Henry James: The Essayist Behind the Novelist (Studies in American Literature v.59)

Henry James: The Essayist Behind the Novelist (Studies in American Literature v.59)

By: Shudong Chen (author)Hardback

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This study explores the essay as a "genre" and its relation to other genres, most significantly the novel, with a focus on Henry James. For theoretical dimensions, it compares Lukac's and Adorno's critical theories on the essay; for historical contexts, it discusses James's contemporary critics including Arnold, Carlyle, Ruskin, Newman, Mill, Macaulay, Pater, St. Beuve and Emerson. It examines the importance of James's essays and explains how the overlooked critical spirit inherent in them motivated his novelistic career. It argues that his essays reveal dialectically conflicting and complementary relationships between the genre of the essay and that of the novel and that these relationships account for various conflicting perceptions of James.


Preface i; Acknowledgements vii; Introduction 1; Chapter 1; James as an Essayist: An Overview 13; I. Why is James an Essayist and What Is the Essay? 13; II. Where Are the Defining Lines among a Critic, a Philosopher, and an Essayist? 25; III. The Novel and the Essay as Symbiosis 32; IV. James the Essayist Portrayed through His Critics' Responses 36; V. Conclusion: James the Essayist to be Understood in His Own Terms 56; Chapter 2; The Constituents of the Essay 61; I. How Well Is the Essay Understood? Defining the Essay in Terms of What Is Repeatedly Missing and Overlapped in the General Views of the Essay 61; II. How and Why does Lukacs's View of the Essay Stand out? 65; III. How and Why Is Adorno's View of the Essay Important? 72; IV. The Essay and the Victorians: Arnold, Carlyle, Newman, Ruskin, Mill, Macauley, and Pater 83; V. Conclusion: The Essay as Responsive and Responsible Response to the Ever Changing Reality 94; Chapter 3; The Portrait of James as an Essayist through His Essays 97; I. The Role and Future of Literature and Criticism 101; (1) The Message of Hope: The Essay and Idealism 104; (2) The Means of Reconciliation: The Essay and Pragmatism 107; (3) The Power and Freedom of Prophecy: The Essay and Personality 114; II. Arnold, Emerson, and Carlyle: The Exemplary Essayists as James Perceives Them 121; (1) Matthew Arnold: The Essayist of Idealism, Pragmatism, and Personality 123; (2) Ralph Waldo Emerson: The Untiring Essayist who Indefatigably Maneuvers for Balance in Movement 129; (3) Thomas Carlyle: The Essayist who Protests and Prophesizes for the Best yet to Come 138; III. The Essay, Gender, and Discourse along and across Socially Imposed Gender Lines 144; IV. Conclusion: The Essay and James Mutually Illuminating 156; Chapter 4; The Portrait of James as an Essayist through His Prefaces 159; I. To Essay Is to Recognize "the Absolute" 162; (1) "The Absolute" Recognized as Insatiable Yearning for Elusive Perfection 163; (2) "The Absolute" Recognized in the Form of Truth and Untruth, Life and Knowledge 165; (3) "The Absolute" Recognized as Interacting Power of Perception and Imagination, Impulse and Intelligence 168; II. To Essay is to Do "the Absolute" in its Own Terms: The Issues of Uncertainty of Knowledge, Reality and Reconciliation 170

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780773467682
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 280
  • ID: 9780773467682
  • ISBN10: 0773467688

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