One evening in March 1869, Henry James visited William and Jane Morris in their rooms over Morris’s London shop. It was, James told his sister Alice, a “long, rich sort of visit, with a strong peculiar flavor of its own”—and not one that he wished to repeat. The peculiar flavor came from the long, strong body of Jane Morris.

“Oh, ma chère, such a wife! Je n’en reviens pas—she haunts me still.” James saw the muse of the age as a ghost, shadowed in the morbid eclipse of art.

A figure cut out of a missal—out of one of Rossetti’s or Hunt’s pictures—to say this gives but a faint idea of her, because when such an image puts on flesh and blood, it is an apparition of fearful and wonderful intensity. It’s hard to say whether...

 
Popular Right Now