New PDF release: Henry James and the Father Question

By Andrew Taylor

ISBN-10: 0511018959

ISBN-13: 9780511018954

ISBN-10: 0521807220

ISBN-13: 9780521807227

The highbrow courting among Henry James and his father proved to be an influential source for the novelist. Andrew Taylor examines the character of either men's engagement with autobiographical techniques, problems with gender reform, and the language of faith. He argues for a interpreting of Henry James that's educated via an information of paternal inheritance. in the course of the learn of quite a lot of novels and texts, he demonstrates how James Senior's discussion together with his contemporaries, reminiscent of Emerson and Whitman, anticipates James's personal theories of fiction and selfhood.

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Additional resources for Henry James and the Father Question

Sample text

A, 123), to take the bare facts of existence and create with them a life expressive of a deeper significance, succinctly summarises Henry James’s autobiographical project. Both father and son were aware of the potentially liberating effect of illustration. For the future novelist, whose ‘face was turned from the first to the idea of representation – that of the gain of charm, interest, mystery, dignity, distinction, gain of importance in fine, on the part of the represented thing’ (A, 149–50), the possibility of the play of imagination on ‘the very home of the literal’ (A, 124) was irresistible; in the preface to The Spoils of Poynton, James declares that ‘the fatal futility of Fact’ could be overcome in the ‘richer soil’ of artistic creation (EWP, 1140).

On a basic level, the recurring religious presence which James detected in Howells and Renan often takes the form in his own work of specific choices of vocabulary. In The Ambassadors for example, Lambert Strether’s drama is consistently couched in terms of mystery, miracle and faith: ‘I’ve been sacrificing so to strange gods that I feel I want to put on record, somehow, my fidelity – fundamentally unchanged after all – to our own. ’ (ii, 172) 20 Henry James and the Father Question Still he could always speak for the woman he had so definitely promised to ‘save’.

18 Henry James and the Father Question transcribes in full one – ‘Lost Beliefs’ – which had, he noted, a ‘charm’ that was ‘permanent’: One after one they left us; The sweet birds out of our breasts Went flying away in the morning: Will they come again to their nests? Will they come again at nightfall, With God’s breath in their song? Noon is fierce with heats of summer And summer days are long! O my life, with thy upward liftings, Thy downward-striking roots, Ripening out of thy tender blossoms But hard and bitter fruits!

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Henry James and the Father Question by Andrew Taylor


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