the device. S t ruc tu ra l l y , however, he estab-l ishes patterns with a geometrical prec i s ion—only to mock them by s i g -n i f i can t d i s to r t ions . In several novels, there are facts or times that refuse to " f i t , " rebe l l ing against the r i g i d l y autocrat ic pattern imposed. A comic analogy from Concluding i l l u s t r a t e s t h i s : a l l the females con-nected with the In s t i tu te—the myriad g i r l s , Ma Marchbanks, Maggie B la in , Matron, Mabel Edge—have names beginning with "M," except for HermoTne Baker. The choice of Miss Baker as rebel is absurd in i t s pointlessness, for i t i s pure discrepancy meant, along with the others in th i s novel, to s t i r within the reader a subtle unrest. Edward Stokes was the f i r s t reader to comment on the small d i s tort ions Green uses to r u f f l e the surface of his prose, and he tends, unfortunately, to assign 65 them to careless workmanship. He makes an exception of Caught, expla in-ing with some ingenuity the temporal d is locat ions as forming a "seasonal structure" for the novel. However, he condemns the same technique in the other novels, implying that because he could not f ind a " s t ructure" 26 for them, they are errors. Yet, i f any of Green's work should be susceptible to er ror , i t i s Caught, wr itten as i t was when the author, a member of the Aux i l i a ry 27 F i re Service, was f i ght ing the f i r e s of the London b l i t z , and to exempt this novel from carelessness and accuse the others seems i l l o g i c a l . We had far better assume that Green knew what he was doing, rather than 28 try to correct his time schemes, as Stokes does. When he was questioned about the "pointing out of inconsistencies" in Stokes's book, he rep l i ed , 29 "I can ' t change what I 've printed and don 't want t o . " We should in fer from t h i s , I think, that the " incons istencies " in the material events of his novels have an a r t i s t i c purpose and therefore are del iberate. The structura l patterns the wr i ter imposes upon l i f e in his f i c t i o n are a challenged by the discrepancies which, as Green sees i t , are mimetic of the l i f e - f o r c e : "And i f the novel T^ S a l i v e of course the reader w i l l be i r r i t a t e d by d i s c r epanc i e s— l i f e , a f ter a l l , i s one discrepancy a f ter 30 another." The use of " i r r i t a t e d " to describe the reader 's reaction i s i n teres t ing , for here again Green's concern is to keep the reader aroused, questioning, and even insecure. Indeed, as we shal l see, his ultimate aim is to place us in the same uneasy posture as the characters in his f i c t i o n , for "a reader 's audience, in a novel, i s , of course, the characters that make up the book, that go to make i t l i v e , i f i t does i . „31 l i v e . 66 Although Green uses d i s locat ion s l i g h t l y in L iv ing and Nothing, the effects are concentrated in Party Going, Caught, Back, and Concluding. It i s evident, at f i r s t glance, that these four novels share a common atmosphere--that i s , a pervasive confusion and mist rust - - to a degree unknown in the others. The myst i f i cat ion each character feels about his own motives and those of others mirrors the d i sor ientat ion of his sur-roundings: a railway stat ion seen through transforming fog; London seen through the garish colours of f i r e ; a London in which everything i s the same, yet d i f f e ren t ; and a strangely f u t u r i s t i c landscape in which a State bureaucracy and a rampant Nature are out of tune with each other. Green's intent ion i s , through the use of disturbing discrepancy, to i n -clude the reader in the atmosphere of uncertainty and suspicion that he creates within the novel ' s world. v In Caught and Back, he does this by the adro i t l y surrept i t ious use of temporal d i s locat ions . Both novels, as I have indicated in d i s -cussing the i n i t i a l impact of the i r t i t l e s , are obsessed with time. Pye and Roe are each caught in the net of past memories which well up and disturb the surface of the present. Simultaneously, the i r present l i ves are caught and confined by the mechanism of war into blocks of time, r i g i d and seemingly immovable as the chairs nailed to the f l oo r in the asylum where Pye v i s i t s his s i s t e r . Charley Summers is embarked on a c i r c u l a r quest through time, i r o n i c a l l y pa ra l l e l to the spat ia l one which appears, at the beginning of the book, to be over: he has l e f t one country to go to another, and then come back. Journeying back through time to recover the " r e a l " Rose and bring her back to a s i gn i f i can t 67 present time, Charley i s faced, l i k e Pye and Roe, with a strange and auto-c r a t i c system--"government procedure" which regulates everything in 32 i n i t i a l s , form l e t t e r s , rat ion t i c ke t s , days and weeks. The d i so r ient -ing e f fect of try ing to accommodate private time within a ruth less ly public order i s most c l ea r l y manifested in Charley 's shattering psychosis, and foreshadowed by Mrs. Grant who, when Charley f i r s t meets her, has returned to the past and " l o s t her connections." Roe confesses a s imi la r d i sor ientat ion as Pye's c r i s i s nears: "I don 't know myself any more," Richard sa id. "This l i f e we lead, every th i rd day o f f , bewilders me. I couldn ' t t e l l you i f i t ' s Saturday or. Sunday to-day, honestly." (p. 160) We have seen that the reader of Caught experiences a "doubleness" in the narrative time-frame un t i l Dy brings Christopher to London in chapter th i r teen, when the two "presents" of Roe's domestic and service l i f e are harmonized, ju s t in time, i t seems, " f o r there was not much time l e f t " un t i l Pye's suic ide and the f i r s t ra ids . Consequently, the reader has already experienced anxiety. When, therefore, halfway through the novel, the chronology i s three weeks completely out of sequence, causing Mary Howells 's t r i p to Doncaster to happen simultane-ously with Roe and H i l l y ' s nightclub v i s i t three weeks l a t e r , the e f fect is one of renewed disturbance and doubleness. The reader can, no more than Richard, " t e l l you i f i t ' s Saturday or Sunday." The disturbance i s Compounded by the narrator ' s d i rect ion to imagine a time "almost" exactly a year in the future: "Twelve months almost to a day before such things happened every night, Richard wound up the ta lk with H i l l y . . . ." This 68 occurs ju s t before the "three weeks l a t e r " when Richard asks H i l l y out, so that when Mrs. Howells reaches Doncaster in the next chapter, in the f i c t i v e present, the e f fec t i s one of rushing backwards through time. The t i gh t , cinematic juxtaposit ioning of scenes which Green favours to create meanings through correspondences helps him to s t re tch , compress, or layer time to involve the reader as demandingly as possible in a nar-rat ive experience s imi la r to Richard ' s , or Pye's or Charley ' s . The fondness for cinematic technique with accompanying chronological d i s to r -t ions , reminds one of Robbe-Gri l let. In Last Year At Marienbad, the camera shows characters in double (and phys ica l ly impossible) postures and locat ions. S im i l a r l y , in Jealousy, where scene l ink ings by l e i tmot i f s and doubling of characters and events most strongly resemble Green, f rag -mented chronology makes i t impossible for the reader to recreate an 33 external order. 34 This chronological d i s t o r t i on , and other instances in Caught, • are mimetic of Roe's pos it ion in a wartime society in which, as Mrs. Howells says, "things go awry," and the pract ice is continued throughout Back. During the period of Charley 's ha l luc inat ion , July becomes Septem-ber and June, Ju ly . I t i s interest ing that Stokes, when discussing these s h i f t s , uses the words " s t a r t l e d , " " i r r i t a t e d , " and "annoyed" to describe the reader 's react ion. As Green hoped, he has been awakened by the d i s -crepancies to a fresh way of experiencing which involves sharing Charley 's experience of try ing to l i v e backwards and forwards at the same time. Simultaneously, something is shared with the author—the sense of a secret revolt against an autocrat ic system, or against systems in general 69 - - inc lud ing f i c t i o n a l time frames. I f , as Terry Southern says, the d i s -35 crepancies succeed in reminding the reader of the author 's presence, i t i s a presence communicated s i l e n t l y by a raised eyebrow and a conspir-a to r i a l wink. While temporal d is locat ions are used to disrupt the surface of the time-obsessed Caught and Back, actual events are not d istorted (although often ambiguous or confusing) as they are in Party Going and Concluding. In the l a t t e r novels, the reader 's disturbance deepens— part ly because the narrator of each plays a very special ro le . As Booth says in The Rhetoric of F i c t i o n , "Many stor ies require confusion in the reader, and the most e f fect i ve way to achieve i t i s to use an observer 36 who i s himself confused" (p. 284). In Party Going, Green appears to deny his own control over events, so that the reader cannot accept (with any more confidence than the other characters can) what is sa id. For, I t i s not to be supposed that any reader believes any more of what he i s to ld in narrative than he o rd ina r i l y bel ieves, in l i f e , of what someone i s t e l l i n g him. In l i f e we most of us have the most extraordinary reservations about what we hear. The novel i s t should never forget, and in future he w i l l be careful about t h i s , that everything put forward by him, however d e f i n i t e , i s taken by the reader with a grain of s a l t . (ENF, 23) The narrator of Party Going maintains th i s atmosphere of suspicion with a vengeance, contradict ing statements made by the characters with a subtle insistence destined to shake the reader 's f a i t h in what i s to ld him. In his analysis of the novel, C l ive Hart c i tes an example from the 37 opening pages. In th i s scene, the narrator recounts Miss Fellowes' re t r iev ing of the dead pigeon from the wastepaper basket where Robin Adams had put i t for her: 70 As she had not thanked him yet Adams thought he would t ry to get something out of th i s old woman, so he sa id: "I put your parcel away for you." "Oh, did you f ind somewhere to put i t , how very kind of you. I wonder i f you would show me which one you put i t i n , " and when he had shown her she made excuses and broke away, asking Miss Crevy to t e l l J u l i a she would be on the platform l a te r . Once free of them she went to where he had shown her and, part ly because she f e l t so much better now, she retr ieved her dead pigeon done up in brown paper, (pp. 12-13) Yet, a few pages l a t e r , Robin says: "He thought what had done i t was her ancient f r iend giving him that parcel to get r i d of and then, as soon as he had carr ied that out, sending him to get i t back for her." There is a further disturbing element in the above passage however, for why would Miss Fellowes ask that a message be taken to J u l i a when the narrator has already to ld us that she is there to say goodbye to her niece ("and i f Miss Fellowes had no more to do than kiss her niece and wave good-bye . . . " ) , and Angela t e l l s us, a few l ines before this passage, that Miss Fellowes' niece i s C la i re Hignam. The narrator ' s accounts, then, d i f f e r from Robin's and from Miss Fellowes' ( in ind i rect speech), in what appears to be a conspiracy of confusion. Events become more and more disturbed as t iny discrepancies make the i r impact l i k e pinpricks of unease. For example, as Max i s d i f f i -dently try ing to decide to leave Amabel, the narrator t e l l s us that Edwards, his manservant, comes in "to say that Mrs. Hignam had rung up and would he please r ing her back" (p. 19). In the meantime, J u l i a thinks, " I t was so wrong, so unfair of Max not to say whether he was r ea l l y com-ing, not to be in when she rang up, leaving that man of h i s , Edwards, to say he had gone out." And C l a i r e , in the t a x i , t e l l s her husband Robert 71 "she had rung up to say they were jus t o f f and to ask him why he was not already on his way. He had to ld her he was not packed yet . . . ." These reports are presented in a montage, to indicate simultaneity with Max's exchange with Edwards, and J u l i a ' s and C l a i r e ' s words are so subtly at variance with the narrator ' s that the tota l e f fect i s one of dismaying confusion. Distorted l e i tmot i f gives the same e f fec t . The narrator t e l l s us that three seagulls flew beneath the bridge where J u l i a stands; l a te r J u l i a remembers two doves and s t i l l l a t e r , at the end, pigeons. C l ive Hart discovers that the crowd's chant for tra ins is d i f f e ren t l y worded from one passage to another. S im i l a r l y , he notes, chronology i s d i s -turbed in "the case of an exactly repeated motif whose appearances do not seem to refer to the same moment in time" (p. 188). Twice, a "huge wi ld roar" breaks from the crowd, followed by the sentence: "They were beginning to adjust that board ind icat ing times of tra ins which had stood a l l of two hours behind where i t had reached when f i r s t the fog came down." This moment i s apparently t imeless, for i t occurs on two 38 d i s t i n c t l y d i f fe rent occasions. Also once at the hote l , Evelyn sends Robert of f on precise ly the same detai led mission as the one he has, supposedly, already l e f t on: "Robert said he must go and t e l l C la i re and he would l e t Max know as w e l l , and that he would meet them in the ho te l . " As in the posting of t r a i n schedules, " l i f e on the platform 39 seems to fol low a d i f fe rent time-scheme from that in the ho te l . " At f i r s t glance one of the most omniscient of s t o r y t e l l e r s , as he b ruta l l y analyzes each character ' s motives and poverty-str icken fee l ings , 72 the narrator of Party Going simultaneously undercuts his own authority. After a period of intense examination of everyone's reaction to Amabel's a r r i v a l (a s i tuat ion very close to the ideal s i tuat ion Green describes when the pub i s flooded and everyone watches the newcomer), the narrator does an about-face, questioning his own r e l i a b i l i t y by blandly s tat ing: "At the same time no one can be sure they know what others are thinking any more than anyone can say where someone is when they are asleep" (p. 144). Or, as Green was to say l a t e r , "We cer ta in l y do not know what other people are thinking and fee l i ng . How then can the novel i s t be so sure?" (ANR I, 506). In Party Going, he even inv i tes us to question his omniscience concerning the basic events of the novel, as in the case of Miss Fellowes's condit ion. The narrator ' s view, "She did not know how i l l she was" (p. 72), i s placed against that of the hotel doctor, to the ef fect that she i s in a drunken stupour. Each opinion i s given equal weight; and i f the doctor ' s diagnosis i s debased by his indecent haste to get his house fee, the narrator ' s i s l ikewise debased, for i t derives i t s support from the nannies who ( l i k e Nanny Swift of Loving) are Green's comically indest ruct ib le harbingers of a gruesome death. I f the nar-ra to r ' s opinion is seconded by Evelyn (who allows herself to be persuaded by the nannies), the doctor ' s i s upheld by Alex. The atmosphere of ambiguity and doubt thus fostered is not unl ike that which V i rg in ia Woolf cu l t i vates in To the Lighthouse. Trying to penetrate the mysterious depths of Mrs. Ramsay's nature, the narrator takes up the same questing, tentat ive stance as do Wool f s characters, L i l y Briscoe and Will iam Bankes. The narrator ' s oblique probing is 73 f i l l e d with the same unsureness, as the dramatic emphasis at the close of a passage exploring the enigma of Mrs. Ramsay indicates: "Her s ing le -ness of mind made her drop plumb l i k e a stone, a l i gh t exact as a b i r d , gave her, natura l l y , th is swoop and f a l l of the s p i r i t upon truth which 40 del ighted, eased, sus ta ined—fa l se ly perhaps." The " t r u th " which Mrs. Ramsay i s supposed to i n t u i t i s dramatical ly denied by the adverb, " f a l s e l y , " which, in turn, is p a r t i a l l y contradicted and qua l i f i ed by "perhaps." C lear l y , the narrator i s in a pos it ion not much better than ours for a r r i v ing at the t ruth. A l l ends are l e f t open, and the mystery is sustained, even deepened. By dispensing with object ive, authorial statement in the i r novels, both writers place the reader in a state of constant, empirical discovery in which he selects or rejects according to the imaginative p icture he builds of the t ru th . Green goes a step further than Woolf, drawing the very process to our at tent ion, and play-ing with i t before our eyes. The "omniscience" of the narrator of Party Going i s a w e l l -executed joke on the reader. To appreciate t h i s , l e t us try to see him in re la t ion to the narrator of Loving. In th i s novel, the narrator bears a magical resemblance to the pointed Gothic windows through which the characters forever seem to be gazing. He i s an almost transparent medium through which, i f we look c lo se ly , every gesture and expression i s revealed—but thoughts and feel ings are as hidden as i f we were actua l ly on the other side of the glass. A timeless, exot ic , or f a i r y t a l e d i s -tance i s maintained between the reader and narrator on one side of the glass, and the characters on the other, by the narrator ' s stubborn 74 refusal to see or hear anything which i s not presented sensibly to the onlooker, Edith looked out. A great distance beneath she saw Mrs. Tennant and her daughter-in-law start ing for a walk. . . . This young woman was poised with an object, i t may have  been the dry white bone of a bird that she was about to throw. She flung i t a short distance, (pp. 24-25; i t a l i c s mine) We may use this as an analogy of the distance the narrator keeps us from the a r t i cu la ted inner l i ves of these characters. He does th i s by the pervasive negation of omniscience in his terminology, and the use of ex-pressions which were to appear again in Nothing and Doting: "seemed," "as though," "perhaps," "probably," "appeared," " i t could be assumed," " i t may have been," and so on. While in his l a s t two novels, such terms are an uncomfortable reminder of the narrator Green has otherwise managed to erase, in Loving they are blown over with the heedless charm and gay unselfconsciousness of the whole—leading up to the f i n a l scene, when we are placed f i rmly and f i n a l l y beyond the picture frame: "What he saw then he watched so that i t could be guessed that he was in pain with his great de l ight " (p. 229; i t a l i c s mine). Within th i s enchanted world, we guess at what the characters are f ee l i n g , reading the i r thoughts from the i r physical gestures, such as drooping shoulders, blushes, paleness, raised or lowered voices, squints, narrowed eyes, or unseeing stance at a window: While the nanny patted her ha i r , wiped her face with a handkerchief, and then, a f ter hes i tat ing, was gone, Edith stood slack at one of 75 the high windows and did not seem to see those bluebel ls already coming up between wind-stunted beeches which grew out of the grove onto that part of the lawn t i l l the i r tops were level with her eyes. Also there was a rainbow from the sun on a shower blowing in from the sea, but you could safely say she took no notice, (p. 84) The narrator i s on the same "wavelength" as the reader a l l the way through, and th i s establishes a special re lat ionsh ip between them; both are engaged in constructing motives for th i s perfect ly se l f - susta in ing l i f e which, paradoxical ly, they succeed in bringing into v i t a l being: As she wiped her mouth on the back of a hand she remarked as though wondering, "You a ren ' t l i k e th i s f i r s t thing are you?" This must have been a reference to the fact that when she ca l led him with a cup of tea in the mornings he never kissed her then as he lay in bed. Or he must have understood i t as such because, standing as he was l i k e he had been drained of blood, he actua l ly moaned, (pp. 200-201) Narrator and reader are thus joined in a mutual attempt to penetrate the mystery underlying common human a c t i v i t y . By drawing our at tent ion, at  times, to possible solutions (as he does in the above examples), Green stimulates our imaginations to the web of possible associations in the novel. If narrator and reader are on the same "wavelength" in Loving, there i s a confusing s h i f t of distance in Party Going. In some cases, the narrator appears to o f fer his views tenta t i ve l y , as i f they are sub-jec t to change upon better information, or as i f he, l i k e the narrator of Loving, were separated from his characters by glass: " . . . Miss Crevy and her young man, apparently serene, envied for the i r obviously easy circumstances and Angela coveted for her looks by a l l those water beetles i f you l i k e , by those people standing round" (p. 27; i t a l i c s mine). 