so dangling before us for ever that bright hard medal

No themes are so human as those that reflect for us, out of the confusion of life, the close connexion of bliss and bale, of the things that help with the things that hurt, so dangling before us for ever that bright hard medal, of so strange an alloy, one face of which is somebody’s right and ease and the other somebody’s pain and wrong.

— Henry James, 1908 preface to What Maisie Knew

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