Abstract

This essay argues that the character of Mona Brigstock in Henry James's The Spoils of Poynton represents a crisis in James's understanding of realism and the abstract realist reader. An uncharacteristically flat character, Mona embodies James's fear that the kind of subject realism valorized was in the process of disappearing. Through Mona, James works out what is perhaps a worse possiblity—that the rare and valuable realist subject was not disappearing at all. Rather, that subject was slowly transforming and assimilating into an increasingly vulgar and aspiring public that would in turn vulgarize realist values and strategies of reading.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6555
Print ISSN
0273-0340
Pages
pp. 42-60
Launched on MUSE
2006-02-08
Open Access
No
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