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Henry James (15 April 1843


(15 April 1843 28 February 1916) by Brief Introduction An American-British writer ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Henry James (15 April 1843

Henry James(15 April 1843 28 February 1916)
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Brief Introduction
  • An American-British writer
  • born in America
  • alternated between America and Europe
  • settled in England, becoming a British subject
  • key figure of 19th-century literary realism
  • Americans encountering Europe and Europeans
  • from the point of view of a character
  • consciousness and perception

Brief Introduction
  • Contributed significantly to literary criticism
  • freedom in presenting view of the world
  • containing a representation of life
  • imaginative use of point of view,interior
    monologue(????) and unreliable narrators
  • An extraordinarily productive writer
  • works of fiction, articles and books of travel,
    biography, autobiography, and criticism, and
  • nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature three
  • Major Works Daisy Miller (1878) The Portrait of
    a Lady (1881) The Turn of the Screw (1898) The
    Wings of the Dove ??(1902) The Ambassadors
    ??(1903) The Golden Bowl ?? (1904) The
    American (1877) The Europeans (1878) Washington
    Square (1880) The Princess Casamassima (1886)

Life Experience
  • Born in New York City on 15 April 1843
  • Family Members
  • Father Henry James Sr. is a lecturer and
  • Mother Mary Walsh came from a wealthy family long
    settled in NY City
  • A wealthy, intellectually inclined family
  • His education was calculated by his father to
    expose him to many influences
  • Three brothers, William, Wilkinson and Robertson
  • One younger sister Alice

Life Experience
  • Travels and Study in Youth
  • between Europe and the United States.
  • Longest stays were in France, became fluent in
  • Briefly and unsuccessfully attended Harvard
    University Law School at 19, and then pursued his
    interest in literature
  • Formed lifelong friendships with Oliver Wendell
    Holmes, Jr.
  • From an early age, read, criticized and learned
    from the classics
  • 1864, anonymously published his first short
    story, A Tragedy of Error

James at sixteen years old
Brief Introduction of Major Works
First novel Roderick Hudson
  • serialized in The Atlantic Monthly in 1875
  • published in book form in 1876
  • Roderick Hudson is the story of the conflict
    between art and the passions the title character
    is an American sculptor in Italy. Faltering in
    both his artistic ambitions and his personal
    relationships, he travels to Switzerland and dies

Become famous Daisy Miller
  • a novella
  • book form published 1879
  • It portrays the courtship of the beautiful
    American girl Daisy Miller by Winterbourne, a
    sophisticated compatriot(???,??) of hers. His
    pursuit of her is hampered by her own
    flirtatiousness(??), which is frowned upon by the
    other expatriates when they meet in Switzerland
    and Italy.

The first phase The Portrait of a Lady
  • first published as a serial in The Atlantic
  • The Portrait of a Lady is the story of a spirited
    young American woman, Isabel Archer, who in
    "affronting her destiny", finds it overwhelming.
    She inherits a large amount of money and
    subsequently becomes the victim of Machiavellian
    scheming by two American expatriates.
  • the masterpiece of James's early period
  • reflects James's continuing interest in the
    differences between the New World and the Old

Second phase The Turn of the Screw
  • a gothic ghost story
  • Many critics have tried to determine the exact
    nature of the evil hinted at by the story.
    However, others have argued that the true
    brilliance of the novella comes with its ability
    to create an intimate confusion and suspense for
    the reader.

Last phase His peak
  • The Wings of the Dove
  • The Ambassadors
  • The Golden Bowl

The Wings of the Dove(1902)
  • This novel tells the story of Milly Theale, an
    American heiress stricken with a serious disease,
    and her effect on the people around her. Some of
    these people befriend Milly with honorable
    motives, while others are more self-interested.

The Ambassadors(1903)
  • This dark comedy, seen as one of the masterpieces
    of James's final period, follows the trip of
    protagonist Lewis Lambert Strether to Europe in
    pursuit of Chad Newsome, his widowed fiancée's
    supposedly wayward(???) son he is to bring the
    young man back to the family business, but he
    encounters unexpected complications. The
    third-person narrative is told exclusively from
    Lewis's point of view.

The Golden Bowl(1904)
  • Set in England, this complex, intense study of
    marriage and adultery completes what some critics
    have called the "major phase" of James' career.
  • The Golden Bowl explores the tangle of
    interrelationships between a father and daughter
    and their respective spouses.
  • The novel focuses on the consciousness of the
    central characters, with sometimes obsessive
    detail but also with powerful insight.

Women in HJ's novels
  • female rolesleading position
  • noble morality and rich mentality
  • transition of womens fate
  • three stages innocence, self-determination and
    independence, maturity
  • the value of women in new age
  • depend on their own to reap the rewards of

ingenuity/ simple /naïve/ acting on first
instinct/ a symbol of natural innocence
Isabel Archer- The Portrait of a Lady
Innocent/ intelligent/ independent
Maggie Verver-The Golden Bowl
enduring / noble morality
The Founder of Psychological Realism
  • What is Psychological Novel?
  • A psychological novel, also called psychological
    realism, is a work of prose fiction which places
    more emphasis on interior characterization, and
    on the motives, circumstances, and internal
    action which springs from, and develops, external
  • The psychological novel can be called a novel of
    the "inner man," so to say.

The Founder of Psychological Realism
  • Textual Techniques in Psychological Novel
  • the Stream of Consciousness
  • Interior Monologue
  • Flashback

The Founder of Psychological Realism
  • Henry James changed the method of presentation in
    a novel, shifting the centre of gravity from
    action to its intellectual aspectsexternal
    circumstances lose significance before the inward
    events that take place in a soul.

The Founder of Psychological Realism
  • In The Wings of the Dove(1902), he discovered the
    most subtle, hazy thought and feeling of the
    characters, and he put the "beating pulse in
    space" into the image.

Henry Jamess Major Achievements
1. Style and themes
  • trans-Atlantic literature
  • characters from the Old World (Europe) and from
    the New World (United States)
  • clash of personalities and cultures in his

2. ???????Realism empiricism
  • regarded Reality as the basic principle of
  • true description of an event
  • reality is the basic criteria of judging works
  • attached greater importance to the application of

Henry James viewpoint
Every culture needs sensible, objective analysis
but not blind and absolute acceptance. Neither
complete acceptance nor entire rejection yields
desirable fruits. Guided by a cosmopolitan view
and equipped with the facility to differentiate,
one can avoid the tragedies of Daisy and treat
every culture in a proper manner. Americans can
establish all ideal culture only by assimilating
the advantages of both its own culture and
European culture.
  • Edward Wagenknecht "a work of art must lift up
    the heart, and his own novels do this to an
    outstanding degree ... "

  • Ernest Hemingway wrote an emotional letter in
    which he tried to steady himself as he thought
    James would "Pretty soon I will have to throw
    this away so I better try to be calm like Henry
    James. Did you ever read Henry James? He was a
    great writer who came to Venice and looked out
    the window and smoked his cigar and thought."

  • Jorge Luis Borges wrote about him, "Despite the
    scruples and delicate complexities of James his
    work suffers from a major defect the absence of
  • Oscar Wilde once criticised him for writing
    "fiction as if it were a painful duty"

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