76 S im i l a r l y , we have seen that the narrator is capable of roundly denoun-41 cing his own omniscience. However, unl ike the narrator of Loving, he simultaneously indulges himself in long passages of introspective analysis concerning each character ' s private motives and imaginings. The ef fect of these contradictory authorial viewpoints i s to create a suspicious, tentat ive response in the reader. Statements which are osten-s i b l y made to "help us out" (and would be accepted as such in other novels) are now viewed as being potent ia l l y suspect: "Bother Max," he sa id , "what consideration has he shown us? Why he said he would wait for me at his f l a t " ( th is was not true) "to come on to the stat ion with me, but when I got there I found he was gone." (p. 54; i t a l i c s mine) Why should the narrator thus i n te r jec t his voice from the clouds, anxious to set us s t ra ight on th i s matter, when he de l iberate ly abstains in other events and, as we have seen, encourages confusion where there need be none? Green returns to th i s discomforting technique in Concluding, where i t again succeeds in arousing our mistrust, our uneasy suspicion of being played with. Our confusion stems from the fact that we do not know what to bel ieve. In the cases where statements from the characters and the nar-rator c o n f l i c t , who i s r ight? Is the author forgetfu l (and we are given ample evidence of the u n r e l i a b i l i t y of memory in th i s novel), or de l iber -ately mischievous? The characters are wary of the l i e s , evasions, and exaggerations in each other ' s s to r ie s : Amabel declares to Max, "You see I 've come to know I can ' t t rust a s ingle thing you say" (p. 219). S imi-l a r l y , we enter into a conversation with the narrator much l i k e that of 77 Angela and Alex, who cont inual ly t ry to impose the i r own version on events, and who are each unsure how much to accept of what the other says. The acqui s i t ion of power through the knowledge, however gained, of others ' secrets is a major theme in Party Going. In th i s game of whispers, hints and half-concealed information, to be a confidante i s an envied pos i t ion, as C la i re and Evelyn's pointed exchange about J u l i a indicates (pp. 105-6). Amabel i s remote, and therefore powerful; A lex ' s comically over-exuberant pleasure in having "got" something on her gives him the temporary power to r e s i s t the group and suggest going home: "There's no one anywhere l i k e your Toddy," he said to Amabel and looked tremendously pleased. "The things I 've found out about you, y o u ' l l never be able to be quite the same to me again with a l l I 've got on you now. Really Am, i t ' s f an ta s t i c , you can ' t imagine, I mean i t makes coming and a l l th i s waiting worth whi le . " (p. 190) The secrecy at the heart of the garden of artichokes (or bamboos?) sug-gests the inner, hidden meaning of experience for the i nd i v i dua l , in th i s case, the mixture of love and death in J u l i a ' s mind--her love for Max and her mother's death. Such secrets are jealous ly guarded from invasion by others: Max i s to ld most, but not a l l . Knowledge of the secret held i n v i o l a te , l i k e "a much more exc i t ing thing of the i r own, artichokes, pigeons and a l l " (p. 255), puts J u l i a in the ascendancy at the end. Amabel, on the other hand, has lo s t some of her remoteness, perhaps through Embassy Dick, who pressed hands "as though to make secrets he would never keep, as though to embrace each private thought you had and to l e t you know he shared i t with you and would share i t again with anyone he met" (p. 254). 78 The least powerful member of the group i s , of course, Angela, because she knows nothing, must ask cont inua l ly , and i s never rea l l y answered. The only way in which she can gain power is pragmatic. Not un t i l the end of the book can she t e l l , with any certa inty—s imply from having been there, l i s tened, and remembered—what has rea l l y happened: "Oh no Alex, excuse me you never d i d , " Miss Crevy sa id, " ju s t the oppo-s i t e r e a l l y , you know. You always said someone else had sent i t " (p. 254). When she does not know what to bel ieve, in the confusion of secret manoeuvres with Miss Fellowes, or mysterious references to shared experiences in the pa s t—we l l , as Max to ld her, "You can guess then." This may very well be Green's advice to us, for he puts his readers in the same uneasy pos i t ion. Introducing discrepancies and contradict ions, he awakens us to the necessity of l i s ten ing ca re fu l l y , reading each word as i f we were awake, in an attempt to gauge the truth about the party-goers. As events s h i f t about us, the reader becomes, as Green wishes, one of the characters, and his guesses and conclusions become part of his experience of the book to which the others, narrator included, may be "audience." And every disruption of the surface i s a recapi tu lat ion of the opening theme of confusion and mystery: "Fog was so dense, bird that had been disturbed went f l a t into a balustrade and slowly f e l l , dead, at her feet " (p. 18). Green's techniques of myst i f i cat ion reappear in Concluding, where, even more than in the fog-shrouded stat ion of Party Going, they operate in a powerful atmosphere of secretiveness and conspiracy. This atmosphere i s sustained ch i e f l y by the extravagances of adolescent 79 excitement, the s i n i s t e r undercurrents of Mary's disappearance, and the supernatural co l lus ion of nature—that i s , the hal lucinatory murmurs and buzzes of the hot afternoon, the female acquiescence of the moon-powered night, and the hints of conspiracy in the winking, s i l vered eyelids of the house. As in Party Going, the reader is caught in a web of innuen-does spun by, and around, the characters. Mysterious echoes along the parkland r ide are s t ruc tu ra l l y impor-tant to the novel, dramatical ly emphasizing the diurnal round which i s constantly concluding one day to begin again the next. The f i r s t page of the novel echoes the l a s t as much as the l a s t does the f i r s t , but Green's careful patterning i s once again disturbed by d i s tort ions which r u f f l e the surface and create a watchful, uneasy reader. The woods are a l i v e , but sounds in Concluding are s i g n i f i c an t l y strange. Mr. Rock's thesis on the o r i g in of echoes (that they come from the house, not the trees) i s ca re fu l l y set forth in the opening scene: " I t ' s the trees throw back the sound, s i r . " "Yet i f you face about, Adams, c a l l away from the place down th i s r ide behind, you won't get a whisper in return. " (p. 8) 42 It i s also supported by the narrative throughout the novel. Simultane-ously, however, Rock's thesis i s contradicted when gramophone strains from the house are echoed by the trees: "False alarm" Mr Rock said in a loud voice, and was about to elaborate with an attack on Edge for not keeping the instrument in proper order, when he was s i lenced, made mute, because, through his deafness, he had caught the l a s t echoes of th i s music sent back by the beeches, where each s t a r l i n g ' s agate eye lay folded safe beneath a wing. (p. 187) 80 Whichever law controls the echoes, i t i s beyond the novel 's explanations and we are l e f t to conclude that there are facts we do not know about the orderings of th i s universe, jus t as the azaleas and rhododendrons are both "heavy with scent" and "eunuch, scentless f lowers. " Furthermore, the echoes on the novel ' s surface return the sound to us d i s tor ted. The c a l l "Ma-ree" is disturbed in tone from a high to a low reg i s t e r : , " 'Ma - ree , " ' a g i r l ' s voice s h r i l l e d , then a moment l a te r the house volleyed back 'Ma-ree, mar-ee,' but in so far deeper a note that i t might have been a man c a l l i n g " (pp. 10-11). Again, in the la s t pages, the f a i n t cry is driven back at f i r s t " i n a g i r l ' s voice, only deeper," then " louder, as before, and twice, " and f i n a l l y , now that Mr. Rock and L i z are far from the house, in a whisper, but thr ice th i s time. Mr. Rock, making his way through th i s reverberating world with senses p a r t i a l l y sealed, catches here a c a l l , there an echo, and sometimes nothing at a l l . Nor are other characters immune to deafness, for Miss Baker cannot hear what Edge almost catches at breakfast, and L i z , at the end, walks "struck into herse l f " in a lovesick dream. Are the echoes internal or external? Mr. Rock, doubting his senses, assumes that the sound "must have been a noise in the head from his old heart, the sudden twang on a ve in " (pp. 245-46). As L i z speaks to Rock, she echoes a s i l e n t thought he has jus t had (p. 175). Like the s tar l ings who, in the roar of the i r wings at sunset, make "the enormous echo of blood, or of the sea," echoes from one to the other world may be interchangeable. Furthermore, there is the mystery of the echo which either never ex isted, or has been " forgotten" : " ' S leepwalk ing, ' 81 the aunt announced, in barely concealed triumph. And Miss Baker was so flabbergasted at th i s forgotten echo of the dawn that, without more ado, she took the woman up to Merode at once" (p. 135). "This forgotten echo" can only refer to Merode's "s leepwalking," and there is no log ica l con-nection between sleepwalking and the "dawn" of th i s strange day in Concluding's world. What, then, i s being "echoed?" Perhaps i t i s an event outside the structure of the novel, or inside someone's experience (perhaps the reader 's) but " forgotten. " The enigma of the echoes, the i r laws, d i s tort ions and " r e a l i t y , " i s surely meant to suggest everything unexplained in the novel, and the p o s s i b i l i t y of the reader 's ( l i k e the characters ' ) being too deaf to hear a lo s t phrase which w i l l provide the key i s ser iously advanced and encouraged by the narrat ive. Green achieves th i s e f fect by bui lding a f ine substructure of echoes in the prose which are as d i storted and mysteriously incomplete as those on the narrative surface of the novel. Thus the d i s to r t i on of a g i r l ' s voice to a deeper reg i s te r , and the transformation of one cry into two or three, are ref lected by subtle disarrangements in the informa-t ion communicated to the reader through the medium of p r i n t . What hap-pens in the case of the f i r /p ine trees? Marchbanks conceives the idea, when discussing the decorations with Moira, of having f i r trees covered with s a l t , thus conjuring up a sw i r l i ng , hal lucinatory a l ternat ive to Edge and her rhododendrons: " ' F i r trees and waltzes. The snow for a l l of your white frocks as you go round'" (p. 49). There are several r e fe r -ences to the f i r trees during th i s interview and the two that fol low with Miss Winstanley and Adams. Marchbanks dwells on them again when 82 questioning Merode. But l a t e r , as Moira f l i r t s with Mr. Rock, they undergo a strange metamorphosis: "Where's George Adams at work?" Mr Rock asked next. "He's to fetch the pine trees she wants round the Hall for to -night. We're to put s a l t over to look l i k e snow. Only Miss Edge won't be so keen." (p. 83) S i g n i f i c an t l y , i t i s Moira, the purveyor of fa l se information, who effects th i s transformation; the astonishing thing is that Marchbanks herse l f , at lunch, appears to be under the same impression: ' " I ' d thought pine branches with s a l t , ' that woman answered with a blush. 'So coo l , in th is hot weather, for the Dance. A soupcon of snow,' she elaborated" (p. 99). I t i s almost as i f Moira, who deals in d i s to r t i on throughout, has managed to impose her version upon the events of the novel, so that even the or ig inator of the idea i s influenced. A l i t t l e l a t e r , Edge refers to "pine branches"—but as the walls are being hung with azaleas and rhododendrons, the trees become f i r once more, and the game i s over (p. 139). What i s the point of th i s del iberate d i s tort ion? Green wants to induce in his reader the same myst i f i cat ion his characters feel as they s t ra in to catch, or remember, f a i n t sounds. That these sounds are some-times d istorted only reinforces the hopelessly tangled threads of gossip and rumour within which the reader of Concluding i s s o f t l y but f i rmly enmeshed. We think we have our hands on certa in information, but we can-not t rust our ears or our memory to confirm what we think we know. While information is being secret ly conveyed from one character to another, and a l l the g i r l s ' correspondence i s being read, l i e s , 83 d i s tor t ions and evasions hover in th i s hothouse atmosphere, emphasized by the "overst ra in " motif, in which the nervous errors of overheated imaginations are l i k e l y . Part of the humour depends, in f a c t , upon the comic d i s to r t i on of information: hence, "She lo s t her Dol ly" becomes "There was a telegram to say the s i s t e r Doll was badly i l l at home." But information i s coming through to us_, the readers, in the same u n r e l i -able, e r r a t i c fashion, and we are as helpless as the other characters. In Concluding, as in the other novels, Green makes s i gn i f i can t use of motifs to suggest meaning. In the absence of a trustworthy nar-rator, echoes that sound t ru l y ( i f only once), as well as more f u l l y developed motifs, are essential communicators of hidden information. Mingled with these, however, are echoes which operate l i k e s t i l l b o r n motifs: a phrase or event repeated f a i n t l y , and with d i s to r t i ons . (Or not so f a i n t l y , in the case of Merode who, half dreaming, has something offered to her "exact ly " as Marchbanks had already offered i t , with the s i gn i f i can t d i s to r t i on from cat to d o l l . ) In th i s fashion, the climax of Miss Baker's Lewis C a r r o l l - l i k e story of pigs in the orchard ("'I had my mackintosh . . . they ate i t , every sc rap ' " (p. 152)) i s an echo of the previous scene in which the rag do l l has been discovered " l a i d disgust ingly on a b i t of mackintosh." Our log ic can make so l i t t l e sense of th i s absurd transformation that we may doubt having heard i t . The dreamlike echo sounds f a i n t l y again as Mr. Rock, on his way to the dance, ponders on L i z ' s watchful s i lence, "from her poor starved heart, no doubt, under that stained mackintosh hung over the shoulders" (p. 168). In the narrat ive, d i s tort ions of sound ar i se from Mr. Rock's 84 sho r t - c i r cu i t s (del iberate or otherwise) in communication. For example, in his v i o l en t l y confused conversation with Adams secreted in the withy, the old man d i s tor t s the phrase, "You and your sor t , " to "Lose the f o r t , " which makes no sense within the immediate context, but i s highly s i g n i f i -cant in terms of his own "ba t t l e for the place," in which Adams appears to be a^temporarily wounded so ld ie r . Just as Rock's translat ions of the sounds which reach him are d istorted by his own unspoken anx iet ies , so the d istorted echoes of the prose say something to us by way of the unspoken and i l l o g i c a l associations which we are l e f t free to make. In the la s t example, for instance, Mr. Rock's using his pig Daisy to track Mary's body, and Mary's do l l ( in absurd subst i tut ion for her body) ly ing on the la s t scrap of the mackintosh the pigs ate, are connected, and the addit ion of L i z ' s " s ta ined" coat provides a disquiet ing note which we may hear i f we wish. Hence the unspoken i s transmitted by what Green 43 ca l led "communication through mishearing" --Rock's mishearing, on one l e v e l , serving as a re f l ec to r of that nove l i s t i c communication effected by subtly d istorted echoes. S im i l a r l y , the echo of an event which has been lo s t or " forgotten" i s sounded for the reader in the prose of the novel. Adams's extravagantly mysterious statement to Mr. Rock from the withy, "You never intended to give me the wire" (p. 160), serves as a comic parody of other, quieter references to events which have happened, i f at a l l , outside the novel, or have been " forgotten" by someone, perhaps the reader. Sometimes th i s i s c l ea r l y due to a character ' s confusion, as when Edge, under the delusion that she had given the pol ice responsible d i rect ions about Mary's 85 disappearance, complains, "Oh, Baker, what i s the matter with the Pol ice that she cannot be found?" (p. 143). More mysterious is the sergeant's inference that Mary i s in the lake: "He had a v i s ion of s ix hundred golden legs, bare to the morning, and sa id, 'Yes, ma'am.' At the same time, he had not forgotten what had been hinted on the way, and saw one pair of dripping legs" (p. 92). Mr. Rock has to ld the policeman about Mary's disappearance, but no mention has been made of the lake except by Moira, who has been at work with mischievous misinformation while the sergeant was on his way up to the house. She "knew" Mary was "down under water in the lake, " because "Winstanley asked permission for the s ta f f to bathe as today's a hol iday, and Ma Marchbanks said better not, because Mary was drowned in i t " (p. 83). Somehow, impossibly, the policeman has picked up a hint of th is story. Early in the novel, we are confronted by a mysteriously incom-plete echo. Mr. Rock, s i t t i n g at Mrs. B la in ' s tab le, enjoys his tea: " . . . as his tea made his old blood run again, in th i s morning's second miracle for Mr Rock" (p. 22). Has there been a f i r s t ? Kingsley Weather-head, the only reader to attempt an answer, thinks "the warmth of the 44 sun" was the f i r s t miracle, and th i s i s ce r ta in l y p laus ib le , as i s the p o s s i b i l i t y that simply another day's beginning, in the "concluding" l i f e of Mr. Rock, is miraculous. But these are only conjectures, as the true miracle echoed by the "second" one remains l i k e a lo s t piece in the detective story which Concluding parodies. Again and again, the reader 45 is urged to r e l i v e the novel in order to f ind the missing clues. As one can see from these examples, the narrator of Concluding 86 must accept some re spons ib i l i t y for the reader 's confusion. Caught in a web of gossip which a l ter s information from one character to another, we inev i tab ly turn for help to the narrator, who takes an unholy del ight in his fa l se role of demystif ier. In his hints of forgotten echoes and miracles, he may well be the gu i l t y party, constantly accused by the bewildered characters, such as Mrs. B l a i n , who complains, "'Oh why w i l l they make mysteries in th i s perplexed establishment? 1 " (p. 114). The narrator is to blame for the inexp l i cab i1 i ty of Miss Baker's emotional discovery that Merode is an orphan, when she herself has already pointed out the fact a f ter the g i r l s were reported missing (p. 20). He is also to blame for the tan ta l i z i ng revelat ion of the anonymous l e t t e r , g iv ing f i r s t the one word "FURNICATES," then making us wait for most of the book before releasing the whole message, and f i n a l l y rendering that mes-sage absurdly incomprehensible and never t e l l i n g who sent i t . As in Party Going, the narrator ' s suspect "helpfulness" engenders a suspicious, tentat ive att i tude on the part of the reader. Just as events begin to be muddied by Moira 's tales and Miss Edge's deviousness, th i s narrator intrudes, with showy omniscience, in his ro le of demysti-f i e r , to correct the misinformation Winstanley is transmitt ing: "And they've to ld the po l ice. Dakers has i t for a fact the roads are to be watched within a radius of twenty miles. The sergeant l e f t an hour ago a f ter he'd seen Edge. Besides I believe Merode's to ld some story which does'nt sound too improbable and is reasonably reassuring." Most of th i s was f a l s e , i f Miss Winstanley had only  known. The ch i l d had said nothing, (p. 97; i t a l i c s mine") Here i s our opportunity to lean for advice on the narrator, someone who knows, as Winstanley does not (as he takes care to point out) the t ruth. 87 But what is that truth? By specifying Merode's story as the " f a l s e " part of the information, the narrator implies that the rest is true, but we know " fo r a f a c t " that i t i s not. Furthermore, there i s no need to t e l l us about Merode's s i l ence, because we already know that, having been present at the interview. S im i l a r l y , the narrator ' s " reveal ing" insights into character are often ambivalent. How are we to gauge Sebastian's real feel ings for E l izabeth, for example, when the only two glimpses the narrator gives us are contradictory: And Sebastian, who did not answer, ju s t stood there in a daze at the chance which bound him to these two strange people by the love he had for the granddaughter, the love, he thouaht, of his l i f e . (p. 38) . . . not without a sense of dread in every breast which, in Sebas-t i a n ' s case was even more,--for him i t was the v i o l i n conjured, s i b i l a n t , th in storm of unease about a ha lt ing heart, (p. 200) The deceptively t rad i t i ona l omniscience of the narrator who here, as in Party Going, supposedly lets us see his characters ' thoughts, and gives us helpful information, i s part of a game intended to teach the reader other methods of discovery, to sharpen his observation of discrepancies in behaviour and speech, and to attune his ear to true echoes, correspon-dences, and motifs. The narrator ' s game also stresses, by i t s pretended usefulness and equivocal nature, that the real mysteries are l e f t completely un-answered. In his ro le of Oracle ("the sequence here i s l i g h t then dark-ness . . . " ) , the narrator prophesies nothing more than that darkness sha l l conclude the day and conceal a l l . This narrator, we f e e l , i s more in command than that of Party Going. He is strong enough to parody 88 those who " t e l l a l l " to the passive reader; strong enough, that i s , to play. Perplexing us with sh i f t i ng f ac t s , t r i c k i ng us into reading each word ca re fu l l y , de l iberate ly , and suspic iously, Green forces us to "conclude" for ourselves, whi le, at the same time, mocking the process by which we do so. 89 Notes I La Conversation, p. 61. 