Henry James & The Great YA Debate


Responding to the ongoing debate about whether or not American literature is saturated with young adult fiction (and if adults should read these novels), Christopher Beha, in the New Yorker, addresses A.O. Scott’s recent essay in the New York Times Magazine. While Scott dismisses Henry James and Edith Wharton as “outliers,” Beha refutes this point, arguing that the difference between James, and say, Mark Twain, is that the former writes about women. Ultimately, a distinction James makes in “The Art of Fiction,” between “the artist’s subject matter and the treatment of that matter,” Beha continues, should help make sense of the dilemma.

Alex Norcia is a writer living in Brooklyn. His work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in VICE, The Millions, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Electric Literature, Word Riot, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among others. He is an editor-at-large at The Offing. More from this author →