James's prefaces to the New York edition of his work (1907-9) offer plain-speech terms like "picture," "scene," and "center of consciousness" to describe the compositional effects he most valued. This rough vocabulary only whets the appetite of percy Lubbock, James's most influential follower, who almost twenty years later is driven to write "The Craft of Fiction"(1921) because of his felt "want of a received nomenclature" (90) in the Anglo-American study of fiction.

I want to know the meaning of " want of a received nomenclature" and to know "his" in the cited sentenc refers to whom. Because I think in this sentence "felt" is verb.

Dose "his" refer to the work of James?

Correct me if I am wrong. Thanks in advance.

1 Answer 1


This is "want" as a noun, synonymous with a lack or an absence. 

This "his" refers to Percy Lubbock, author of The Craft of Fiction.  His feeling (that the study of Anglo-American fiction didn't have a received nomenclature) is presented as the reason that he wrote the book.  As a reason for that book, it is a reason of that author. 

This "felt" is a so-called past participle.  Participles are non-finite verb forms, which lack tense and do not require subjects.  In this sentence it does a job typically done by adjectives, modifying the noun phrase formed by "want". 

  • Lots of thanks. Do you mean that "his felt" = "his feeling" And could you tell me what is the meaning of "received nomenclature"? Dose it mean that Anglo-American study of fiction needs to receive new terminology. And does "study of fiction" mean: in the research that is done by Anglo-American? Dec 24, 2018 at 16:45
  • 1
    Um, no, not directly. The phrasing "his felt want" is closer to "the absence that he felt" -- with "felt" modifying "want" and "his" modifying "felt want". Similar semantics, distinct grammar. The participle "felt" doesn't work the same as the noun "feeling". In this context, "received" means something like "accepted as a standard". That's a chiefly British usage, as seen in the phrase "received pronunciation". My American dialect might use "established" or "standardized" rather than "received". "Anglo-American study" is what both English students and American students do in common. Dec 24, 2018 at 19:06

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