2 As I have sa id, the urgent need for communication which prompts his s t y l i s t i c experiments distinguishes these from the na r c i s s i s t i c single-mindedness of a f fec ta t ion . 3 Henry Green, "Apologia," Fol ios of New Writ ing, 4 (1941), 44-51. 4 In his interview with Southern, Green said of the prose wr i te r , "His s ty le i s himself." "The Art of F i c t i o n , " p. 72.. 5 Eudora Welty, "A Novel ist of the Imagination," p. 254. Alan Ross, in an interview with Green, said that any paragraph from his work would be "immediately recognizable as yours." "Green, with Envy," p. 23. 6 L iv ing (London: Hogarth Press, 1929), p. 13. 7 "The Novels of Henry Green," Partisan Review, 16 (May 1949), 487-97. 8 "An Absolute G i f t , " p. 41. g Bruce Bassoff, "Prose Consciousness in the Novels of Henry Green," Language and Sty le , 5, No. 4 (Fa l l 1972), 276-86. 1 0 "Mr. Jonas," Fol ios of New Writ ing, 3 (1941), 31-40. I I John Lehmann, in I Am My Brother (New York: Reynal & Co., 1960), p. 109, reports Green's comment when he sent the story i n : "I put some commas i n . " 1 2 Nothing (London: Hogarth Press, 1950), p. 94. 1 3 "A F i r e , a Flood and the Price of Meat," p. 294. 14 The Novels of Henry Green, p. 188. 83-94. 1 5 "The Double L i f e of Henry Green," L i f e , 4 August 1952, pp. James Sutherland, "Preface," The Oxford Book of English Talk (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1953), p. v i 1 7 "The Spoken Word as Written, " The Spectator, 4 September 1953, p. 248. 90 18 19 20 21 The Age of Suspicion, pp. 96-97. The Tightrope Walkers, p. 189. Nine Novels, p. 45. "The Novels of Henry Green," p. 491 22 (N 23 Quoted in Dictionary of World L i te ra ture , ed. Joseph T. Shipley ew York: The Philosophical L ibrary, 1943), p. 533. Quinton, "A French View of Loving," p. 35. 24 Cy r i l Connolly, in Enemies of Promise (New York: Macmillan, 1948), p. 79, uses th i s phrase to describe the ease of Isherwood's prose. After a moment's reading, "one is tobogganing through the book." 25 T. E. Lawrence used these words to describe his reaction to Arabia Deserta. Quoted in Henry Green, "Apologia," p. 46. 26 The Novels of Henry Green, pp. 108-10. It i s interest ing to compare Stokes's analysis with Robbe-Gr i l let ' s remark about Jealousy: "The narrative was on the contrary made in such a way that any attempt to reconstruct an external chronology would lead, sooner or l a t e r , to a series of contradict ions, hence to an impasse." For a New Novel, trans. Richard Howard (New York: Grove Press, 1962), p. 154. 27 John Lehmann documents, in I Am My Brother, his amazement at Green's a b i l i t y to compose complex and elaborate wr i t ing while being ca l led out at a l l times to f i gh t f i r e s (p. 109). 28 See p. 107 ("Chapter 7 should probably begin . . .") and p. 120 (". . . the quoted sentence should read . . . " ) . 29 30 31 32 Ross, "Green, with Envy," p. 24. Southern, "The Art of F i c t i o n , " p. 72. "A F i r e , a Flood and the Price of Meat," p. 294. The autocracy of public time in war, while not so obvious as in Caught, i s nonetheless subtly underlined by Green in th i s novel. Dot P i t t e r , in the course of changing jobs, f a i l s to get " fo r ty -e ight hours leave" to v i s i t her evacuated mother, and Charley 's success at his job is measured by the weeks they are overdue with the plant orders. Twenty-four hours away from his job brings Corker Mead's l i t t l e t a l k , " f o r he thought i t l i k e l y these young men coming home from the war might be a b i t wi ld for a period, i t would only be natura l " (p. 64). 91 33 A reader has recently made a complaint about inconsistencies in Jealousy which sounds very much l i k e Stokes 's. "The resu l t e i ther of carelessness or of downright pervers i ty , " says Daniel P. Deneau in "Non-Functional Contradictions in Robbe-Gr i l let ' s Jealousy," The International  F i c t i on Review, 1, No. 1 (Jan. 1974), 62-64. 34 See Stokes, pp. 108-10; temporal d i s tort ions in Back, pp. 120-21. 3 5 "The Art of F i c t i o n , " p. 72. 36 In "The English Novel of the Future," Green says, " L i f e i t -se l f i s capable of several meanings. Therefore the future function of narrative prose is not to be c l ea r . " 37 "The Structure and Technique of Party Going," p. 189. 38 Party Going, p. 205; p. 227. 39 p. 46. "The Structure and Technique of Party Going," p. 190. 4 0 To the Lighthouse (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1927), 41 See p. 20; also p. 149: "how impossible i t i s to t e l l what others are thinking or what, in ordinary l i f e , brings people to do what they are doing." 42 "Because he faced the great house, the echo volleyed back at him, 'Ted, Ted ' " (p. 150; i t a l i c s mine). Also, see pp. 249-50. 43 Terry Southern, "The Art of F i c t i o n , " p. 66. 44 / A Reading of Henry Green (Seatt le: Univers ity of Washington Press, 1961J, p. 107. 45 Concluding is not the only novel with missing pieces, of course. In Back, for example, Nancy makes an author i tat ive statement about Charley 's having been in Rose's bed (p. 88). Even i f he rereads the conversational exchanges between Charley and Nancy, the reader can-not f ind whatever information th i s statement i s based on. Chapter IV THE READER TALKS BACK Green's su rpr i se - tact ic s which a t t rac t at tent ion, his development of a d i s t i n c t i v e l y accented speaking voice, and his a r t i s t i c use of d i s -crepancy and d i s to r t i on to ensure careful l i s t en i n g , are a l l wielded with one purpose in mind--to persuade the reader to enter c reat ive ly into the s i l e n t conversation. The ideal spoken conversation is described by Andre Maurois as "a bui lding on which one works in common," both speakers p lac-ing phrases and considering the e f f ec t , l i k e masons with b r i c k s . 1 "Con-versat ion, " Green's metaphor for v i t a l communication, suggests the ro le which modern f i c t i o n more and more i n s i s t en t l y assigns to the reader. With the retirement of the V ictor ian narrator whom Green ca l led "know-a l l " (ANR I, 506), an act ive col laborat ion on the part of the "modern" 2 reader is urged by writers from Henry James to Robbe-Gri l let. Northrop Frye distinguishes one of the chief concepts of modern a r t i s t r y as the reader 's involvement, in which cont inuity and even, in some cases, s i g n i -3 f icance, has been handed over to the reader. Thus the la s t and most important part of Green's experiment, " f i n a l l y , to create a work of art . . . between the author and.reader," depends on "a conscious act of the imagination" (ENF, 22) on the part of a reader awakened by the narrative 4 voice. What Jose-Maria Caste l le t ca l led "the time of the reader" has, indeed, arr ived for the novel. In making the consciousness of his reader the end toward which a l l his e f for t s are d i rected, Green looks backwards to Sterne and 92 93 forwards to some contemporary novel i s t s . In the experimental novel, the experiment i s performed upon the reader as well as upon the mater ia l , and i t i s i ron ic that some of the t r i c k s Green used to provoke communi-cation at a l l costs i r r i t a t e d at least one reader, who fancied that he drew patterns to amuse himself and a select " c o te r i e . " This was a r i sk Green cheerfu l ly took, for the sake of other readers who, through the i r imaginative pa r t i c i pa t i on , would extend the l i f e of his novels. Of a l l the devices Green used to cajole and tease his reader into ta lk ing back, the most consistent i s del iberate mys t i f i ca t ion . That he should choose th i s approach i s not surpr i s ing; i t i s , rather, i n s t i n c t i v e . Reading Pack My Bag, one is struck by the celebration throughout of the power of mystery--a fear fu l wonder which sustains while i t threatens l i f e . His descr ipt ion of boyhood f i s h i n g , fo r example, concentrates on the appeal of the unknown: There i s a secrecy in wet f l y f i sh ing on the Severn with the f l y out of s ight and the s k i l l l i e s in knowing more from the behaviour of the l i ne than from anything on the surface of the water that a f i s h i s taking i t down. It i s an exc i t ing connection with a remote element when there is only a hint of what i s going on . . . . (p. 55) This passage indicates something of his fee l ing for the secret core of the unexceptional person or event; i t also describes by analogy the essence of Green's work. In using a sense of mystery to t an ta l i z e , and communicate with, his readers, Green was drawing on simple psychology, learned from his minute observation of human beings. Like the detect ive-story nove l i s t , he catered to a universal love for in t r i gue, and for the inexp l icab le. 94 He had discovered early that "questions unresolved stay in the mind (PMB, 35), and on this p r inc ip le he based a unique version of the "non - f i n i to " in a r t . He also planned a comic awakening for the reader, who would learn about himself in the process of responding to the mystery. The reader never f in i shes a novel of Green's--perhaps that i s the most essential impl icat ion of the " i ng " t i t l e s . One of the effects of the fragmented, decentralized symbolic elements is that they c l i ng to the mind af ter reading, sh i f t i ng into kaleidoscopic patterns and orders; and, as with a kaleidoscope, any attempt to " resolve" the experience into a s ingle pattern i s as f u t i l e as giving a sole interpretat ion of a Robbe-G r i l l e t novel or f i l m . In Loving, for example, the " s i gn i f i c an t objects" to which i t i s possible to attach symbolic meaning ( r ing , dead peacock, dovecote, trapped mouse), and the patchwork q u i l t of motifs (peacocks and eyes, statues, gold,thieves, mice, f i s h i n g , medicinal doses), form and reform af ter the event, f i r s t f a i r y t a l e side up, and then grubby l i f e -s ide, l i k e the sudden rainstorms and sunny skies which alternate in the book. I t i s thus that Raunce and Edie l i v e "happily ever a f t e r . " Green's reader also re l i ves the novels, and reworks them, in an attempt to penetrate the mysteries. There are expressive s i lences in the books which are de l iberate ly created for our part in the conversation. As V. S. P r i t chet t has sa id , Green was a 1istener, and our response to the questions he poses and the blanks he leaves, is planned for and eagerly awaited. For example, the unresolved mysteries of Concluding, set in an atmosphere of comedy mingled with an unfathomable horror, are l e f t to the reader 's imagination. In his preface to The Turn of 95 the Screw, Henry James outl ines a s imi la r plan for e l i c i t i n g a response from the reader. By leaving the terrors in th i s story unspecif ied, while evoking an atmosphere of e v i l , he hoped that his reader 's "own experience, his own imagination, his own sympathy [with the chi ldren] and horror [of the i r f a l se f r iends] w i l l supply him quite s u f f i c i e n t l y with a l l the p a r t i c u l a r s . " 7 The reader 's imagination and inventiveness are cont inual ly ca l l ed forth by the unanswered questions, the t iny doubts, ambiguities and dead ends of Green's novels. The effectiveness of the aura of uncertainty cast over the stor ies by the means discussed in the la s t chapter is i l l u s -trated by the fact that many a doubtful reader has retraced his steps, thinking he has missed the v i t a l piece of information. It i s a f ter the novel i s read that the unresolved questions speak loudest of a l l ; the prominence of the word "haunting" in reviews of Green's work is s i g n i f i -cant. Wandering back over the s to r i e s , one i s met by enigmas large and small which one puzzles over, l i k e r i dd le s , try ing to discover a hidden re lat ionsh ip . Roger Abrahams, in a recent discussion of the game between the r i dd l e r and his audience, states that par t i c ipat ion is greater the longer the f i n a l recognition i s prolonged. Hence, by prolonging th i s recognition i n d e f i n i t e l y , Green keeps a creative response to the r idd le 9 perpetually a l i v e . In some novels, the enigma is so large that most of the nagging smaller questions are shrouded in central mystery. Did Pye r ea l l y commit incest? What are Raunce's true motives for deciding to return to England at the end of Loving? The question of P h i l i p ' s legitimacy i s v i t a l l y 96 important to a l l the characters in Nothing, but i t i s never resolved. Can Jane answer i t , or does she simply accept the del icacy of the s i t ua -t ion for her own ends? Is Miss Fellowes of Party Going gravely i l l , or drunk? And, of course, where i s Mary in Concluding? The smaller questions haunt us, too. How did Amabel (and her maid, for that matter) get past the "impenetrable entrance" of the hotel? Was Mrs. Grant 's amnesia in the e a r l i e r chapters of Back feigned? And what is behind her v io lent hatred of Mrs. Frazier? Does James r ea l l y see "the t e r r i b l e l ikeness" between Nancy and Rose, and i s he pretending not to? Is Charley 's notion of Nancy as "a t a r t " part of his obsession, or do Middlewitch's suggestive remarks reveal otherwise? And in Con- c luding, who wrote the anonymous l e t te r ? Do the g i r l s s l i p out at night to meet Adams? What s ta r t led Ted into f l i g h t ? As we can see, even by th i s pa r t i a l l i s t of the s i l e n t places in the conversation which Green expects us to f i l l , most of the questions suggest not one, but many answers. One of the funniest jokes in Conclud- ing is Edge's indignant response upon returning from London, confident that " that l i t t l e mystery" would " c lea r i t s e l f up by luncheon," only to f ind yet more complications: "Marchbanks, there are no two ways about th i s incredib le a f f a i r - - i s she hurt or i s ' n t she?" (p. 77). The uncon-scious irony of Edge's remark is that there are no two ways, but a mu l t i -p l i c i t y of p o s s i b i l i t i e s , despite the i n s t i t u t i ona l attempt to place Marchbanks in the equivocal pos it ion of taking an "e i the r -o r " stand--an attempt which, predictably, Marchbanks manages to evade. The moment the reader enters into the novel to create one response, he sees another and 97 another—al l supported and suggested by implications within the story. For example, the reader who considers Raunce's motives for returning to England in the l i g h t of his g u i l t about not "doing his duty" in the war ( l i k e A lbe r t ) , must also see his concern for his mother; and i f Raunce is concerned for his mother, why not for Edie, and her vu lne rab i l i t y because of the r ing a f f a i r ? And i f he i s gu i l t y about his passive role in the war, why is he not ashamed at his f i dd l i n g with the monthly books? Perhaps the pickings were not good enough af ter a l l ? A l l , or one, or some other of these a l ternat ives are poss ible, and by leaving the s i t ua -t ion open, Green denies the stock response. Thus the reader i s teased, by intr igue and cu r i o s i t y , to p a r t i c i -pate, and, once engaged, is persuaded to open his mind to the bewildering va r ie t ie s of existence. His response creates some of the complexity of the novel: The reader of a novel somehow or other must be encouraged by the wr i ter to extend his imagination over the whole of a l l the questions that have been asked in l i f e and can never be answered . . . . (ENF, 25) "We shal l never know the t r u t h , " says Mr. Rock at the end of Concluding. Although there j_s no answer and a l l meanings are tentat ive, as Green says, the reader, i f he w i l l "extend his imagination" can, by apprehen-ding some of the unasked, as well as unanswered, questions, create his own image of the mysteriously var iable t ruth. Faulkner 's remarks i l l u s -trate the same idea of a romantic co l lus ion between reader and wr i te r : I think that no one indiv idual can look at t ruth. I t blinds you. You look at i t and you see one phase of i t . Someone else looks at 98 i t and sees a s l i g h t l y awry phase of i t . But taken a l l together, the truth is in what they saw though nobody saw the truth in fact . . . But the t ru th , I would l i k e to think, comes out, so that when the reader has read a l l these th i rteen d i f fe rent ways of looking at the b lackbi rd, the reader has his own fourteenth image of that black-bird which I would l i k e to think i s the t r u t h . * 0 Green's most e f fect i ve technique for achieving open-endedness i s the ambiguous conclusion. Especia l ly in Loving, Back, Concluding, and Doting, readers have found that in appearing to conclude (the f i n a l scene c i r c l i n g back to the opening), the form of the novel has merely emphasized i t s ambiguity. The reader has the sense of a formal ending, while the chief problems remain unresolved and open-ended in his mind J 1 Thus Raunce's response to the bea t i f i c v i s ion of Edie, his soft moan at the end of Loving, reca l l s the old butler Eldon's dying cry in the f i r s t scene. But have we come f u l l c i r c l e to a renewal of the l i f e force of lov ing, or i s the l i v i n g butler now dis integrat ing before our eyes, l i k e a mouse which has lo s t i t s legs in the trap of loving? Green's character i s t i c conclusion, of paradox and con f l i c t i n g forces, is a common element from his e a r l i e s t novel r i ght through to Doting (with the possible exception of Caught), and the various readings of these endings f u l f i l Green's hope that the novel w i l l be " a l l things to a l l men" (ENF, 21). Even at the end of his f i r s t novel, Blindness, one can interpret John Haye's " v i s i on " as ha l luc inat ion , and conclude, l i k e Robert Ryf, that his subsequent happiness i s "putting up a good 12 f r on t . " Ambiguity and a strong sense of mystery i s evident in the short pieces Green wrote as w e l l . "A Rescue," for instance, simply ends: "The injured man was taken away in an ambulance. We have not heard 99 13 anything of him. He may have d ied. " S im i l a r l y , Mr. Jonas, in another story, rescued from a nightmarish scene of smoke, steam and burning gas mains, climbs s i l e n t l y through the debris and vanishes, "unassisted once he had been released, out of unreal i ty into something temporarily worse, apparently unhurt, but now in a l l probab i l i ty suffer ing from shock, had 14 r i sen , to l i v e again whoever he might be, th i s Mr. Jonas. As Green hoped, the reader f i l l s the s i l e n t places created by the unresolved questions and ambiguous endings, and as he does so, from the depths of his experience and emotions, he reveals (and learns about) himself. Thus, through the comic s p i r i t , he enters into the communion Green envisaged in "A F i r e , a Flood and the Price of Meat" by becoming 15 "acutely aware of himself or herse l f , and of his or her audience." Although Henry James was not concerned with a comic awareness, we have seen in his preface to The Turn of the Screw that he depended on the reader 's f i l l i n g in the horrors from his own experience, and that th i s i s a se l f - reve latory process i s indicated in the widely divergent and personal readings of the story. Leon Edel t e s t i f i e s to th i s when he states that "each reader feels the story d i f f e ren t l y and f i l l s in the Jamesian blanks in accordance with these f e e l i n g s . " 1 7 Not wr i t ing comedy, however, James was not concerned with his reader 's se l f -d i scovery, except inasmuch as the author i s amused by "the ar t less resentful reaction of 18 the entertained person who has abounded in the sense of the s i t ua t i on . " He has his eye on the story rather than on i t s reader. Sterne, on the other hand, kept his eye on the reader a l l the whi le, and was dedicated to evoking and revealing our hidden motives and 100 prejudices. Using the innocuous remarks of his dramatized readers, Tristram places us in one equivocal pos it ion after another—and whichever way we respond reveals us to ourselves. As John Traugott has discovered, the rhetor ica l aim of Tristram Shandy is " to discover motives for reac-19 t ions , by st imulating react ions. " In place of using dramatized readers, Green intr igues us with the self-conscious posing of questions (there i s nothing subtle about Ridley, the r idd le of Back) and ambiguity at the end, where we expect reso lut ion. As we hasten to f i l l the s i lence l e f t by the f i n a l scene of Back, for instance, with i t s c on f l i c t i n g impl ica-tions of renewal and regression, we fee l Green's eyes watching our reac-t ions. As Robert Ryf puts i t , "there are at least two interpretat ions poss ible, and we begin to suspect, in contemplating these a l ternat ive readings, that we tend to choose the one or the other according to our 20 own l i g h t s , that in the rose glow i t i s ourselves that we behold." Hence one reader, Stephen Shapiro, f inds that Charley has regressed in the c l imact ic scene: '"he i s retreat ing into the past, try ing to reclaim 21 a passive r o l e . " Another, Stokes, describes a romantic apotheosis, a fu l f i lment through the merging of the real and the ideal (p. 169). Ryf (p. 32) himself i s unable to choose e i ther meaning, but decides that both are inseparably mingled. Each interpretat ion reveals something about the reader: Shapiro's determination to f i t everything into a Freudian scheme (Charley i s "crying out for his mother"); Stokes's accep-t ing the re l ig ious and mythic symbolism, and evading the