Abstract

This essay reads Roderick Hudson, together with some of James's art reviews from the 1870s, to show how James came to distinguish his own form of art from competing trends in realism and aestheticism. Setting himself apart from the objectivist, photographic orientation of American realism, as well as from related, anti-humanist trends in European aestheticism, James insisted on a subdued, exploratory engagement between the spectator and the art object, loosely modeled on a relation between friends. Though this dialogical model had some drawbacks, it also contained a prescient critique of nineteenth-century anti-humanism, the aesthetics of shock, and an emergent line of modernism that has continued to shape views on art and culture in our time.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6555
Print ISSN
0273-0340
Pages
pp. 168-188
Launched on MUSE
2005-05-18
Open Access
No
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