Henry James is not usually read as having much to do with China or transpacific commerce. However, his writing reflects a sustained awareness of the early nineteenth-century China trade’s effect on the visual and cultural landscape of New England where the first American millionaires deposited fortunes amassed in a world system of commerce. References to the China Trade resonate in James’s intensely visual literary style through which he verbally sketches social landscapes that convey an aura of national culture. These social landscapes eventually register his deep alienation in regard to the moral implication of American fortunes.


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