• Herman Melville is not comforting. Emily Dickinson isn’t either. Maybe their work is too hungry for comfort, or just too vivid for comfort. But Henry James is – profoundly so. Because he is tender. The tenderness is there in the structure of the sentence. He knows the way the poor and the dead are forgotten by the living, and he cannot allow that to happen. So he keeps on writing for them, for the dead, as if they were children to be sheltered and loved, never abandoned.