suggestions of i n f a n t i l e regression; and Ryf ' s compromising. S im i l a r l y , as we t ry to penetrate the secrets known only ( i f at 101 a l l ) by the mockingly omniscient narrator of Concluding, we f ind nothing but our own r e f l e c t i o n . Contemplating the central mystery of what has happened to Mary, the incurable romantic w i l l decide from the motifs of f l i g h t and migration that the g i r l has escaped, perhaps "home" to B raz i l and her parents, while those who want a body in the lake w i l l concentrate on the under-water images. Or there are some who, l i k e the nervous sp in-s ters , w i l l see a man in the woods. Hence Green stimulates reactions through the power of mystery, and uses our own voices to reveal ourselves. One i s reminded of Sterne's remarks to Dr. Eustace: . . . everyone w i l l take the handle which su i ts his convenience. In Tristram Shandy, the handle is taken which suits the i r [the readers ' ] passions, the i r ignorance, or s e n s i b i l i t y . . . a true fee le r always brings half the entertainment along with him. His own ideas are only c a l l ' d forth by what he reads, and the vibrat ions w i th in , so en t i re l y correspond with those exc i ted, ' t i s l i k e reading himself and not the book.22 Inherent in the reader 's attempts to fathom the mysteries i s his desire for conclusions. In having his reader experience the var iety of interpretat ions that would f i t his blank spaces, Green wanted that reader to see, as comic, his own attempts to impose a rat ional order on the mystifying contingency of l i f e . Like Tristram, Green has i t both way s -while urging the reader to t ry to sort things out and solve the r i dd l e , he shows him at the same time that " l i f e , a f ter a l l , i s one discrepancy 23 af ter another." Like his misguided characters who t ry to sort events into some sort of system (Miss Edge or Charley Summers), we perform be-fore the audience of other characters, comic in our need for order. Hence Green denies our expectations of the t rad i t i ona l plot 102 24 structure which the shape of his novels appears to promise. The ques-tions Green del ights in ra i s ing only to leave (when conventional p lot structure would demand answers for them) force us to recognize our own expectations. But Green's stor ies do not collapse through such omissions, as they would i f p lot provided the structure; instead, the gaps them-selves portray the i l l o g i c of l i f e , while affording imaginative recog-n i t i on of the pattern of cause and ef fect that one attempts to impose upon l i f e . The l i f e the reader i s engaged i n , inside the novel, i s a process i n f i n i t e l y var iable and f u l l of discrepancies. In wanting answers and conclusions, we are in danger "of reading stra ight forwards, more in quest of the adventures," l i k e the readers Tristram berates, while missing "the subtle hints and s ly communications" which t e l l the real story (TS, I, xx, 57). By refusing to meet narrative expectations, Green draws the reader into his mockery of pattern, through comic recog-n i t i on : one should not take the t rad i t i ona l patterning of the novel any 25 more ser iously than one takes the t rad i t i ona l patterning of l i f e . Green's a r t , l i k e Robbe-Gri1 l e t ' s , i s the ant i thes i s of the modern apologue as wr itten by, say, Will iam Golding. Not only, that i s , does i t refuse to move the reader to some rea l i z a t i on about the world external to the l i t e r a r y creation i t s e l f , but his "dead ends" parody the tendency within the work to discover a purpose or hidden design. One of the most revealing comments Green made on Doughty concerns th i s "end" which novels t r a d i t i o n a l l y employ: "One of the merits of his book i s that 26 he f inds almost nothing, cer ta in l y nothing of any value . . . ." Hence Green delights in turning upside down the conventional " reve la t ion " that 103 makes order out of disorder and explains the action to the reader. In Nothing, for example, he parodies a stock comic device, the discovery of b i r th which makes possible an otherwise impossible marriage. Instead of the c l a s s i c ending of The Importance of Being Ernest, we have a comic reversa l—the wrong marriage made possible because of the ambiguity sur-rounding the "discovery." In The Modern Century, Northrop Frye describes Green and other writers who explode the " reve la t ion " when he says that in the l a s t two decades, the emphasis in modern ar t has been one of attack on those tendencies within the arts themselves that seem to lead us passively on from one thing to another. A detective story i s a good example of th i s donkey's-carrot wr i t i ng : we begin i t to f ind out what we are to ld on the l a s t page. Writing with th i s structure is t e l eo l og i ca l : i t contains a hidden purpose, and we read on to d i s -cover what that purpose i s . (p. 71) Robbe-Gr i l let ' s novel, The Erasers, i s typ ica l of the sort of attack which Frye describes. The dramatic framework—a prologue and an epilogue to f i ve chapters of detective story—prompts the reader to expect a f i n a l cu r ta in , a reso lut ion. Instead, as the novel c i r c l e s back to the opening scene, with the manager, the bar, and the desultory wipe of the rag, more questions are raised than resolved. Is Wallas agent or assas-sin? The contrivances of the detective novel are parodied by reducing everything, from the murder i t s e l f to the " facts of the case," to the level of p o s s i b i l i t i e s . Since a l l meanings must be tentat ive, the emphasis f a l l s on the creative process of the writer/dramatist ("an auto-27 maton's arm puts the sett ing back in p lace " ) , rather than on a hidden design. 104 Green has also mocked the popular form derided by Frye as "donkey's-carrot w r i t i n g , " but in a manner more calculated to reveal the reader 's expectations to himself, because i t i s comic. His seventh novel, Concluding, i s an unabashed parody of the t rad i t i ona l detective story. The chief appeal of th i s sub-genre, the puzzle, i s presented early in the story as a problem to be solved by the detective/reader and the char-acters. Where i s Mary? But instead of a map or a chart to decipher, we have a ludicrous poison-pen l e t t e r , and an abundance of equally absurd " c lues . " The ubiquitous English country house i s a favourite sett ing for the study of soc ia l manners in the "haut monde"--but in Concluding, the "haut monde" has departed. The t yp i c a l l y hermetic atmosphere i s undercut by the "o ld tumble down Park wal l s " and the g i r l who has (perhaps) escaped. Green also presents a sergeant-detective who begins his job by mistaking a female goose for a gander; a "body" comically reduced to a do l l with "blood red" features and deathly slack limbs; and a "scene of the crime," the lake, to which the sergeant returns before the v ict im has even been o f f i c i a l l y reported missing, much less found, and at which (perhaps) no crime has happened. There i s , as w e l l , the conventional romantic sub-plot, but Sebastian is f a t , very short, squeals l i k e a pig when exc i ted, and is s ix years younger than L i z , who, while recovering from a nervous breakdown, juxtaposes a court ly mien po much l i k e Edge's with the boldest of sexual t a c t i c s . F i n a l l y , the timeless appeal of the detective novel, the b u i l t - i n guarantee that every-thing w i l l turn out for the best and the complications be removed, i s mocked by Miss Edge's constant, empty assurances that l a te r in the day, or tomorrow, a l l w i l l be resolved. 105 The primary interest of the detective novel l i e s in "the method-i c a l discovery, by rat ional means, of the exact circumstances of a mys-29 terious event or series of events." In Concluding, Green suggests, on one l e v e l , that the " rat iona l means" by which, in l i f e , we "conclude" are hopelessly confused by our own subject i v i t y ("dazzled," as Mr. Rock would say, by our pos i t ion) . Mr. Rock's conclusion that i t i s Sebastian B i r t the g i r l s go out to meet at night re f l ec t s his own concern about the re lat ionsh ip B i r t has with his granddaughter. Maggie B l a i n , for whom l i f e i s made up of de l i c i ou s l y inescapable births and deaths, concludes that Mary has rushed home because of a death in the family. The scene in which Edge i l luminates, step by step, for a Watsonlike Miss Baker, the process by which she arr ives at her masterful ly absurd deduction that Merode was only sleepwalking, i s a triumphant parody of "the methodical 30 discovery, by rat ional means" which pervades the novel. Like The Erasers, Concluding suggests a resolut ion through i t s aesthetic ordering: the three-fo ld beginning, middle and end, or exposi-t i o n , development, and reso lut ion. Impatient for conclusions, the reader proceeds t e l eo l og i ca l l y and deductively. "Clues" are planted to urge him on: the d o l l , the mysterious "w i re , " the anonymous l e t t e r , the c a l l s along the park r ide . But the rules of the detection game, which claim that a l l relevant facts are to be revealed to the reader, with "misdirec-31 t ion allowed but f a i r play . . . observed" are cheerfu l ly abandoned. "Red herrings" (a favour ite expression of many Green characters through-out the novels) are never i d e n t i f i e d , and the "c lues " p ro l i f e ra te un t i l they take on, as in l i f e , a bewildering and inscrutable contingency. 106 Unlike the maps and charts of detective f i c t i o n , the anonymous message, "Who i s there furnicates and his goose?" refuses to y i e l d decorously to " rat iona l means" and remains absurdly indecipherable. George Gre l la writes that the detective novel, f i rmly in the English t r ad i t i on of empirical thought, "always provides a plaus ible and rat ional explanation of even the most perplexing chain of events" (p. 44). In Concluding, "concluding" by rat ional means i s thwarted by missing f ac t s , d istorted information and lack of sequence. Because the reader i s thwarted, he is teased into recognizing his own impatience for conclusions. To this end, Green parodies the three novel endings which have conventionally resolved the reader 's anx iet ies . In the l a s t sect ion, wedding be l l s sound mockingly, as L i z and Sebastian move uneasily through a parody of nuptial arrangements. Death, the second conventional ending, i s held at bay as Mr. Rock re t i re s behind his f o r t i f i c a t i o n s , Ted's "outpost, or guard house," and his ring of animals. The th i rd possible ending, suggested by Northrop Frye and 32 Alan Friedman, i s that of self-knowledge, as the protagonist moves from innocence to experience (as in Caught, for example). This conven-t ion i s mocked in Concluding, as Mr. Rock receives a comic education at the hands of the adolescent g i r l s in the i r Club 's " i n i t i a t i o n . " More-over, Green never allows us to forget our expectations with respect to the central mystery. Baker's comic response to the three uninvited guests i s a mock-dramatic climax: Steps made themselves heard w i th in , at the advance. And, with a fear fu l creak, the great door was opened. Miss Baker stood 107 s i lhouetted. It was El izabeth she saw f i r s t , and she mistook the g i r l . "Mary," she c r i ed , in a small voice, (p. 190) Hence we are reminded, in a joke which includes ourselves, of the reso-lu t ion ca l led for by the t r ad i t i ona l p lo t - s t ructure , and our expectations are aroused, parodied, and f rus t rated. A l l our attempts to being an order to experience, or to f i nd a cause for events, are comic, says Green. Robbe-Gri l let re i terates th i s point in his Introduction to Last Year at Marienbad: Two att itudes are then possible: Either the spectator w i l l t ry to reconst itute some "Cartes ian" scheme—the most l i nea r , the most rat ional he can devise—and this spectator w i l l ce r ta in l y f ind the f i l m d i f f i c u l t , i f not incomprehensible; or else the spectator w i l l l e t himself be carr ied along by the extraordinary images in f ront of him, by the actors ' voices, by the sound track, by the music, by the rhythm of the cut t ing , by the passion of the characters . . . and to th i s spectator the f i lm w i l l seem the "eas iest " he has ever seen.33 Green, l i k e Sterne, is dedicated to making the reader aware of his pro-c l i v i t y fo r the "Cartesian" scheme. Sterne does th i s by c a l l i n g atten-t ion to Tristram's departures from stra ight l i ne s , and Green, by t r i c k i ng the reader into try ing to make sense out of the mysterious, and then exposing the r i g i d i t y of his expectations. Green's message i s s e r i o u s -discurs ive thought cannot penetrate r e a l i t y , and one must ass imi late contradictions in l i f e . Like Sterne, and unlike most of Robbe-Gri l let, Green communicates th i s message comical ly, in a j e s t on ourselves, which we share with the author. Just as humour in the dialogues between Green's characters communicates the fate of discurs ive reasoning, a good joke (the r idd le which i s never explained, or the mystery which i s never 108 solved) communicates the same truth in the conversation between reader and wr i te r . One finds in Green's work another of Sterne's techniques for drawing the reader into the conversation. Tristram cons istent ly r e l i e s on the reader 's eagerness to make associations in the imagination, asso-c iat ions which have been ca re fu l l y planted, even provoked. His mocking advice —Now don 't l e t Satan, my dear g i r l , in th i s chapter, take advan-tage of any one spot of rising-ground to get astr ide of your imagi-nation, i f you can any ways help i t . . . --takes the reader to task for the connection of "nose" with "penis" which Tristram himself promotes " i n th i s chapter" and in the next f i f t y pages (TS_, I I I , xxxv i , 226). S im i l a r l y , in Back, Green plants "rose af ter rose after rose" in the reader 's imagination, through s l y referen-ces (to f lowers, blossomings, wreaths, thorns) and word play ( r i s i n g -rose). Every t r i c k possible is t r i ed to make us share Charley 's assoc i -at ion of a l l the mundane a f f a i r s of l i f e with his los t g i r l , Rose; and the method i s successful to the point of making us j o i n the search, while recognizing a l l the time (thanks to i ron ic distancing) the "obscure 34 fa i ry land of neurotic l i f e " which we have entered. A f ine example of Green's play with the reader in th i s respect occurs in the scene of Charley 's f i r s t v i s i t to Nancy. Outside her f l a t , the image of the dead Rose i s de l iberate ly revived for Charley and, more important, for the reader: "He read her name, Miss Nancy Whitmore, in Gothic l e t te r i ng as cut on tombstones . . . The wall paper he stared at 109 round the door, was of wreathed roses on a white ground" (p. 46). "What reader," says Stephen Shapiro, "confronted by 'Rose in person 1 does not gasp, 'Rose, back from the dead?!' The reader 's awareness fuses with 35 Charley 's at th i s moment of reve la t ion . " Thus Green lures us into making the same mistake as the unfortunate Charley--as V. S. P r i t chet t states, "we are duped" (p. 29). At the same time, he prepares a comic lesson for us by sh i f t i ng the perspective l a te r in the chapter so that we perceive our error , because Charley continues to be b l ind to h i s . Green makes equally e f fec t i ve use of the reader 's capacity for associat ive thinking in the novel which follows Back, Concluding. This capacity is drawn upon to endorse the suggestion made by motifs (as well as by certa in of the characters) that Mary i s l y i ng , drowned, in the lake. For example, as Merode stretches out in her bath, she feels "as though she were bathing by f l ood l i gh t in the night steaming lake, beech shadowed, myst ica l ly warmed" (p. 63). The analogy of bath with lake and the subtly s i n i s t e r undertones of the descr ipt ion of the body ( " l i ke the roots of a gross water l i l y " and "chalk white") unite in the reader 's imagination with the inev i table association of the found g i r l with the lo s t one. At the same time, the reader 's growing certa inty i s undercut by the lack of evidence and the del iberate inconsistencies of the text. S t i l l another technique Green uses to urge the reader to f i l l the s i l e n t places in the novel might have been learned from Tristram  Shandy. The Widow Wadman, we remember, was l e f t en t i r e l y to the imagin-ation of the reader, who was asked to f i l l in a blank page from his own private fantas ies: 110 To conceive th i s r i g h t , - - c a l l for pen and ink—here ' s paper ready to your hand.--Sit down, S i r , paint her to your own mind—as l i k e your mistress as you can—as unl ike your wife as your conscience w i l l l e t y o u — ' t i s a l l one to me—please but your own fancy in i t . (TS, VI, x x x v i i i , 470) Green echoes Tr istram's concentration on the indiv idual reader 's fancy when he talks about the merits of his technique of "non-descr ipt ion": And yet . . . to s ta r t on a coloured descr ipt ion so often leads to an attempt to write down the shape of a nose, or those wonderful rosy l i p s , which, while almost impossible of accomplishment in any case, only leads back once more to the var iat ions in indiv idual reader 's tastes. For how can one, as a nove l i s t , cater for those estimable men who only admire g i r l s with black hair and pale blue eyes? The answer i s , of course, by not describing them. (ANR I I, 425) Hence the s i lence of the blank page is extended over an ent i re novel. Some of the por t ra i t s in Green's novels are begun with one sug-gestive brush-stroke: Annabel Paynton's f a t legs, Richard Roe's red ha i r , Jane Weatherby's huge eyes, Charley Summers' great brown eyes, L i l y Gates's plumpness. In the case of others, l i k e Diana Middleton or John Pomfret, the page i s l e f t complegely blank. The reader i s cha l -lenged to t ry his hand at pa int ing—to enter into an ac t i ve , creative col laborat ion with the wr i te r . In gauging the degree to which this challenge i s met, one notes with interest that the c r i t i c s , Stokes and Russe l l , disappointed in the poverty of r i ch and suggestive descr ipt ion, tend to see the characters of Nothing and Doting as "b lu r s . " Generally speaking, however, the reviewers, who come to the dialogue novels free from intimacy with Green's previous work which might prejudice the i r expectations, respond more imaginatively. Brendan G i l l , for instance, I l l paints a convincing po r t ra i t of Jane Weatherby, "a warm, formidable woman," with "maneating charm." Another reviewer f inds that, behind the masks of surface chatter, "they [the characters] betray themselves 37 in speech and gesture." That most of the reader 's imaginative creation happens a f ter he has f in i shed the novel i s suggested by Sartre in The Psychology of Imagi- nation. He believes that our mental p ictur ing of scenes and characters seldom occurs while we are actua l ly in the process of reading, but that i t comes when we have put the book down and our thoughts wander over the 38 material in retrospect. Green indicates a f a m i l i a r i t y with th i s con-cept when he saves Richard Roe's sole physical cha rac te r i s t i c , his red ha i r , for the l a s t page of Caught. For Green's readers, Sartre ' s obser-vation has a special s ign i f icance because of the many unanswered ques-tions we ponder at the end. The extent of Diana Middleton's ar t fu lness , for example (did Paula Paynton r ea l l y pay her a v i s i t about Annabel? i f so, did Diana send for her?) w i l l colour our mental po r t r a i t . I suspect that for those of Green's readers who meet the challenge, the characters become " t he i r s " in a sense completely unrealized by a l ternat ive techniques of character izat ion. At any rate, Green's method i s one answer to the w r i t e r ' s struggle to communicate with the reader through the hieroglyphs of the printed page. As Flaubert sa id , "as soon as the type i s f ixed by the pencil i t loses that character of general i ty, that agreement with a 39 thousand known objects, which makes the reader say, 'I have seen i t . ' " Only in Loving are the protagonists, Raunce and Edie, described with any fu l l ne s s , and this i s because the inner l i f e of these characters 112 i s conveyed ent i re l y through f a c i a l expressions. L i f e i s revealed by the surfaces of the pictures taken by the camera-eye, and narrator/ photographer and reader are together at an enchanted distance from the thoughts and feel ings of the characters, who become, consequently, as mysterious as they r ea l l y are. Instead of imagining physical character-i s t i c s , the reader must interpret hidden motives from blushes and stares. Indeed, Loving inv i tes the same type of audience par t i c ipat ion as does a masque; i n te res t ing l y , Michel Vinaver, in his f i r s t reaction to the novel speaks of "the pleasure of putting on extraordinary masks and 40 throwing myself, so transf igured, into ludicrous s i tua t ions . " Physical qua l i t i e s are comically exaggerated; Edie 's blush, for example, reminds Raunce of giving blood transfusions, and Raunce's, in turn, becomes "an alarming purple." The reader makes meaning from the outward signs in much the same way as the viewer of the masque, who must guess at the nature of the performers behind the v i s i b l e surface. The analogy of Loving to a masque emphasizes a fundamental aspect of the re lat ionship between Green and the reader, f o r , while the masque frees the audience to project meanings and inv i tes speculative play, i t f ixes no s ingle i n t e r -pretat ion; the i n v i s i b l e is ( l i k e the viewer and the reader) dynamic rather than s t a t i c . Hence, interpretat ion i s a continuing process which, in Green's novels, carr ies on a f ter the formal work of ar t i s " f i n i s hed . " The reader is urged into taking on the w r i t e r ' s job of descr ipt ion by Green's teasing s i lence. S im i l a r l y , he i s challenged to interpret the "sub-conversation" flowing beneath Green's de l iberate ly oblique dialogue. Even before Nothing and Doting, Green re l i ed on dialogue rather than 113 i n t e r i o r monologue or authorial commentary to convey the subterranean dramas of l i f e . Bringing the reader into the present tense, the now of 41 dialogue, he brings him into an immediacy of communication which depends on the reader 's response to d i rec t speech without interference by the author. In the fol lowing scene from Loving, Green uses dialogue, interspersed with "pure," objective gesture or action which may (or may not) be a comment on what i s sa id, to persuade the reader to speak what i s l e f t unsaid, for " i n l i f e , i t i s what i s l e f t unsaid which gives us food for thought" (ANR I, 506). Early in the novel, Raunce presents himself in the morning room, and begins to b lu f f his way past Mrs. Tennant and into the bu t l e r ' s job by giving his notice. At the beginning, the outcome seems unpromising, as the lady i n s i s t s on c a l l i n g him "Arthur," her generic name for the footman of the house. The scene continues l i k e t h i s : "What Arthur?" she asked. She seemed exasperated. "Just when I'm l i k e th i s when th i s has happened to Eldon?" "The place won't be the same without him Madam." "Surely that ' s not a reason. Well never mind. I daresay not but I simply can ' t run to another bu t le r . " "No Madam." "Things are not what they used to be you know. I t ' s the war. And then there ' s taxation and everything. You must understand that . " "I 'm sure I have always t r i ed to give every sa t i s fac t ion Madam," he rep l i ed . At th i s she picked up a newspaper. She put i t down again. She got to her feet . She walked over to one of s ix t a l l french windows with gothic arches. " V i o l e t , " she sa id , "I can ' t imagine what Michael thinks he i s about with the grass court dar l ing . Even from where I am I can see plantains l i k e tops of palm t rees . " Her daughter-in-law's s i lence seemed to imply that a l l e f f o r t was to butt one's head against wire nett ing. Charley stood f i rm. Mrs. T. turned. With her back to the l i g h t he could not see her mouth and nose. "Very well then," she announced, "I suppose we sha l l have to c a l l you Raunce." (p. 10) 114 The si lences here accrue from the lack of interpret ive comment, under-l ined by the spartan stage-direct ions. The only hint of what might be going on i s at the beginning of the l a s t paragraph but one, and the narrator i s careful to say "seemed"--this may be only his opinion. Is the reader, then, freed by the w r i t e r ' s s i lence? Here i s one response to the scene: Few novel ists would have had the fo r t i tude not to spin th i s out to several times i t s actual length. We should have had Raunce's inner plannings, his s l i g h t concern l e s t he be taken at his word, his subsequent del ight with the crispness with which the whole scheme had come o f f ; from Mrs. Tennant we should have had re f lect ions on the essential nature of servants, 'oh that Raunce, I 've never r ea l l y l i ked him' and so on.42 This i s a splendid example of the potency of s i lence. When the wr i ter abstains from i n te r i o r monologue or authorial commentary, re ly ing instead on ta lk followed by gesture or act ion, the reader supplies i t himself. Raunce's bold declarat ion combined with a nervous movement towards his waistcoat button become "his s l i g h t concern l e s t he be taken at his word." Mrs. Tennant's i r r i t a b l e ta lk followed by her evasive actions are translated into a remark she might have made to hersel f . And we must remember that the above reader, Anthony Quinton, i s concerned with ind icat ing only the out l ine of the scene as he has imagined i t through the medium of the printed page. Nathalie Sarraute 's remark about 43 the "grossness" of the perceptions when one i s unaided by explanations i s surely beside the point, since comedy such as Green's demands the creation of distance between characters and readers. The communication of more subtle movements behind the speech, created by the memories and 115 associat ive images of i n t e r i o r monologue, belongs to a Mrs. Dalloway or a L i l y Briscoe, not to Green's i r o n i c a l l y comic creations. Rather than an empathy between reader and characters, the b r i l l i -antly suggestive surface of Green's prose creates an intimacy between reader and wr i te r . One of his formulas for quickening imaginative l i f e i s to combine words and act ion: "We get experience, which i s as much knowledge as we sha l l ever have, by watching the way people around us behave, after they have spoken" (ANR I, 506). In his study of Doting, D. S. Taylor elaborates the ob l iqu i ty of the formula—suggestive, but inconclusive dialogue followed by inconsequential, and equally inconclu-sive act ion, catalyzing a multitude of p o s s i b i l i t i e s for the reader, whose judgment concludes the act of communication begun in the w r i t e r ' s 44 mind. Doting i s at the farthest reach of the ongoing experiment in the abnegation of authorial control which began with the parody of the omniscient narrator in Party Going. However, as we saw in the passage from Loving, Green had developed his " c a t a l y t i c rhetor i c " long before the dialogue novels. If we apply his formula to a l l the novels rather than the l a s t two only, and i f we apply i t broadly across the ent i re book rather than one scene at a time, i t i s apparent that dramatic irony plays as important a part as inconclusiveness in forging communicative l inks between reader and wr i te r . "To create l i f e between wr i ter and reader," says Green, "humour should in future be the bridge" (ENF, 24). Elsewhere, he remarks, " . . . i f you can make the reader laugh he i s apt to get careless and go on 45 reading. So you as the wr i ter get a chance to get something into him. 116 Much of the fun for Green's readers comes from comparing the way his 46 characters behave with what they say; the discrepancies provide "a glimmering of what is going on." C l a i r e ' s protestations of independence to Evelyn, in Party Going ("Oh no, dar l ing , I can ' t leave you to do a l l my duties" [p. 240]), when contrasted with her actual behaviour, s i l e n t l y defines Evelyn's ro le as paid attendant. L i z Jennings, at the beginning of the "twenty f i r s t e r " in Nothing, i s emphatically indignant about rumours of her soc ia l dr ink ing; l a te r in the evening she i s seen empty-ing her glass with a remarkable thoroughness. S im i l a r l y , Jane's deter-mination in the f i n a l pages to send her daughter Penelope to a boarding school makes us cast an i ron i c smile backwards, at her hovering protec-tiveness ("I guard my poppet too well for that" [p. 126]) in previous scenes. Humour creates a bridge also when surface conversation masks what the characters are r ea l l y thinking. As we have seen in the l a s t chapter, Green often brings th i s to our attent ion by suggestive disrup-tions in speech (misplaced words, punctuation, d istorted c l iches) but th is subtle ind icat ion is the only commentary he makes. Discrepancies are apprehended s i l e n t l y , and with a real sense of discovery by the reader. Thus intimacy i s created between wr i ter and reader through a shared, unspoken response to the jests of the novel. Green's dialogue i s often compared to that of his contemporary, Ivy Compton-Burnett, but only because she had been wr i t ing the dialogue novel for t h i r t y years when Green pronounced that "dialogue w i l l be the mainstay of novels fo r quite a whi le" (ANR I I, 425). While they both 117 wr ite "non-representational" conversation, the difference between the two is at once apparent. The "sub-conversation" which in Green's dialogue is so ca re fu l l y hidden from everyone except the reader, who "creates" i t from the oblique surface, makes i t s way into the conversation of a Compton-Burnett novel; i t i s a r t i cu la ted on the conscious l e v e l . The polished, epigrammatic dialogue i s the shape for thoughts which are usually de l iberate ly suppressed, or hardly conscious. In th i s exchange from Manservant and Maidservant, for example, there is very l i t t l e l e f t unsaid: "Do you not expect me to have things to say on my side?" "No. I know you have nothing to say. And you also know i t . " "What do you expect from me, Mortimer?" said Horace, as though he did not hear his wife. "I expect nothing, my dear boy. I have got out of the way of looking for a word or a glance." "We w i l l put that note aside. I t comes to seem a strange one. I have to say the one thing, that I know the t ruth. And I want no word from you. I can see you have none to say." " I t does seem to f i t i n , " said Mortimer. "You w i l l not do as you have done. You w i l l not l i v e under my roof and eat my bread, and seek to undermine my l i f e . " 4 7 As i f not enough sub-conversation can be heard in dialogue l i k e t h i s , Compton-Burnett's characters frequently communicate sotto-voce the motives they are too t imid to voice. Indeed, th i s device i l luminates so many scenes that one could almost regard i t as a subst itute for i n t e r i o r mono-logue. In short, when W. Y. T indal l writes about Compton-Burnett's d i a -48 logue "performing in the service of so much beyond i t s common capacity, " he describes what i t does for her characters: i t "de-myst i f ies " them. Green, on the contrary, t r i e s to preserve some opacity in each of his 49 characters. 118 Another s t r i k i ng difference between the dialogue novels of Green and those of Compton-Burnett concerns authorial commentary. Compton-Burnett occasionally intrudes with interpret ive remarks ("'I wish i t was us who had a party , 1 said T i l l y , who was an almost s t a r t l i n g example of 50 f a i l u r e to r i se above a lack of advantages"), and background informa-t ion on her characters and the i r s i tuat ions . By the time he wrote Nothing and Doting, Green had rejected the authorial voice altogether. In the e f f o r t to give the reader 's interpret ive powers f u l l and uninter-rupted play, he discarded the ornately descr ipt ive passages which had been a f ami l i a r part of his unique speaking voice, but which, by 1950, he considered in t rus i ve . With his techniques of confusion and d i so r ienta -t i o n , his scenic juxtapos it ionings, and his parodies of "know-al l " narrators, i t i s evident that Green had been moving towards the f i n a l e l iminat ion of a narrative center s ince, perhaps, L iv ing. The notion, which I believe Stokes or ig inated, that Green f i t the theory to his decl in ing powers i s d iscredited by a chapter of his unfinished book, published in the London Magazine in 1960, under the t i t l e , "Before the Great F i r e . " In th i s fragment, he returns to the l y r i c a l , s t y l i z ed de-s c r i p t i ve passages of Concluding or Back. In giving up the voice of a "know-al l " nove l i s t , Green r e l i e s on an i n f i n i t e l y more subtle authorial commentary by the arrangement of scenes and images in the reader 's mind. In "A Novelist to his Readers, II," he says, In other words, ju s t as the composition of a painting gives i t mean-ing, so the way in which the wr i ter places his characters in the sh i f t i ng scenes of his book w i l l give the work s ign i f icance . . . i f 119 the arrangement of words and the ' p l ac ing ' of his characters are the only means whereby he can do t h i s , then the superimposing of one scene on another, or the telescoping of two scenes into one, are methods which the novel i s t i s bound to adopt . . . . (p. 425) As the stor ies unfold through the symbolic techniques of placement, jux ta -posit ion (which includes equations of imagery), montage, l e i t m o t i f , and Green's self-conscious use of " s i gn i f i c an t objects" and "poetry of i n c i -dent," the reader i s urged to fuse the narrative himself. By "a conscious act of the imagination," he recreates the theme that has determined the w r i t e r ' s se lect ion and arrangement. What Eisenstein claims for montage 51 in the f i l m i s appl icable to montage in the novel: The strength of montage resides in t h i s , that i t includes in the creative process the emotions and mind of the spectator. The spec-tator i s compelled to proceed along that selfsame creat ive road that the author t rave l led in creating the image. The spectator not only sees the represented elements of the f in i shed work, but also exper i -ences the dynamic process of the emergence and assembly of the image ju s t as i t was experienced by the author . . . The strength of the method resides also in the circumstance that the spectator i s drawn into a creat ive act in which his i nd i v i dua l i t y i s not subordinated to the author 's i n d i v i dua l i t y , but i s opened up throughout the pro-cess of fusion with the author 's i n tent ion, ju s t as the i nd i v i dua l i t y of a great actor i s fused with the i nd i v i dua l i t y of a great play-wright in the creation of a c l a s s i c scenic image. In f a c t , every spectator, in correspondence with his i nd i v i dua l i t y , and in his own way and out of his own experience—out of the womb of his fantasy, out of the warp and weft of his associat ions, a l l conditioned by the premises of his character, habits and socia l appurtenances, creates an image in accordance with the representational guidance suggested by the author, leading him to understanding and experience of the author 's theme.52 Eisenstein reveals each creative spectator as an actor whose " i nd i v i du -a l i t y i s not subordinated to the author 's i n d i v i d u a l i t y . " Green, too, thought of his readers as actors whose i nd i v i dua l i t y , because "we are dealing here with narrative which i s not on the stage," would not be 120 "subject to the disadvantage of the actor ' s or the producer's interpre-ta t i on " (ANR II, 426). Thus, the modern symbolist, such as V i r g i n i a Woolf or Henry Green, employs a narrative l i ne in order to engage the reader in a demanding " a c t o r ' s " ro le . Woolf describes th i s exp lo i tat ion of a f ami l i a r conven-t i on : "The wr i ter must get into touch with his reader by putting before him something which he recognizes, which therefore stimulates his imagi-nation, and makes him w i l l i n g to co-operate in the far more d i f f i c u l t 53 business of intimacy." Hence, C la r i s sa ' s motif in Mrs. Dalloway, "Remember my party!" i s meant for the reader as well as for the other characters; the story l i ne draws him forwards l i k e the puzzle in Conclud- ing while the symbolic elements engage him in the " r e a l " story. As we have seen, once Green manages to get himself " introduced" to the reader by way of what seems to be a perfect ly conventional p lot structure, he de l iberate ly thwarts his expectations, forcing him to look elsewhere in search of s ign i f icance. This one-by-one synthesis in the reader 's imagination, without benefit of interpret ive comment, demands a great deal from the nove l i s t ' s partner in the "conspiracy of ins inuat ions. " As one c r i t i c has observed of Mrs. Da11oway, "The establishment of an authorial point of view by means of the l i n g u i s t i c surface places a burden of recognition upon the reader; he must note the reappearance of words and patterns previously 54 encountered or deprive himself of authorial commentary." Green places an even heavier "burden of recognit ion" upon his reader than Woolf does. F i r s t , his judgment never escapes beyond the network of symbolic elements 121 in the story; nowhere in his novels can we hear the omniscient voice, undisguised, offer ing a moral evaluation as in the passage on "Proportion" 55 and "Conversion" in Mrs. Dalloway. Secondly, Green's handling of " s i gn i f i c an t objects" tends to put the reader on his guard in the matter of attaching symbolic meaning. Once upon a time, in the days of the V ictor ian "my reader and I" re la t ionsh ip , the novel i s t communicated exact meaning through his symbol-ism. Dickens, for example, used i t as rhetor ic to persuade, rather than to suggest. His message had to be f u l l y understood before i t could be f e l t . Thus, the confusion and horror of Krook's shop--dark, c lu t te red, f i l t h y and d i s i n t eg r a t i n g - - ^ ! the corruption represented by the law of an inhuman society: " I t ' s true enough," he sa id , going before us with the lantern, that they c a l l me the Lord Chancellor, and c a l l my shop Chancery. And why do you think they c a l l me the Lord Chancellor, and my shop Chancery?" 5 6 And Krook, of course, proceeds to t e l l Richard, and us, exactly why. The master fu l ly - to ld story of Bleak House demands a par t i c ipat ion in f ee l i n g , rather than in the creat ive construction of the ta le i t s e l f . The l a t t e r sort of co l laborat ion, such as one might f ind in an a r t i s t i c conversation, is sought by modern symbolists. There is a d i f ference, however, between Green and his contem-poraries which centers on how the reader i s made to feel about the status of symbols. Nowhere in his novels i s there a symbol so comfortably meaningful as Woolf's l ighthouse; not only does the l a t t e r declare i t s ro le in the t i t l e , l i k e James's golden bowl, but we are taught the clues to i t s s ign i f icance in the narrat ive: 122 James looked at the Lighthouse. He could see the white-washed rocks; the tower, stark and s t ra ight ; he could see that i t was barred with black and white; he could see windows in i t ; he could even see washing spread on the rocks to dry. So that was the Lighthouse, was i t ? No, the other was also the Lighthouse. For nothing was simply one thing.57 The sense of security we experience from th is central focus of meaning which explains images and suggestions elsewhere in the story, although the reader must make the connections and confer the penultimate s i g n i f i -cance, i s notable by i t s absence from Green's work. There i s an element of parody in his symbolism which leads one to suspect that Green may be, in part, laughing at the symbol-hunting which Ursula Brumm ca l l s "a highly popular sport these days, l i k e pick-58 ing out ra i s ins from a bun." Certainly some of the objects ( "this so-59 ca l led symbolism, the love for a s i gn i f i can t object") in which his characters have invested special meaning, draw attention to themselves by the i r apparent inan i ty: a dead pigeon, a wooden egg containing toy elephants, and a toy gun (Party Going); a strangled peacock and a mouse caught by the legs (Loving); and a rag do l l (Concluding). The del iberate 60 undercutting which one c r i t i c has ca l led Green's "comic symbolism" extends to the process of conferring s ign i f icance- -a process which i s demonstrated, at least in Party Going, to be i l l o g i c a l and ch i l d i s h . Miss Fellowes picks up a pigeon which has, inexp l i cab ly , f a l l e n dead at her feet . She washes i t , wraps i t in brown paper, and carr ies i t with her l i k e a talisman throughout the novel. I t becomes apparent that magic powers connect the pigeon with her i l l ne s s f o r , having arranged for i t s disposal in a waste basket, she immediately fee ls better: "He 123 took i t and went o f f . She f e l t better at once, i t began to go off and r e l i e f came over her in a glow flowing out of her weakness"(p. 12). Miss Fe l l owes is unable to leave i t , however (again, the sense of a spel l or charm i s strong), and her attachment of meaning to the bird i s rendered in a de l iberate ly ludicrous and ch i ld i sh manner: And there was that poor b i rd . One has seen so many k i l l e d out shoot-ing but any dead animal shocked one in London, even b i rds , though of course they had easy l i v i n g in towns. She remembered how her father had shot his dog when she was small and how much they had c r i ed . There was that poor boy Cumberland, his uncle had been one of her dancing partners, what had he died of so young? One did not seem to expect i t when one was cooped up in London and then to f a l l l i k e that dead at her feet. (pp. 24-25) Even more comic i s the conversation between Evelyn and C l a i r e , in which the choice of the b i rd as symbol (or the symbolic process) i s r i d i cu l ed : "I think what we are both a f ra id of , " said Evelyn, " i s that parcel she had and what was inside i t . She never belonged to any soc iet ies for animals, did she? She never kept pigeons herself I mean?" . . . "You know I have absolute f a i t h in searching out whatever i t i s that i s r ea l l y worrying one underneath what seems on the surface to be the matter with anything i f you understand me, C l a i r e , my dear. And I know in my case i t was her having picked that pigeon up somewhere and then seeming so i l l . She can ' t have bought i t or she would have had i t de l ivered, unless she got i t off a barrow, but then they don 't s e l l them on barrows . . . Now i f i t had been a goose or some other b i rd . . . ." (pp. 211-12) We must wait un t i l Concluding for the goose to appear. When