- "Wasn't all history full of the destruction of precious things?": Missing Mothers, Feminized Fathers, and the Purchase of Freedom in Henry James's The Portrait of a Lady
- The Henry James Review
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 26, Number 2, Spring 2005
- pp. 147-167
- View Citation
- Additional Information
This essay explores the way that James's experience with the Civil War led him to challenge popular assumptions regarding gender roles, familial structures, and the guiding principles of democracy in his novel. By analyzing his complicated military metaphors and characters that redefine and disrupt popular notions of maternity and paternity, the essay uncovers a critical commentary on the link between democratic principles and capitalistic motivation.