Interest Envy

“To these things the young man with the book was still more clearly indifferent; lingering, credulous, absorbed, he was an object of envy to an observer from whose connection with literature all such artlessness had faded”

James, “The Middle Years,” p. 336.

Dencombe is a man who is ill and lost the thrill for life, and watching a young healthy man be so encapsulated by art and literature makes him envious because his illness and criticalness of his own art doesn’t allow him to be. Through the lens of the observer, it is tragic to have a love of yours dwindle because you can no longer find meaning for it, while others young and willful can be so engrossed so effortlessly.