i t does, the parodic elements of i t s mysterious f l i g h t remind one of the f i n a l joke in Orlando—the wi ld goose which springs up over Shelmerdine's Miss Fellowes has made an i r r a t i o n a l , "magic" connection between the bird and that other "dead pigeon," Cumberland—a resemblance which 124 r ea l l y emphasizes the i r d i s s i m i l a r i t y . At that time, Miss Fellowes was 62 disposed to make "an i n s t i n c t i ve compact with death," and the " s i g n i f i -cant object" could have been anything at hand. In his discussion of the l i t e r a r y symbol, W. Y. T indal l stresses the fact that i t "conceals what i t carr ies and res i s t s tota l explanation because i t i s founded upon analogy, which, philosophers say, is p r im i t i ve , c h i l d i s h , and i r r a -t i o n a l . " That Green sometimes portrays, and draws our attention to, the absurd del icacy of the moment when symbolic meaning is conferred does not indicate that he disparages i t . As ever, in the novels, the comic i s used to awaken our par t i c ipat ion by exposing us to the process of creat ion. Discursive reasoning f a i l s to communicate, as we have seen, in his s to r ie s . I t i s only on the basis suggested by charms, " p r im i t i ve , c h i l d i s h , and i r r a t i o n a l , " that meaning i s created between the characters, and between Green and his reader. This theory i s an attempt to explain why Green's readers often fee l uncomfortable with his " s i g n i f i c an t objects"- -so embarrassingly easy to pick out, l i k e ra i s in s in a bun. We are given complete freedom of in terpretat ion; unl ike Woolf, the author does not reassure us. Placed in an equivocal pos it ion again, the reader fee ls Green's s i lence waiting on a response. What w i l l we do with a dead pigeon, or Mr. Rock's goose? Once more, one i s reminded of Sterne, whose Tristram constantly cloaks very serious matters in suspiciously rhetor ica l language for the sole purpose of urging, however rudely, the reader into the game. For example, the bombastic attack on the reader which follows the innocent question, "And pray who was T ick letoby ' s mare?" i s so overdone that we suspect a 125 joke; and yet , Tr istram's point, that men often know books, perhaps his own, without having read them, is completely serious (TS, I I I , xxxv i , 226). S im i l a r l y , the caution with which we ident i f y sexual or moral d i s integrat ion with Miss Fellowes's dead pigeon, or (to take a de l iber -ately uneasy example) Raunce's g u i l t over his wartime ro le with a strangled peacock (my interpretat ion) i s de l i g h t f u l l y complicated by the fact that the "meaning" of the novel depends on the associat ions, no matter how i l l o g i c a l or c h i l d i s h , we make. (In other words, i t may be necessary to act l i k e J u l i a Wray packing her toys.) The network of f ree - r id ing motifs and images in the novels, which 64 cohere "by glancing r e f l ec t i on s " rather than a federal order, gives unusual freedom to the reader 's in terpret ive voice. John Russe l l , per-haps Green's most imaginative reader at , as he puts i t , "the poetic l e v e l , " recognizes the tentat ive nature of the meanings he assigns: Although a pattern of symbols can be determined, one runs the r i sk of systematizing them and thereby reducing the i r force. Whatever meanings one f ixes on, then, can be assigned only with the admission that other meanings may inhere.65 T i n d a l l , concerned with evoking the "normal" reader 's response to Green's work, in th i s case, Party Going, reaches a s imi la r verd ict : Another reading might almost f i x the re lat ionsh ip of art ichoke, s ta t i on , and bird that baff les and del ights me, but "almost" i s the important word. In enterprises of th i s kind we confront the penu l t i -mate at l a s t , and i f , avoiding i t by some dodge, we could a t ta in our goal and comprehend the incomprehensible, what else could we do?6° Possible interpretat ions of the repeated images and motifs are never, r ea l l y concluded in the reader 's mind; l i k e the unresolved questions, 126 they gather and reverberate a f ter the work i s " f i n i s hed . " Almost without exception, Green's readers t e s t i f y to th is ongoing conversation with the wr i te r . Their experience i s perhaps best summed up in Diana T r i l l i n g ' s remark about Loving, which turns out " a f te r one had set the book aside, to reverberate so beyond i t s announced l im i t s as 67 to const itute a rare ly r i ch and wide human experience." The kaleido-scopic e f fect of s h i f t i ng symbolic elements, which refuse to f i x them-selves into a s t a t i c subst itute for s t o r y - l i ne , is achieved by Green's introduction of incongruit ies. A comparison with V i r g in i a Woolf under-l ines the p l u r a l i t y of meanings y ielded by Green's symbolic elements. David Daiches's discovery of the f a i r l y straightforward thematic impor-tance of colours in To the Lighthouse ("Red and brown appear to be the colours of i nd i v i dua l i t y and egotism, while blue and green are the CO colours of impersonal ity"), i s supported everywhere in the novel. I t i s poss ible, however, for two readers of Loving to construct d i f fe rent mean-69 ings from the colour symbolism Green uses. The f l e x i b i l i t y of the motifs (peacocks, for instance, in Loving), images (moon, water, f lowers, animals, birds in Concluding), and those scenes which one might c a l l "poetry of inc ident , " which "tremble on the verge of symbolism" 7 0 (Mr. Rock and the s t a r l i n g s ) , i s Green's method of creating the widest pos-s i b l e range of response to his side of the conversation. To th i s end, he has sa id, "There can be no precise meaning in a work of a r t " (ENF, 22). The commentary which Green provides through juxtapos i t ions, dramatic irony, equations of imagery, comic structure, and related tech-niques, i s quiet and oblique. The si lences which are l e f t for the reader 127 to f i l l are answered by an authorial voice which, while i t does not persuade us to adopt the w r i t e r ' s moral stance, leaves us in no doubt about i t . Even Doting, which i s at the farthest reach of Green's exper i -ments in the " i n v i s i b l e " narrator, contains an " i n te rp ret i ve rhetor i c " which, according to D. S. Taylor, gives the reader the author 's evalua-t ion of his work. Through this rheto r i c ; that i s , "comic mythos, equa-tions of imagery, symbolic evaluation, suggestions of names, the mechanics and mathematics of p l o t , " Taylor (p. 98) presents a f u l l and "moral" reading of the novel, although he is reluctant to claim for th i s presen-tat ion the authority i t has. "The mechanics and mathematics of p l o t , " for instance, provide an evaluation of the characters through the wit and contrivance of the formal structure--"something mechanical encrusted on the l i v i n g . " 7 1 72 Readers f ind Doting "mordantly funny and horr ib ly sad," part ly because the comic s t e r i l i t y of these aging partygoers i s commented on by the 73 form. The mechanical ingenuities of structure and the mechanical manoeu-vering of characters mirror each other in a fun-house atmosphere. Further-more, since Taylor ' s interpretat ion i s based ch ie f l y on equations of imagery and scenic juxtapos i t ions, l e t us consider some addit ional com-mentary of th i s nature, which supports his reading. There i s an analogy between sex and food in Doting, which i s emphasized by the book's c i r c u l a r structure, in order to provide a moral evaluation. One aspect of th i s involves a pa ra l l e l between the d i f f i c u l -t ie s of the middle-aged men in getting service at restaurants, and the i r sexual f ru s t ra t ions . Arthur ' s "doting" i s comically appraised, when the 128 l a s t scene recapitulates the f i r s t and Charles, who has had good "ser-v ice " from C la i re (although when he was pursuing the f r i g i d Annabel he found i t a " t e r r i b l e job to get attention these days" [p. 124]) has to calm his agitated and s t i l l f rustrated f r i end . The commentary comes to l i f e when we juxtapose th i s behaviour with Arthur ' s sympathetic response to his equally f rustrated adolescent son, who wails for service in the opening scene: "Oh God when are we to get something to drink?" Peter protested ' and turned his face away, frowning. "I know old chap" Mr Middleton agreed, "A pint of shandy!" the son wai led. "Steady on" his father moaned, but no one paid the. least atten-t i on , (p. 4) And here are Arthur and Charles at the end: "We sha l l never get a wai ter ! " Arthur wailed. "Steady the Buffs" Mr Addinsell sa id. "I 'm doing a l l I can!" Arthur Middleton complained, and waved v i o l en t l y . "I know you are, old man. Forget i t . " (p. 23.6) It i s f i n e , unstated comedy, but surely i t offers us, as w e l l , some com-mentary on what has been happening. Arthur i s no more emotionally mature than his s ixteen-year-old son, and doting most emphatically i s not loving - - i t i s an anxious quest for instant g r a t i f i c a t i o n . For a l l the i r incongru i t ies , s i lences and ambiguities, i t i s pos-s i b l e in each of Green's novels, to determine the author 's essential moral pos i t ion. In other words, although we are in doubt about some of the mechanics of his f i c t i o n a l world, we know, through his interpret ive 129 rheto r i c , what he is for and against. But a pa r t i cu l a r l y heavy burden of recognition i s placed upon the reader. In the controversial f i n a l chapter of The Rhetoric of F i c t i o n , Wayne Booth argues that "the moral question is r e a l l y whether an author has an obl igat ion to write well in the sense of making his moral orderings c l ea r , and i f so, c lear to whom" (p. 386). Later in the same chapter, he wr i tes , "the novel i st cannot be excused from providing the judgment upon his own materials which alone can l i f t them from being what Faulkner has ca l led the mere 'record of man' and turn them into the ' p i l l a r s ' that can help him be f u l l y man" (p. 397). In placing such obstacles as "comic symbolism" in his reader 's interpret ive path, and el iminating a r e l i a b l e " t e l l i n g " voice, does Green r i s k leaving the reader altogether without a guide? I think the answer must be "yes," the r i sk is there, and Green took i t in order to create a reader imaginative enough "to bring half the entertainment along with him." However, with respect to Booth, how can we be sure that the reader, in th i s "age of suspic ion," i s certa in to interpret the comments of an omniscient narrator as the author intended? Green sa id, " i t i s not to be supposed that any reader believes any more of what he i s to ld in narrative than he o rd ina r i l y bel ieves, in l i f e , of what someone i s t e l l i n g him" (ENF, 23). I r on i ca l l y , the proof of th i s statement l i e s in the reaction of some of Green's own readers, who have chosen to mistrust the narrator of Loving in his promise of a f a i r y ta le end ing . 7 4 This interpretat ion delighted Green, although he had intended "that they were to have . . . a long and happy l i f e thereafter" (ENF, 23) He paid his reader the compliment of l i s ten ing for his voice, and an 130 imaginative, creative response i s , in i t s e l f , a moral judgment against pass iv i ty and s i lence. When the reader ta lks back to Green, the author 's formula for the creation of a l i v i n g work of ar t which he outl ined in "The English Novel of the Future" i s completed, tested, and proven. From Blindness to Doting, Green employs increasingly inventive techniques to urge the reader 's pa r t i c ipat ion without i nh ib i t i ng his freedom. Obl iquity creates the i l l u s i o n of a r t i s t i c autonomy for the reader--an uninterrupted s i lence within which his imagination can play. Hence, Green's use of unanswered questions, ambiguous endings, equivocation, associat ive think-ing, non-description, and scenic juxtaposit ions rather than interpret ive commentary, e f f ec t i ve l y conceal the author and, simultaneously, provoke a reaction from the reader. Green speaks by remaining s i l e n t ; the subtle disruptions on the surface of his prose which shatter the reader 's expec-tations and awaken him to the conversation are the more disturbing and mysterious because they appear to come from within the novel ' s world, rather than from an authorial hand. S im i l a r l y , while his d i s t i n c t i v e prose s ty le seems to r e f l e c t the inner and outer speech of his characters, i t establ i shes, at the same time, a pervasive presence which the reader recognizes as that of his conversational partner. Seduced into p a r t i c i -pation by th i s dua l i t y , the reader f inds that he has become a "character" in the comic experience of the novel; his reactions are se l f - reve la to ry , and ongoing. Thus, the "communication without speech" becomes a conver-sation without a conclusion. 131 Notes I La Conversation, p. 60. 2 James counted on as much attention as the reader was disposed to give him. In his "Preface to The Wings of the Dove," he states that the surface i l l u s i o n , l i k e ice on a lake, is strongest which can bear as much pressure from the reader as possible. The Art of the Novel, pp. 304-5. The Modern Century (London: Oxford Univers ity Press, 1969), pp. 66, 72-73. 4 Quoted in Bruce Morr issette, "A la in Robbe-Gr i l let, " Columbia  Essays on Modern Writers, No. 34 (New York: Columbia Univers ity Press, 1965), p. 34. 5 See O r v i l l e Prescott, "Comrades of the Coter ie , " In My Opinion: An Inquiry into the Contemporary Novel ( Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merr i l l , 1952), pp. 92-105. 6 Green usually creates th i s atmosphere through a precise image. For instance, a f ter the comic scene with the pol ice detect ive, Mr. Rock watches the revolving b icyc le pedal with "a dreadful reluctance" (p. 74). 7 The Art of the Novel, p. 176. Q For example, see James H a l l , The Tragic Comedians: Seven Modern  B r i t i s h Novelists (Bloomington: Indiana Univers ity Press, 1963), pp. 66, 69, and 77. Q "The L i terary Study of the Riddle, " Texas Studies in L i terature  and Language, 14 (1972), 177-97. 1 0 Faulkner in the Univers i ty, ed. F. L. Gwynn and J . L. Blotner (Char lo t te sv i l l e : The Univers ity of V i r g i n i a Press, 1959), p. 273. I I Alan Friedman has based his book, The Turn of the Novel (Oxford: Oxford Univers ity Press, 1966) on the s h i f t in modern f i c t i o n from a closed to an open and expanding experience. 1 ? "Henry Green," Columbia Essays on Modern Writers, No. 29 (New York: Columbia Univers ity Press, 1967), p. 10. Kenneth Knodt follows Ryf in his d i s se r ta t ion , "A Packed Bag: A Study of the Novels of Henry Green," Diss. Purdue 1972, pp. 35-36. Russe l l , and most others, accept the "Why am I so happy today?" of the f i n a l l e t t e r . 1 3 "A Rescue," Penguin New Writ ing, 21 (1941), 88-93. 132 14 "Mr. Jonas," Fol ios of New Writ ing, 3 (1941), 31-40. 15 We are reminded that by "audience," Green meant "the charac-ters that make up the book." ^ The well-known essay by H. C. Goddard, "A Pre-Freudian Reading of The Turn of the Screw," in Twentieth Century Interpretations of The  Turn of the Screw and Other Tales, ed. Jane P. Tompkins (Englewood C l i f f s , N.J.: P rent i ce -Ha l l , 1970), pp. 62-87, was related to his own memory of a governess he had when he was a boy. 1 7 The Modern Psychological Novel (1955; rpt . with rev i s ions, New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1964), p. 46. 1 8 The Art of the Novel, p. 177. 19 Tristram Shandy's World: Sterne's Philosophical Rhetoric (New York: Russell & Russe l l , 1954), p. 84. 2 0 "Henry Green," p. 32. 21 "Henry Green's Back: The Presence of the Past," p. 95. 22 Letters of Laurence Sterne, ed. Lewis Perry Curtis (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1935), p. 411. 2 3 Southern, "The Art of F i c t i o n , " p. 72. 24 For example, the two symmetrical halves of Loving; the " three-act " structure of Concluding. 25 "We must not expect too much of l i f e , " Green says in "The English Novel of the Future" (p. 25). 2 6 "Apologia," p. 49. 27 The Erasers, trans. Richard Howard (New York: Grove Press, 1964), p. 8. po At the dance, for example, "she thought how the hand she had on his shoulder must seem to him l i k e his heart ' s white f lower" (p. 202). 29 See George G r e l l a , "Murder and Manners: The Formal Detective Novel," Novel, 4 (1970), 30-48. 30 Also parodying the triumph of deductive reasoning is the Lewis Carro l l atmosphere of Concluding. I l l o g i c (rather than reason) reigns, as when Edge orders Moira to cut ribbon in lengths of exactly twenty-one inches, without a ru le r . 133 3 1 G r e l l a , p. 43. 32 Frye, in The Educated Imagination (Bloomington: Indiana Uni-ver s i ty Press, 1964), p. 41; Friedman, in The Turn of the Novel, pp. 3-14. 33 Last Year at Marienbad, trans. Richard Howard (New York: Grove Press, 1962TTp. 14. "34 V. S. P r i t che t t , "Back from the War," New York Times Book  Review, 1 October 1950, pp. 28-29. 35 "Henry Green's Back: The Presence of the Past," p. 93. 3 6 "Something," The New Yorker, 25 March 1950, pp. 103-4. 37 Paul P i c k r e l , rev. of Nothing, by Henry Green, Yale Review, 39 (1950), 766. 38 Quoted in Edward Marcotte, "The Space of a Novel," Partisan  Review, 41, No. 2 (1974), 263-72. 39 The Selected Letters of Gustave Flaubert, trans, and ed. Francis Steegmuller (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1954), p. 194. 4 0 Quoted in Anthony Quinton, "A French View of Loving," p. 28. 4 1 Again, the comparison with Robbe-Gri l let i s inescapable. He wr ites: "The essential character i s t i c of the image i s i t s presentness . . . on the screen verbs are always in the present tense (which i s what is so strange, so a r t i f i c i a l about the 'novel ized f i lm s ' which have been restored to the past tense so dear to the t rad i t i ona l novel!): by i t s nature, what we see on the screen i s in the act of happening, we are given the gesture i t s e l f , not an account of i t . " " Introduct ion, " Last  Year at Marienbad, p. 12. Green's use of dialogue i s his method of evok-ing the "gesture" rather than the "account": " I f we wish to create some-thing between the author and the reader, we cannot depart from current l i f e " (ENF, 24). 42 Anthony Quinton, "A French View of Loving," p. 34. 43 "As for the famous i n tag l i o implications that the supporters of th i s system think they obtain by giving no explanations, i t would be interest ing to ask the most experienced and most sens i t ive among the i r readers to t e l l s incerely what they perceive, when l e f t to themselves, beneath the words spoken by the characters . . . We should be surprised by the s imp l i c i t y , the grossness, and the approximation of his [ s i c ] per-ceptions." The Age of Suspicion, pp. 104-5. 44 "Ca ta l y t i c Rhetoric," pp. 86-92. 134 45 Southern, "The Art of F i c t i o n , " p. 68. 4fi This explains why Green's dialogue reminds so many readers of Congreve's plays. 4 7 Manservant and Maidservant (London: V ictor Gollancz L td . , 1947), p. 119. 48 Forces in Modern B r i t i s h L i terature 1885-1956 (New York: Knopf, 1956), p. 107. 49 This, I am sure, explains the d istaste for Compton-Burnett's wr i t ing which Green exhibited when we met. When sub-conversation i s given a voice in the dialogue, i t denies the reader the act of creation which Green f e l t to be so necessary in the author-reader re lat ionsh ip . 50 Brothers and S isters (London: V ictor Gollancz L td . , 1929), p. 42. The author here intrudes a remark for i t s comic e f f ec t , whereas the humour in Green i s , for the most part, unstated un t i l i t i s recognized by the reader. 51 It i s espec ia l ly applicable to the novels of a wr i ter who documents the influence of the cinema on his technique (ENF, 22). Pack  My Bag describes his addiction to f i lms , which he watched on Saturday afternoon, while working at the Birmingham factory and wr i t ing L iv ing. This novel c l ea r l y demonstrates the i r inf luence. 52 Sergei M. E isenstein, The Film Sense, trans. Jay Leyda (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1942~]\ pp. 32-33. 53 "Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown," Col lected Essays, ed. Leonard Woolf (London: Chatto & Windus, 1966), I, 331. 54 David Neal M i l l e r , "Authorial Point of View in V i r g i n i a Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway," Journal of Narrative Technique, I, No. 1 (Jan. 1971), pp. 126-31. 55 Mrs. Dalloway (London: Hogarth Press, 1925), pp. 110-11. 56 Charles Dickens, Bleak House, ed. Norman Page (1853; rpt . Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1971), p. 100. 5 7 To the Lighthouse, pp. 276-77. 5 8 "Symbolism and the Novel," Partisan Review, 25 (1958), 329-42. 59 Green, "An Unfinished Novel," p. 12. ^ Bruce Johnson, "Henry Green's Comic Symbolism," Ba l l State  Univers ity Forum, 6 (1965), 29-35. 135 61 V i r g i n i a Woolf, Orlando: A Biography (London: Hogarth Press, 1928), p. 295. 6 2 Russe l l , Nine Novels, p. 43. CO The L i terary Symbol, p. 12. The d i f f i c u l t y of de f i n i t i on in discussing the symbolist nature of Green's work is i l l u s t r a t e d in the fact that G. Melchiori does not regard him as a symbolist because his images lack " a l l precis ion of reference and consistency, two essential qua l i t i e s of symbols" (although, in the same chapter, "The Abstract Art of Henry Green," he refers to Green's use of " c r ypt i c symbols"), while T indal l declares that he i i a symbolist because the lack of f ixed values defines one type of symbol. 