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This essay considers the aesthetic and ethical workings of a keyword in James: "form." While The Golden Bowl is considered the apotheosis of Jamesian Form and "late" semantic playfulness, with seventy instances of the word in its many applications, Roderick Hudson, James's "first" novel, surprisingly displays a programmatic interest in "form" (sculpture, objets d'art, beauty, good conduct). The most interesting struggles in James–those over ethics, aesthetics, etiquette, and economics–are often enacted in a single word. Only by scrutiny of overused, self-masking words can the insidious confusion of the beautiful, the valuable, and the good be exposed.