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Article: The geopolitics of literature: The shifting international theme in the works of Henry James

TitleThe geopolitics of literature: The shifting international theme in the works of Henry James
Authors
KeywordsHenry James
Imperialism
Transatlantic relations
Issue Date2012
PublisherInternational History Review. The Journal's web site is located at http://www.sfu.ca/ihr
Citation
International History Review, 2012, v. 34 n. 1, p. 89-114 How to Cite?
AbstractThis article demonstrates how changes in Henry James' handling of the international theme, that is Europeans and Americans compared, can be correlated to alterations in the international position of the United States itself. It argues that, whereas in his novels and stories of the 1870s/early 1880s (Roderick Hudson, Daisy Miller, The American, The Europeans, Portrait of a Lady), it is the Americans who are generally the innocents and victims (albeit sometimes victims of deracinated, cosmopolitan, Europeanized Americans), when James returned to that theme on a major level in the early 1900s (The Ambassadors, Wings of the Dove, Golden Bowl), in many ways one can argue it is now the Europeans or Europeanized Americans who are the victims of the Americans. This change can be correlated with James' own perceptions of the growing international power of the US, as shown in the Venezuela crisis and the Spanish-American War, and his comments on the wealth of Americans, including such wealthy J P Morgan-style collectors as Adam Verver in The Golden Bowl. Although one rarely thinks of James as a political novelist, in reality at this time he commented extensively on the changing international scene, particularly in correspondence with his brother William, the pragmatist philosopher, who was a strong anti-imperialist and spoke out vigorously against American policies. The article ends by commenting on James' final, including his unfinished works, written after he visited the US in 1904-5. It also highlights some resonances with James' own life, particularly in terms of the cosmopolitan American expatriates (some admirable, some quite the reverse) who feature so largely in his novels. Fleeing to Europe was in some ways an escape for him, distancing him from family pressures to settle down and marry, and perhaps from a family and milieu that, however much he loved them, he found stifling and suffocating. Europe, by contrast, gave him not just the artistic material he needed, but also a refuge where he could live a life he found far more congenial. Again, one can argue that, in his later novels, the expatriates are now largely victims rather than the villains they have often rather spectacularly been in earlier works. It is the Americans, armoured in wealth and innocence, who are now by far the more dangerous protagonists. © 2012 Taylor & Francis.
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/146455
ISSN
2015 SCImago Journal Rankings: 0.185
ISI Accession Number ID
References

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorRoberts, Pen_HK
dc.date.accessioned2012-04-24T07:55:15Z-
dc.date.available2012-04-24T07:55:15Z-
dc.date.issued2012en_HK
dc.identifier.citationInternational History Review, 2012, v. 34 n. 1, p. 89-114en_HK
dc.identifier.issn0707-5332en_HK
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/146455-
dc.description.abstractThis article demonstrates how changes in Henry James' handling of the international theme, that is Europeans and Americans compared, can be correlated to alterations in the international position of the United States itself. It argues that, whereas in his novels and stories of the 1870s/early 1880s (Roderick Hudson, Daisy Miller, The American, The Europeans, Portrait of a Lady), it is the Americans who are generally the innocents and victims (albeit sometimes victims of deracinated, cosmopolitan, Europeanized Americans), when James returned to that theme on a major level in the early 1900s (The Ambassadors, Wings of the Dove, Golden Bowl), in many ways one can argue it is now the Europeans or Europeanized Americans who are the victims of the Americans. This change can be correlated with James' own perceptions of the growing international power of the US, as shown in the Venezuela crisis and the Spanish-American War, and his comments on the wealth of Americans, including such wealthy J P Morgan-style collectors as Adam Verver in The Golden Bowl. Although one rarely thinks of James as a political novelist, in reality at this time he commented extensively on the changing international scene, particularly in correspondence with his brother William, the pragmatist philosopher, who was a strong anti-imperialist and spoke out vigorously against American policies. The article ends by commenting on James' final, including his unfinished works, written after he visited the US in 1904-5. It also highlights some resonances with James' own life, particularly in terms of the cosmopolitan American expatriates (some admirable, some quite the reverse) who feature so largely in his novels. Fleeing to Europe was in some ways an escape for him, distancing him from family pressures to settle down and marry, and perhaps from a family and milieu that, however much he loved them, he found stifling and suffocating. Europe, by contrast, gave him not just the artistic material he needed, but also a refuge where he could live a life he found far more congenial. Again, one can argue that, in his later novels, the expatriates are now largely victims rather than the villains they have often rather spectacularly been in earlier works. It is the Americans, armoured in wealth and innocence, who are now by far the more dangerous protagonists. © 2012 Taylor & Francis.en_HK
dc.languageengen_US
dc.publisherInternational History Review. The Journal's web site is located at http://www.sfu.ca/ihren_HK
dc.relation.ispartofInternational History Reviewen_HK
dc.rightsPREPRINT This is a preprint of an article whose final and definitive form has been published in the [JOURNAL TITLE] [year of publication] [copyright Taylor & Francis]; [JOURNAL TITLE] is available online at: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/ with the open URL of your article POSTPRINT ‘This is an electronic version of an article published in [include the complete citation information for the final version of the article as published in the print edition of the journal]. [JOURNAL TITLE] is available online at: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/ with the open URL of your article.en_US
dc.subjectHenry Jamesen_HK
dc.subjectImperialismen_HK
dc.subjectTransatlantic relationsen_HK
dc.titleThe geopolitics of literature: The shifting international theme in the works of Henry Jamesen_HK
dc.typeArticleen_HK
dc.identifier.emailRoberts, P: proberts@hku.hken_HK
dc.identifier.authorityRoberts, P=rp01195en_HK
dc.description.naturelink_to_subscribed_fulltext-
dc.identifier.doi10.1080/07075332.2012.668337en_HK
dc.identifier.scopuseid_2-s2.0-84863532701en_HK
dc.identifier.hkuros199159en_US
dc.relation.referenceshttp://www.scopus.com/mlt/select.url?eid=2-s2.0-84863532701&selection=ref&src=s&origin=recordpageen_HK
dc.identifier.volume34en_HK
dc.identifier.issue1en_HK
dc.identifier.spage89en_HK
dc.identifier.epage114en_HK
dc.identifier.isiWOS:000305061400005-
dc.publisher.placeCanadaen_HK
dc.identifier.scopusauthoridRoberts, P=8765197900en_HK

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