64 65 66 67 1950, p. 1. T i n d a l l , The L i terary Symbol, p. 92. Nine Novels, p. 131. The L i terary Symbol, p. 95. " . . . the Comic View," New York Times Book Review, 26 March 68 )ns. 69 in 5 70 V i r g i n i a Woolf (1942; rpt . with rev i s ions, New York: New Direct io , 1963), pp. 87-88. See Stokes, p. 120, and Barbara Davidson, "The World of Loving,' Wisconsin Studies in Contemporary L i te ra tu re , 2 (1961), 65-78. Walter A l l en , "An A r t i s t of the T h i r t i e s , " Fol ios of New Writ- ing, 4 (1941), 149-58. 7 1 Henri Bergson, "Laughter," in Comedy, ed. Wylie Sypher (Garden C i ty : Doubleday and Co., 1956), p. 84. 72 J . D. Scott, rev. of Doting, by Henry Green, New Statesman and  Nation, 43 (1952), 564-66. 73 The exception i s Me lch io r i , in his study, "The Abstract Art of Henry Green." His thes i s , that the emphasis on s ty le in th i s century springs from the desire of authors to provide an aesthetic order for a world where they f ind no other, so that form becomes a symbol through which transcendent meaning is perceived, assumes that Green, l i k e Joyce or Woolf, accepts his aesthetic ordering as meaningful. Melchiori over-looks the (perhaps too obvious) a l ternat ive that Green has juxtaposed his comic order with the a r t i f i c i a l behaviour of the characters the reader f inds comic. 74 Earle Labor's a r t i c l e , "Henry Green's Web of Loving," i s the 136 most dogmatic of these readings. I t i s important to note that Booth offers th i s a r t i c l e as the only item in his bibliography on Green. Obvi-ously, he has followed Labor's lead in f inding the narrator of Loving unre l iab le , although the majority of Green's readers do not. B I B L I O G R A P H Y 137 138 BIBLIOGRAPHY A. PRIMARY SOURCES 1. Green's wr i t ing Since Henry Green's wr i t ing i s recorded here in i t s en t i re ty , chronological order provides a useful descr ipt ion of his career. Blindness. London: J . M. Brent, 1926. L iv ing. London: Hogarth Press, 1929. Party Going. London: Hogarth Press, 1939. "A Private School in 1914." Fol ios of New Writ ing, 1 (1940), 11-25. Pack My Bag. London: Hogarth Press, 1940. "A Rescue." Penguin New Writ ing, 21 (1941), 88-93. "Mr. Jonas." Fol ios of New Writ ing, 3 (1941), 31-40. "Apologia." Fol ios of New Writ ing, 4 (1941), 44-51. "The L u l l . " New Writing and Daylight, 3 (1943), 11-21. Caught. London: Hogarth Press, 1943. Loving. London: Hogarth Press, 1945. Back. London: Hogarth Press, 1946. Concluding. London: Hogarth Press, 1948. Nothing. London: Hogarth Press, 1950. "The English Novel of the Future." Contact, 1 (1950), 21-24. "A Novel ist to his Readers: Communication without Speech." The L istener, 9 November 1950, pp. 505-6. "A Novel ist to his Readers—II." The L istener, 15 March 1951, pp. 425-27. "A F i r e , a Flood, and the Price of Meat." The L istener, 23 August 1951, pp. 293-94. 139 Doting. London: Hogarth Press, 1952. "The Spoken Word as Wr itten. " The Spectator, 4 September 1953, p. 248. Review of A Wr i ter ' s Diary, by V i r g i n i a Woolf. London Magazine, 1 (1954), 80-83. Review of The Complete P la in Words, by S i r Ernest Gower. London Magazine, 2 (195577 88-91. "An Unfinished Novel." London Magazine, 6 (1959), 11-17. "Before the Great F i r e . " London Magazine, 7 (1960), 12-27. "For Jenny with Af fect ion from Henry Green." The Spectator, 4 October 1963, p. 422. 2. Books, A r t i c l e s and Reviews on Green: An annotated bibliography. A l l en , Walter. "An A r t i s t of the T h i r t i e s . " Fol ios of New Writ ing, 4 (1941), 149-58. A l len deals quite f u l l y with Green's work before the publ icat ion of Caught. He describes the novel i s t as a "pure a r t i s t " because of his preoccupation with s ty le rather than subject, and ind icates, with considerable imagination, how symbolic elements are used to create "a gathering web of ins inuat ions. " A pa r t i cu l a r l y good d i s -cussion of L i v ing , and some interest ing comparisons with contemporary writers such as Isherwood, Wyndham Lewis and Calder-Marshal1. . Tradit ion and Dream: A C r i t i c a l Survey. 1964; rpt . Harmonds-worth, Middlesex^ Penguin Books, 1965, pp. 234-39. A l len repeats his discussion of Green's e a r l i e r work (see above), adding a br ie f account of Loving. After th i s novel, he says, one f inds a "fragmentation" of Green's t a l e n t — c e r t a i n l y a minority view-point. Anon. Review of Blindness, by Henry Green. Saturday Review of L i t e r - ature, 3 (1926), 472. A b r ie f and appreciative review, which applauds Green's escape from sentimental ity or burlesque. The reviewer notes a tendency for the author to become "co ld ly c l i n i c a l " - - a n interest ing observation in view of what some c r i t i c s (Toynbee, for instance) f ind in Green's l a te r work. Anon. Review of Concluding, by Henry Green. Times L i terary Supplement, 25 December 1948, p. 726. Because this a r t i c l e introduces Green to TLS readers as an impor-tant nove l i s t , the reviewer, while concentrating on Concluding, also 140 outl ines the s t y l i s t i c features and themes of previous novels. Resem-blances to Proust, Gertrude Stein and Doughty are noted, but, in the end, Green is unique--"a poet of the persecution-complex." The re -view treats the novels with competence and a close f a m i l i a r i t y . Anon. Review of Loving, by Henry Green. Time, 10 October 1949, pp. 104-10. The review, "Molten Treasure," begins with a co l l ec t i on of the more sensational items in Henry Yorke's career. It then turns to a consideration of Loving which i s ch i e f l y plot summary. Anon. Review of Party Going, by Henry Green. A t l an t i c Monthly, 188 (1951), 86. A s l i gh t review which, nevertheless, manages to suggest something of Green's complexity. Chief ly plot summary. Bassoff, Bruce. "Prose Consciousness in the Novels of Henry Green." Language and S ty le , 5 (Fa l l 1972), 276-86. A detai led analysis of Green's prose experiments in L iv ing and Party Going. Bassoff places the author 's s t y l i s t i c mannerisms in a poetic context by i so la t ing some tropes such as chiasmus and asyndeton (which remind one of M i l ton ' s use of schematic language, although this connection is not made in the a r t i c l e ) . Bassoff makes a convin-cing argument for considering Green's language from a poetic rather than mimetic point of view, and points to the e f fect on the reader of the author 's concern with prose as an instrument of awareness. B re i t , Harvey. "Talk with Henry Green--and a P.S." New York Times Book  Review, 19 February 1950, p. 29. This interview affords us a glimpse of the novel i st in the United States. Obviously intr igued by Green--his pseudonym, and oblique r ep l i e s - - B r e i t pays t r ibute to his conversational a r t i s t r y . Green's remarks, although few, are in teres t ing . Brogan, D. W. Review of Blindness, by Henry Green. New Republic, 49 (1926), 174. Impressed by Green's f i r s t novel, the reviewer pays t r ibute to i t s "imaginative power," psychological real ism, and thematic unity. He notes, even th i s early in Green's career, the character i s t i c absence of a conventional story l i n e ; Blindness, he says, i s made up of "emotional incidents s i gn i f i can t only in the i r immediate e f f ec t , and making no formal pattern in the l i f e or i t s record." Brothers, Barbara Ann. "Henry Green's Comic V i s ion: A Study of Green's Novels." Diss. Kent State Univers i ty, 1973. This d i s sertat ion i s a brave attempt to contain a l l of the nove l i s t ' s work within Bergsonian theory. As does any attempt to c l a s s i f y Green, i t f a i l s to some extent, pa r t i cu l a r l y with Concluding, but Brothers 's interpretat ions are always st imulat ing, espec ia l ly when one disagrees. 141 Chu rch i l l , Thomas. "Loving: A Comic Novel." C r i t ique, 4, No. 2 (1961), 29-38. The a r t i c l e was wr itten in response to Earle Labor's somewhat dogmatic in terpretat ion, "Henry Green's Web of Loving," in C r i t ique, 4, No. 1. Churchi l l displays a f ine appreciation of the novel 's comedy and compares scenes in both Loving and Concluding, in the i r "broadly smil ing animalism," to Chaucer. In the process, he i l l u s -trates that Labor's reading i s "both over-solemn and not r ea l l y sup-ported by the t ex t . " A cool and persuasive counter-attack on an attempt to systemize Green through symbols and analogy. Cook, A lbert . The Meaning of F i c t i on . Detro i t : Wayne State Univers ity Press, 1960, pp. 123-24. A br ie f descr ipt ion of Loving and Back, with one or two i n t e r -esting observations (for example, "Henry Green builds his sensible objects into an appearance of r i d d l e " ) . Cook places Green in the school of Flaubert, Turgenev and Chekov. Davidson, Barbara. "The World of Loving." Wisconsin Studies in Contem- porary L i te ra tu re , 2 (1961), 65-78. Davidson's a r t i c l e concentrates on the symbolic elements in Loving, from which she creates pa r t i cu l a r l y convincing port ra i t s of Mrs. Tennant, Mrs. Jack and Edith. She analyzes the blend of realism and myth, fact and fantasy in the novel without damaging i t s d e l i -cacy, and points to suggestive l inks between Green and contemporary painters. Dennis, N igel . "The Double L i f e of Henry Green." L i f e , 4 August 1952, pp. 83-94. Dennis contributes a l i v e l y , but es sent ia l l y serious, po r t ra i t of Green, his "double l i f e " and his work. We are, indeed, indebted to him for e l i c i t i n g several invaluable comments from the novel i s t about his f i c t i o n — f o r instance, Green to ld him that "anything which has a voice i s inv i ted to use i t — b u t the reader i s l e f t to supply the shapes and colors out of his own head." Dennis includes some stimulating observations of his own; and he considers Concluding Green's " r i ches t and f i ne s t novel. " F a r r e l l y , John. "The Success of Form." New Republic, 121 (1949), 19-20. Fa r re l l y rates Back higher than Loving. This i s because he d i s -l i kes the "camera-eye" narrative technique (which he ca l l s "a c r i p -pl ing distance") of the l a t t e r . The review i s an interest ing example of the type of response to Green's openendedness which longs for "a s i gn i f i can t judgement." Fry, P h i l l i p , and James Lee. "An Interview in Austin with John Lehmann." Studies in the Novel, 3 (1971), 80-96. Fry and Lee question Green's "discoverer" who, in the course of a rather host i le interview, makes some remarks about the nove l i s t ' s 142 wr i t i ng . ("I have a par t i cu la r pred i lect ion for the novel where the novel i st distances himself and sinks himself in his material . . . .") Garnett, David. "Books in General." New Statesman and Nation, 18 (1939), 489. Garnett 's review of Party Going i l luminates the structure by a comparison with b a l l e t , such as Les Sylphides. He also i l l u s t r a t e s the continuing response of Green's reader a f ter he has " f i n i shed " the book: "Yet, an hour afterwards, none of us remembered the book as comic." G i l l , Brendan. "Something." The New Yorker, 25 March 1950, pp. 103-4. A review of Nothing which, while b r i e f l y considering technique, pays most attention to the comic nove l i s t ' s ro le in modern f i c t i o n -one which G i l l f inds unfashionable but necessary and refreshing. H a l l , James. The Tragic Comedians: Seven Modern B r i t i s h Novel ists. Bloomington: Indiana Univers ity Press, 1963. H a l l ' s f i r s t chapter discusses Green, and the other s ix nove l i s t s , within the broad context of the comic novel as sub-genre, with i t s "mixed sense of r e a l i t y . " In chapter f i v e , "Paradoxes of Pleasure-and-Pain," Hall explores Green's i l l u s t r a t i o n of th i s "mixed sense" in his novels. A thematic analysis of Loving and Concluding stresses the a l ternat ive states of anxiety and cheerfulness in Green's plots and characters, and points out a resemblance to Sterne's del ight in human eccent r i c i t y . In the f i n a l chapter, Hall returns to a broader consideration of a l l seven novel ists and the i r central themes. Hart, C l i ve . "The Structure and Technique of Party Going." The Yearbook of English Studies, 1 (1971), 185-99. Hart discusses the "abnegation of authorial cont ro l " in Party  Going, revealing Green's compaign to induce a fundamental uncertainty in the reader. He is the only c r i t i c to date who gives serious con-s iderat ion to the e f fect of Green's t r i c k s (especia l ly with point of view) on the reader. The second half of the a r t i c l e discusses how correspondences and motifs are used to create patterns of meaning. Havighurst, Walter. "Search for a Dead Rose." Saturday Review of L i t e r - ature, 30 September 1950, p. 30. In th i s review of Back, Havighurst notes the comic distancing from the central character, and seems impervious to most of the magic in the novel. . "Two Worlds of Henry Green." Saturday Review of L i te ra ture , 30 September 1950, pp. 11-12. Except for remarking on the d i f f i c u l t i e s Green creates for his readers, Havighurst reviews Caught and Concluding by summarizing the i r p lot s . 143 H i l t on , James. "Two More by Mr. Green." New York Herald Tribune Book  Review, 1 October 1950, p. 6. These s l i gh t reviews of Caught and Concluding consist almost en t i re l y of plot summary. Hi l ton i s an interest ing i l l u s t r a t i o n of the casual reader 's approach to Green's complexities ("the reader must work at these books"). Howard, Jean. "Selected Notice." Horizon, 107 (1948), 365-68. Howard's review of Concluding is an important study of Green's "development of the poetic process to extend the range of the novel. " In her concentration on his use of form and imagery to suggest mean-ing, Howard is careful not to destroy "the weblike f i laments" of the book. In the process, she ignores Green's splendid comic sense, but contributes a fresh view of his descr ipt ive powers (for instance, " a l l the g i r l s look l i k e azaleas " ) . Howe, I rv ing. " F i c t i on Chronic le. " Partisan Review, 16 (1949), 1052-55. Howe offers an unbiassed response to Loving, the f i r s t of Green's novels to be published in a new American ed i t i on . He makes a revea l -ing comparison between th i s novel and Shakespeare's comedies, and stresses the complex mixture of tones throughout. "One plays with i t in memory." Johnson, Bruce. "Henry Green's Comic Symbolism." Ba l l State Univers ity  Forum, 6 (1965), 29-35. In th i s interest ing a r t i c l e , Johnson attempts to explain "the pecul iar wedding of symbolism and comedy".in the novels and claims that Party Going i s "a parable of symbolic c reat ion . " While one admires his courage in tack l ing the status of Green's symbols (most of them "special cases" in modern f i c t i o n ) , i t i s disappointing that he r e s t r i c t s his discussion to one novel. Jones, Ernest. "The Double View." The Nation, 169 (1949), 401-2. In th i s review of Loving, Jones defines Green's "double view" as the a b i l i t y "to see his characters as they see themselves, while estab l i sh ing, i m p l i c i t l y , a rat ional set of values by which to judge them." Hence, says the reviewer, a complex blend of tone i s achieved and human personality portrayed " i n a state of f l u x . " Jones admires, as w e l l , the "densely symbolic passages" and makes some interest ing remarks on Nanny Swift and the chi ldren at the dovecote. Ka r l , Frederick R. "Normality Defined: The Novels of Henry Green." A Reader's Guide to the Contemporary Novel. New York: The Noonday Press, 1962, pp. 183-200. A most readable and penetrating account of Green's work which raises many important aspects usually ignored by the c r i t i c s . For instance, Karl contemplates the nove l i s t ' s juxtaposit ions of rat ional and i r r a t i ona l elements, his creation of chaos through exaggerated d e t a i l , and his consistent campaign to involve the reader: "Green 144 forces the reader into 'making' the novel himself." There are i n t e r -esting comparisons with Chaucer, Joyce, and C. P. Snow. Ket t le , Arnold. An Introduction to the English Novel, Vol . 2, 1951; rpt . New York: Harper & Row, 1960, 190-97. Kett le studies Party Going, paying almost undivided attent ion to the soc ia l r e a l i t y which Green suggests " tangent ia l l y . " Ke t t l e ' s bias is obvious in his concluding remarks; for instance: "Once the d i f f i c u l t y which the modern a r t i s t fee ls in coping with the central issues of a complex world i s elevated into some kind of theory that defends the l im i ta t ions of a minority culture as a pos i t ive v i r tue then the danger signal i s pretty close at hand." Knodt, Kenneth Simms. "A Packed Bag: A Study of the Novels of Henry Green." Diss. Purdue Univers i ty, 1972. Knodt discusses the novels in chronological order, and in the context of f i ve major themes: work as bene f i c i a l , the oppressiveness of author ity, escape through love or communication, profound psycho-log ica l experience and nature as solace. His analyses fol low various c r i t i c s rather c lo se ly , but his use of passages from Pack My Bag to elucidate colour symbolism and themes is interest ing and o r i g i n a l . Labor, Earle. "Henry Green's Web of Loving." C r i t ique, 4, No. 1 (1960-61), 29-40. Labor's claim that "the c r i t i c s have almost made a f e t i s h of the novel ' s i n s c r u t a b i l i t y " prefaces an energetic attempt to read "darkly t e r r i b l e meanings" into the comedy of Loving. However ingen-ious his i n te rpretat ion , one perceives a fundamental unease at dea l -ing with Green's comic v i s ion in the c r i t i c ' s language (the serious-ness of the " soc ia l message" has been overlooked, along with "a starker, more universal theme"). Lazarus, H. P. "Henry Green's Technique." The Nation, 171 (1950), 416. A perceptive review of Back, which recognizes Green's unique blend of realism and symbolism, his technical a f f i n i t i e s with Picasso and Matisse, and his habitual portrayal of s o l i p s i s t i c characters. Lazarus concentrates on Green's use of irony, however, to the exclu-sion of other features of the novel such as hal lucinatory prose and suggestive dialogue. . "The Symbolical Apple." The Nation, 174 (1952), 506. Lazarus i s disappointed with Doting, and, as a reader, remains unchallenged by the "unexpressed" feel ings of i t s characters. Lehmann, John. The Ample Proposit ion. London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1966, pp. 108-9. This book, together with I Am My Brother, and The Whispering  Gal lery are autobiographies which contain interest ing glimpses of Green, pa r t i cu l a r l y during the war, in the passages I have indicated here, and below. 145 Lehmann, John. I Am My Brother. New York: Reynal & Co., 1960, pp. 108-11, 219-20. . The Whispering Gal lery. London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1955, pp. 329-30. Lehmann, Rosamond. "An Absolute G i f t . " Times L i terary Supplement, 6 August 1954, p. 41. A most revealing view of Green in the war years, stressing his dedication to a self-imposed regime and his a r t i s t i c pur i ty . One of his comments at th i s time, she reports, was: "In time of war the wr i te r , our kind, must sink absolutely down to the bottom and remain anonymous." Lehmann rates L iv ing highly, and regards Loving as his masterpiece. After th i s novel, "tenderness withdraws." Mayberry, George. "The Juggling Act . " New Republic, 126 (May 1952), 21. On the whole, an unsympathetic review of Doting. Mayberry divides modern f i c t i o n into the usual two camps; novels which render p o l i t i c a l or re l i g ious ideas (Graham Greene) and those which "render t r i v i a with grace and s k i l l " (Henry Green). Hence, he sees the Tatter ' s s ty le as consist ing of "unnatural d i s c i p l i ne s " which impede " l a tent warmth towards basic human considerations." Me lch io r i , Giorgio. The Tightrope Walkers: Studies of Mannerism in Modern  English L i te rature . London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1956. The opening chapter defines the common atmosphere of "funambulism" which Melchiori f inds in the writers he has chosen to discuss: "the achievement of the true a r t i s t in our age, who, l i k e the successful acrobat, succeeds in keeping step by step, moment by moment, his balance, while being aware of the void or the turmoil round him." In "The Abstract Art of Henry Green," Melchiori discusses the nove l i s t ' s "precarious equ i l ib r ium, " both emotional and s t y l i s t i c , throughout Green's work. This chapter contains a very sens i t ive treatment of s ty le and form, although one may not always agree with the conclu-sions . Phelps, Robert. "The Vis ion of Henry Green." The Hudson Review, 5 (Winter 1953), 614-20. Phelps 's a r t i c l e begins with a revealing comparison of Henry Green and Graham Greene, and develops into a perceptive study of the marriage, in the former, between v i s ion and medium. Phelps sees that Green's message--the attempt of human beings to make creat ive contact with each o the r— i s everywhere ref lected in his manner. The a r t i c l e contains some imaginative asides; for example, Edith and Raunce, in Loving, "persuade the f i n a l sentence of the book to abet them." Phelps 's treatment of Nothing and Doting, however, is abrupt and unsympathetic. P i c k r e l , Paul. Review of Nothing, by Henry Green. Yale Review, 39 (1950), 766. P ickre l characterizes Green's narrative stance as "the Olympian 146 outlook" in a Promethean age. The wr i ter gazes down, in the t r a d i -t ion of F ie ld ing , Austen and Thackeray, on characters who betray themselves by the i r speech and behaviour. Prescott, O r v i l l e . "Comrades of the Coter ie. " In My Opinion: An Inquiry  into the Contemporary Novel. