Reading Henry James

A Critical Perspective on Selected Works


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About the Book

Henry James (1843–1916) has been championed as an historian of social conscience and attacked as a spokesman for social privilege. His Americanness has been questioned by nativists and defended by Brahmins. Critics took issue with his lucidly complex style. “It’s not that he bites off more than he can chew, but that he chews more than he bites off,” a contemporary complained. Although he was an acknowledged master in his final years, James’ narrow readership has dwindled in the century since his death.
This book examines allusions, sources and affinities in James’ vast body of work to interpret his literary intentions. Chapters provide close analysis of Daisy Miller, The American, The Beast in the Jungle and The Wings of the Dove. His fascination with poet Robert Browning is discussed, along with his complicated relationship with Marian “Clover” Adams and her husband, Henry, who was the author of The Education of Henry Adams.
Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

George Monteiro is a professor emeritus of English and of Portuguese and Brazilian studies at Brown University and the author or editor of books on Henry James, Henry Adams, Robert Frost, Stephen Crane, Emily Dickinson, Fernando Pessoa, and Luis de Camões, among others.

Bibliographic Details

George Monteiro
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 188
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6585-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2550-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface  1

1. The Manuscript  5

2. The Californian  13

3. Madame Merle  21

4. Fathers and Sons  29

5. Lessons of Browning  33

6. The Destructive Self  41

7. Portraits of Friends  53

8. Artifice in “The Real Thing”  69

9. “The Pupil” Rejected  72

10. New Christians and “The Liar”  79

11. The Poynton Marbles  93

12. The Caretaker  95

13. Figure in the Carpet  98

14. Identity Theft  105

15. Great White Hunter  108

16. The Example of Late James  120

17. Quest for Truth  130

18. The Spirited Daisy  134

19. The Wings of Doves  136

20. Innocence or Experience  140

21. Fathers and Daughters  146

22. The Double Bind  150

Chapter Notes  155

Bibliography  167

Index  173

Book Reviews & Awards

“This collection savors every Jamesian detail”—American Literature; “A little gem of a volume…delightful…sustained and fully developed readings”—American Literary Realism.