Reviving an Art

“He grew vivid, in the balmy air, to his companion, for whose deep refreshment he seemed to have been sent; and was particularly ingenuous in describing how recently he had become acquainted, and how instantly infatuated, with the only man who had put flesh between the ribs of an art that was starving on superstitions.”

James, The Middle Years, 342

Doctor Hugh, a young man, holds great admiration for Dencombe’s work as a revitalization of the art form.  Does this imply that the newer generation of readers were longing for a flight from tradition with new and exciting prose?