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merr i l l , 1952. Prescott treats Green (along with Ivy Compton-Burnett, El izabeth Bowen and Graham Greene) with f r i v o l i t y and a display of persuasion through rhetor ic ("a feverish revo l t against t rad i t i ona l cu l tura l forms, an ef fete and unhealthy react ion " ) . The only point he makes which bears the seeds of legit imate c r i t i c i s m (other readers have found some of Green's dialogue too accurate to be suggestive) is des-troyed by excess ("No one of i t s [Back's] characters ever says a thing worth hearing"). P r i t che t t , V. S. "Back from the War." New York Times Book Review, 1 October 1950, pp. 28-29. A careful and comprehensive review of Back. P r i t che t t , while he considers Loving the nove l i s t ' s "high water mark," pays t r ibute to the seductive fantasy overlying the realism of people and places in Back. This n o v e l i s t / c r i t i c was the f i r s t to point out that wartime soc iety, rather than Charley, had "gone mad." . "The Future of F i c t i o n . " New Writing and Daylight, 7 (1946), 77. P r i t c h e t t ' s a r t i c l e is e s sent ia l l y h i s t o r i c a l , claiming that the concentration on s ty le rather than material in one school of f i c t i o n results from "the contemporary s i t ua t i on . " There is only a mention of Green, or any other spec i f i c nove l i s t : "the novel i s t has become the h i s tor ian of the c r i s i s in c i v i l i z a t i o n , whether he writes p o l i -t i c a l l y . . . or with the ob l iqu i ty of those dispossessed poets, Henry Green and Miss El izabeth Bowen." . "Henry Yorke, Henry Green." London Magazine, June-July 1974, pp. 28-32. This i s an amended version of the memorial address delivered two months a f te r Green's death in December, 1973. P r i t che t t celebrates the nove l i s t ' s a r t i s t r y , his o r i g i n a l i t y , tolerance and complexity. Quinton, Anthony. "A French View of Loving." London Magazine, 6 (1959), 25-35. Quinton summarizes an essay by Michel Vinaver, the t rans lator of Loving for the French ed i t i on . Then he comments on Vinaver 's app l i ca -t ion of "the favourite slogans of l i t e r a r y ex i s tent ia l i sm" to Green's novel. F i n a l l y , he offers his own evaluation of Green's technique in Loving. A fasc inat ing exercise. Reed, Henry. Review of Loving, by Henry Green. New Statesman and Nation, 29 (1945), 292. It was th is reviewer who coined the phrase "emotional Black Hole 147 of Calcutta" to describe a continuing theme of Green's novels. Reed's b r ie f account of Loving contains some pertinent observations about s t y l e , and i t s e f fect upon the reader, pa r t i cu l a r l y a f ter he has " f i n i shed " the novel: " I t i s not, fo r example, t i l l a f ter one has put the book down that one rea l i zes precisely how some of the novel 's furnishings have contributed to i t s tota l e f fect . . . ." Rolo, C. J . "Reader's Choice." A t l an t i c Monthly, 186 (Oct. 1950), 84. An honest appraisal of Back by a "hard-headed reader" who finds enchantment, a " refresh ing ly d i s t i n c t i v e s t y l e , " and "a curious kind of tenderness" in the novel. Green's most impressive achievement, according to Rolo, i s the blending of realism and fab le , naturalism and poetry. "He i s a novel i s t who makes considerable demands on the reader." Ross, Alan. "Green, with Envy: C r i t i c a l Reflections and an Interview." London Magazine, 6 (1959), 18-24. Ross begins by considering Edward Stokes's c r i t i c a l study, The  Novels of Henry Green, which had ju s t been published. He then i n t e r -views the nove l i s t , using quotations from Stokes as a launching-pad for questions. Although Green i s much more ret icent here than with Terry Southern, there are interest ing moments. Russe l l , John David. Henry Green: Nine Novels and an Unpacked Bag. New Brunswick: Rutgers Univers ity Press, 1960. Appearing only a year a f ter Stokes's book, Russe l l ' s f u l l - l eng th study of Green has a completely d i f fe rent approach. Between two preliminary chapters and a conclusion, the author discusses Green's novels separately and in nearly chronological order—perhaps a more useful arrangement for the student than Stokes 's. Russe l l ' s chief contributions to Green c r i t i c i s m are: a penetrating study of a f f i n i -t ie s with other writers such as Kafka, Cel ine, Lewis Car ro l l and Sterne, and some imaginative interpretat ions of themes and characters through an analysis of symbolic elements. His reading of Concluding i s pa r t i cu l a r l y rewarding. About s t y l e , he has much less to say, except for an interest ing comparison of Green's sentence structure with that of Doughty. Some readers may feel that Russell tends to overc lass i fy Green ( in spite of his protests to the contrary) but his opinions are always wel1-supported and wel1-expressed. . "There It Is." Kenyon Review, 26 (Summer 1964), 433-65. This i s the record of a v i s i t with Green af ter the publ icat ion of Nine Novels. Russell treats the novel i s t with respect—the keynote of his a r t i c l e being Green's "fundamental g rav i ty . " Fortunately there are, as w e l l , some h i la r ious anecdotes to add to one's store of Greeniana. Ryf, Robert S. "Henry Green." Columbia Essays on Modern Writers, No. 29.- New York: Columbia Univers ity Press, 1967. Ryf ' s essay treats the novels chronological ly, with del icacy, 148 humour and understanding. Par t i cu la r emphasis i s placed on ambiguity in Green's work, and there i s a good conclusion with some general observations on themes and method. Schorer, Mark. "The Real and Unreal Worlds of Henry Green." New York  Times Book Review, 31 December 1950, p. 5. Schorer reviews Caught and Concluding by ca re fu l l y d ist inguishing between the "mechanical" p lot and the " t rue " p lo t . He is par t i cu -l a r l y adept at describing the atmosphere of these two novels, which he claims are "more intensely impress ionist ic than any of the others." Scott, J . D. Review of Doting, by Henry Green. New Statesman and  Nation, 43 (1952), 564-66. Scott ' s i n t e l l i g e n t review of Doting i s , in sp i te of i t s brev i ty , marked by a genuine understanding. Finding the novel "a l i t t l e disappointing" because i t i s not surpr i s ing, he pays t r ibute to i t s b r i l l i a n c e and poetry. Green's a r t i s t r y is described as "the s c i n -t i l l a t i n g v i r t uo s i t y of the surgeon." Shapiro, Stephen A. "Henry Green's Back: The Presence of the Past." C r i t ique , 7, No. 1 (Spring 1964), 87-96. Some of Back's mystery and exotic f lavour is l o s t when the novel i s f o r c i b l y contained within "depth psychology." Shapiro sees Charley as the v ict im of an Oedipus complex, and t r i e s to f i t imagery, dialogue, and everything e l se, into th i s pattern. Snow, C. P. "Books and Writers. " The Spectator, 22 September 1950, p. 320. Snow rebuts Green's a r t i c l e "The English Novel of the Future" with sarcasm and rhetor ic such as " t h i s perverse aesthet ic , " " a r t i s t i c d i f f idence and decay," and so on. Profoundly unsympathetic to Green's a t t i tudes , d i s t r u s t fu l of what he views as a f f ec ta t i on , and completely obl iv ious to the s ly humour of ENF, Snow succeeds in po lar iz ing the two schools of f i c t i o n . Green did not reply. Southern, Terry. "The Art of F i c t i o n . " Paris Review, 19 (1958), 60-77. Southern has created a most st imulating and de f t l y arranged interview with Green, which manages to convey a real sense of the author 's whimsical personal i ty. Elsewhere, Green has sa id, "Explana-t ion k i l l s l i f e . I t becomes argument, and is s t e r i l e . " Here he does a l i t t l e expla in ing, a l be i t i n d i r e c t l y , and the results are i n -valuable. Stokes, Edward. "Henry Green, Dispossessed Poet." Austral ian Quarterly, 28, No. 4 (1956), 84-91. This a r t i c l e is largely contained in (and superseded by) Stokes's book, The Novels of Henry Green, which was published three years l a t e r . . The Novels of Henry Green. London: The Hogarth Press, 1959. 149 This book of c r i t i c i s m , the f i r s t to appear on Green, has a par-t i c u l a r l y f ine opening chapter—a sort of aer ia l survey of the novels which picks out essential paradoxes and ambiguities in each. After these "P re l im inar ie s , " Stokes sett les down to a careful and resource-fu l study of the f i c t i o n under d i s t i n c t headings: characters, narra-t i ve technique, p l o t , symbolism, and so on. Although th i s book was published over f i f t e e n years ago, there are two areas in which Stokes's work has not been improved upon: his interpretat ions of the colour symbolism, and his painstaking analysis of s t y l e . Although the use of s t a t i s t i c a l tables in the l a t t e r often seems an overly heavy burden to place upon a s ty le as magical as Green's, Stokes draws some interest ing and sometimes surpr is ing conclusions. Sutherland, James, ed. The Oxford Book of English Talk. Oxford: Claren-don Press, 1953. Green reviewed th i s book in his a r t i c l e , "The Spoken Word as Written. " English Talk contains a repr int of a conversation from Back ( in "chapter" four, between Charley Summers and Mrs. Frazier) under the t i t l e , "London Landlady." Sutherland's preface claims that his book i s the f i r s t to record how the English actua l ly speak. Green challenged t h i s , ind icat ing that the a r t i s t i c rendering of dialogue i s not a tape-recording. Taylor, Donald S. "Ca ta l y t i c Rhetoric: Henry Green's Theory of the Modern Novel." C r i t i c i sm , 7 (1965), 81-99. Taylor juxtaposes a study of Doting with passages from Green's radio talks and "The English Novel of the Future" to produce a scholar ly and l uc id explanation of the " c a t a l y t i c " (as opposed to " d e f i n i t i v e " ) novel. In the process, he makes some valuable d i s -coveries about how structure, imagery, and symbol shape the reader 's response, while at the same time they provide for freedom of i n t e r -pretat ion. T i n d a l l , W. Y. Forces in Modern B r i t i s h L i terature 1885-1956. New York: Knopf, 1956. In th i s discussion of Loving and Concluding, T indal l re i terates the theme of his study of Green in The L i terary Symbol: that the symbolic elements in Green's novels set up "a re f lex i ve re la t ionsh ip , " suggesting meanings that elude statement. To t h i s , the c r i t i c adds some thoughts about the "loose ends" in Green's work; for instance, "Inconclusiveness becomes a form for attempted conclusions or for the very fee l ing of l i f e and our ideas of i t . " . The L i terary Symbol. Bloomington: Indiana Univers ity Press, 1955. Green's work provides the i l l u s t r a t i o n for T i n d a l l ' s th i rd " va r ie ty " of symbolic novel: "a system of almost equal elements, co-hering not by subordination to a great image or a narrative but by glancing r e f l e c t i o n . " T indal l offers readings of Party Going and Loving but makes no attempt to produce a "system" which would explain the " r e f l ex i ve f l i c k e r i n g " of symbolic elements. 150 Toynbee, P h i l i p . Review of Caught, by Henry Green. Mew Statesman and  Nation, 25 (1943), 422. Toynbee, l i k e some other c r i t i c s , approaches Green by placing him in the t r ad i t i on of Flaubert, Firbank and V i r g i n i a Woolf, as opposed to "the grand t rad i t i on of mora l i s t s " to which Graham Greene belongs. Famil iar as he is with Green's previous work, he indicates the a r t i s t i c growth from Pack My Bag to Caught, and stresses the "perpetual intrus ion of the abnormal on the normal" in the world of London at war. . "The Novels of Henry Green." Partisan Review, 16 (1949), 487-97. This i s an important a r t i c l e on Green, and perhaps the best short discussion of his s t y l e . Like Thomas Wolfe and V i r g in i a Woolf, Henry M i l l e r and James Joyce, Green is a "Te r ro r i s t " of the English language, prepared to take r i sks with his medium rather than write the journeyman prose so eas i l y digested by the reader. Toynbee i s pa r t i cu l a r l y e f fec t i ve in describing the pecu l ia r , " j u s t out of focus" viewpoint Green succeeds in persuading his readers to adopt. T r i l l i n g , Diana. " . . . the Comic View." New York Times Book Review, 26 March 1950, p. 1. T r i l l i n g defines the subtle appeal of Nothing as Green's " refusal to choose" (between the generations) which, in the end, becomes his refusal to s a c r i f i c e l i v i n g fo r p r i nc i p l e . She is espec ia l l y percep-t i ve about s t y le : "His syntax is his own wi ld but b r i l l i a n t secret. " Turner, Myron. "The Imagery of Wallace Stevens and Henry Green." Wisconsin Studies in Contemporary L i te ra ture , 8 (Winter 1967), 60-77. Turner perceives a s i m i l a r i t y between Stevens and Green which places the l a t t e r ' s work in a fresh and stimulating perspective. Neither a r t i s t , says Turner, works with correspondences in the i r symbolic presentation, hence the i r imagery reveals states of con-sciousness rather than "hidden meanings." Concentrating on Party  Going and Concluding, Turner draws some interest ing conclusions about the "statuesque qua l i t y " of the imagery. Weatherhead, A. Kingsley. A Reading of Henry Green. Seatt le: Univers ity of Washington Press, 1961. In his " Introduct ion, " Weatherhead admits to l im i t i n g his discus-sion to the theme of se l f - c reat ion in Green's novels; aspects i r r e l e -vant to th i s "order" have been consciously s a c r i f i c ed . The resu l t ing f u l l - l e ng th study is extremely readable, well-organized and, in places, highly entertain ing. Weatherhead is ingenious in his moul-ding of "images of he l l and analogues of the dark night of the soul " to his central theme, but in de l iberate ly ignoring the comic s p i r i t which is everywhere at work, he misses the complexity, the exotic blend of tones, and much of the ambiguity. One cannot accept many of Weatherhead's conclusions, because of everything that does not " f i t , " 151 but the working out of the theory contains some fasc inat ing points, espec ia l ly about s ty le ( for instance, his discussion of the use of heroic s imi le and other "equivalences" in L iv ing ) . Welty, Eudora. "Henry Green: A Novelist of the Imagination." Texas  Quarterly, 4, No. 3 (Autumn 1961), 246-56. Welty's a r t i c l e is perhaps the most remarkable yet written about Green. Ranging through his work, she touches on most aspects of technique and themes, often capturing an ent i re novel with a meta-phor ("Concluding is l i k e Venus on a c lear evening going down over water"). Among the many insights in her essay are inspired compari-sons with Jane Austen and Will iam Faulkner. West, Paul. The Modern Novel, Vo l . 2. London: Hutchinson & Co., 1963, pp. 85-87. West provides a sketch of symbolism in Green's work which, a l -though b r i e f , makes some valuable comments; fo r instance, " i n Nothing and Doting, the subtlety of the symbolism is transferred to the intonations of speech." Wyndham, Francis. "Twenty-five Years of the Novel." The Craft of  Letters in England: A Symposium. Ed. John Lehmann. London: The Cresset Press, 1956, pp. 44-59. Wyndham makes a br ie f mention of Green, along with El izabeth Bowen, Anthony Powell and Joyce Cary, who "demand an a lertness, even a facu l ty of i n t u i t i o n , in the i r readers." B. SELECTED SECONDARY SOURCES Abrahams, Roger D. "The L i terary Study of the Riddle. " Texas Studies in L i terature and Language, 14 (1972), 177-97. Auerbach, Er ich. Mimesis: The Representation of Real i ty in Western L i terature. Trans. Wi l lard R. Trask. Princeton: Princeton Univer-s i t y Press, 1953. Austen, Jane. Persuasion, with A Memoir of Jane Austen. Ed. D. W. Harding. 1818; rpt . Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1965. Barth, John. Lost in the Funhouse. New York: Doubleday, 1968. Barzun, Jacques. "Detection and L i te ra tu re . " The Energies of Ar t . 2nd ed. New York: Random House, 1962. Bergson, Henri. "Laughter." In Comedy. Ed. Wylie Sypher. Garden C i ty : Doubleday and Co., 1956. 152 Booth, Wayne C. The Rhetoric of F i c t i on . Chicago: The Univers ity of Chicago Press, 1961. Brumm, Ursula. "Symbolism and the Novel." Trans. Wi l lard R. Trask. Partisan Review, 25 (1958), 329-42. Compton-Burnett, Ivy. Brothers and S i s ter s . London: V ictor Gollancz L td . , 1929. . Manservant and Maidservant. London: V ictor Gollancz L td . , 1947. Connolly, C y r i l . Enemies of Promise. New York: Macmillan, 1948. Cur t i s , Lewis Perry, ed. Letters of Laurence Sterne. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1935. Daiches, David. V i r g i n i a Woolf. 1942; rpt . with rev i s ions, New York: New Direct ions, 1963. Davis, Herbert J . The Augustan Art of Conversation. Vancouver: Univer-s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1957. Deneau, Daniel P. "Non-Functional Contradictions in Robbe-Gr i l let ' s Jealousy." The International F i c t i on Review, 1, No. 1 (Jan. 1974), 62-64. Dick, Kay. "Mr. Pinter and The Fearful Matter." Texas Quarterly, 4 (1961), 257-65. Dickens, Charles. Bleak House. Ed. Norman Page. 1853; rp t . Harmonds-worth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1971. Edel, Leon. The Modern Psychological Novel. 1955; rpt . with rev i s ions, New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1964. E isenstein, Sergei M. The Film Sense. Trans. Jay Leyda. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1942. Enck, John. "John Barth: An Interview." Wisconsin Studies in Contem-porary L i te ra tu re , 6 (Winter-Spring 1965), 3-14. Friedman, Alan. The Turn of the Novel. Oxford: Oxford Univers ity Press, 1966. Frye, Northrop. The Educated Imagination. Bloomington: Indiana Univer-s i t y Press, 1964. . The Modern Century. London: Oxford Univers ity Press, 1969. 153 Goddard, Harold C. "A Pre-Freudian Reading of The Turn of the Screw." Twentieth Century Interpretations of The Turn of the Screw And Other  Tales. Ed. Jane P. Tompkins. Englewood C l i f f s , N.J.: Prent ice-H a l l , 1970. Goldknopf, David. The L i fe of the Novel. Chicago: The Univers ity of Chicago Press, 1972. G re l l a , George. "Murder and Manners: The Formal Detective Novel." Novel, 4 (1970), 30-48. Gwynn, F. L. and J . L. Blotner, eds. Faulkner in the Univers i ty. Char-l o t t e s v i l l e : The Univers ity of V i r g in i a Press, 1959. Howe, I rv ing. "The Idea of the Modern." The Idea of the Modern in L i terature and the Arts . Ed. Irving Howe. New York: Horizon Press, 1967. James, Henry. The Art of the Novel. 1907; rpt . New York: Charles Scr ibner ' s Sons, 1934. Marcotte, Edward. "The Space of a Novel." Partisan Review, 41, No. 2 (1974), 263-72. Maurois, Andre. La Conversation. Par is : L i b r a i r i e Hachette, 1964. Mendilow, A. A. Time and the Novel. London: N e v i l l , 1952. M i l l e r , David Neal. "Authorial Point of View in V i r g i n i a Wool f s Mrs. Dalloway." Journal of Narrative Technique, I, No. 1 (1971), 126-31. Morr issette, Bruce. "A la in Robbe-Gr i l let . " Columbia Essays on Modern  Writers, No. 34. New York: Columbia Univers ity Press, 1965. Muecke, D. C. Irony. London: Methuen, 1970. O 'Brien, Flann. At-Swim-Two-Birds. London: MacGibbon & Kee, 1939. P inter , Harold. The Birthday Party. London: Methuen, 1960. Pope, Alexander. The Rape of the Lock and Other Poems. Ed. Geoffrey T i l l o t s o n . 3rd ed. London: Methuen, 1962. Robbe-Gr i l let, A l a i n . The Erasers. Trans. Richard Howard. New York: Grove Press, 1964. . For a New Novel: Essays on F i c t i on . Trans. Richard Howard. New York: Grove Press, 1965. . Last Year at Marienbad. Trans. Richard Howard. New York: Grove Press, 1962. 154 Robbe-Gri l let, A l a i n . Two Novels by Robbe-Gri l let: Jealousy and In the  Labyrinth. Trans. Richard Howard. 1957, 1959; rpt . New York: Grove Press, 1965. Sarraute, Nathalie. The Age of Suspicion: Essays on the Novel. Trans. Maria Jo las. New York: George B r a z i l l e r , 1963. Sartre, Jean Paul. What is L iterature? Trans. Bernard Frechtman. New York: Harper & Rowe, 1965. Shipley, Joseph T., ed. Dictionary of World L i terature. New York: The Philosophical L ibrary, 1943. Shklovsky, V iktor . "A Parodying Novel: Sterne's Tristram Shandy." Laurence Sterne: A Co l lect ion of C r i t i c a l Essays. Ed. John Traugott. Englewood C l i f f s , N.J.: P rent i ce -Ha l l , 1968. Steegmuller, Francis, ed. The Selected Letters of Gustave Flaubert. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1954. Sterne, Laurence. The L i f e and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. Ed. James A. Work. 1760-67; rp t . New York: The Odyssey Press, 1940. Stevick, P h i l i p . "Sentimental ity and Class ic F i c t i o n . " Mosaic, 4, No. 3 (1971), 23-31. Traugott, John. Tristram Shandy's World: Sterne's Philosophical Rhetoric. New York: Russell & Russe l l , 1954. Vo l t a i r e , Francois Marie Aronet de. Letters Concerning the English  Nation, Vo l . 5. London: Westminster Press, 1926. Wellek, Rene, and Austin Warren. Theory of L i terature. New York: Har-court, 1949. Woolf, V i r g i n i a . Collected Essays. 4 vols . Ed. Leonard Woolf. London: Chatto and Windus, 1966. . Mrs. Dalloway. London: Hogarth Press, 1925. . Orlando: A Biography. London: Hogarth Press, 1928. . To the Lighthouse. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1927. 


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items