TitleLate Henry James
NameNielsen, Ezra (author), Jehlen, Myra (chair), Levine, George (internal member), Evans, Brad (internal member), Posnock, Ross (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
SubjectLiteratures in English,
James, Henry, 1843-1916-Criticism and interpretation,
Conrad, Joseph, 1857-1924-Criticism and interpretation
DescriptionMy dissertation, Late Henry James: Money, War and the End of Writing, revises the dominant account of Henry James’s late work by reading it as an urgent response to its contemporary history. I hope to show that the impenetrability of James’s late work articulated his increasing perplexity before alien and intractable historical developments. In my account, James’s notoriously dense and elusive late style is in fact a plastic, encompassing, indeed lucid effort to understand certain social and political transformations. James’s late writings might be described as evolving toward a Conradian view of history, a sense that the modern social order is inherently rapacious and violent. For instance, The Golden Bowl, James’s last major completed novel, is a fiction of moral, historical, and epistemological crises, intertwined in the form of an all-encompassing, tortuously convoluted late style. His old themes and their moral orders have evolved into their own exaggerated convolutions, indeed have developed into irresolvable moral contradictions. Money, ascendant and aggressive, seems increasingly to define and control the moral realm. The American girl (a perennial James type) has become almost monstrous; self-consciously wielding her money, she imposes an American innocence that now appears as a moral deformation, as a moral darkness. The argument of my dissertation, as I have just described it, is embodied as well in its method, a way of thinking, of reading, of writing, and of teaching literature. This method arises from the principle that literary objects are instruments of knowledge. Attending to the formal development of James’s late work reveals a rich epistemological horizon that encompasses nothing less than the historico-political world.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Ezra Nielsen
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.