"Philip Larkin, in his poem 'Dockery and Son', written in 1963 when he was 41, raised a question that would also preoccupy Henry James in his 40s, the question of being single and childless. In 'Dockery and Son', the poet discovers that Dockery, 'that withdrawn / High-collared public schoolboy', who was junior to him at college, must have had a son when aged 19 or 20. As the poet travels away, he thinks about his fate: 'To have no son, no wife, / No house or land still seemed quite natural.' Dockery, on the other hand, clearly thought that 'adding meant increase', whereas to the poet 'it was dilution'.
On January 5 1888, when Henry James was in his mid-40s, he recorded in his notebook a conversation with the journalist Theodore Child 'about the effect of marriage on the artist, the man of letters etc. He mentioned the cases he had seen in Paris in which this effect had been fatal to the quality of the work etc - through overproduction, need to meet expenses, make a figure etc. And I mentioned certain cases here.'