Henley, W E

Born: 
1849
Died: 
1903
Forenames: 
W E
Surname: 
Henley
Writer, critic, editor. FH tells of a discussion he had with Henley in which they argued the relative merits of the play and the novel as forms of art, FH upholding the novel as the highest form. FH's argument included this passage:-

The dramatic presentation of character is, of course the best for simple characters, but suppose you want to make a complex character - suppose, for instance, you want to show your readers a man of great courage, who for some reason or other, (a weakness of heredity, drink, let us say, or some hereditary murder) is a coward at night: the spectators would not understand what you meant. You have to put in the finer qualifying shades of character by explanations. This you can do in the novel, and that's why I said that the novel was the largest form of art, a more complex form even than the play."

To my astonishment, Henley replied quite frankly: "I never thought of it, but I believe you are right"; and we became, to a certain extent, friends.

Tellingly, FH himself was 'a coward by night'.

Sources: 
LL