Dim Underworld of Fiction

“He lived once more into his story and was drawn down, as by a siren’s hand, to where, in the dim underworld of fiction, the great glazed tank of art, strange silent subjects float.”

James, “The Middle Years,” 337.

The murky diction (silent, float, dim) and fantastical imagery (siren, underworld) that James uses to describe Dencombe observing his literary work, implies a kind of transformation made possible through the consumption of art. The quote suggests that a work of art may transport the consumer to another world, another kind of thinking.