restricted access "Terrible Traps to Memory": National Monuments, Collective Memory, and Women in Henry James


Examining the conflict between personal and collective memory manifested in some of James's autobiographical and fictional writings (The American Scene, The Bostonians, "Pandora," and "A Modern Warning"), this paper focuses on the ways in which his female protagonists confront and resist the dominant historical discourse inscribed in monuments and other sites of memory that officially reinforce patriotic national sentiments. Challenging the institutional function of collective memory and the shortcomings of American democracy, James's centers of consciousness rupture the cohesion targeted by national memorializing practices, offering a revisionist account of national identity and belonging.