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James Studies 1982: An Analytic Bibliographical Essay by Richard A. Hocks and Paul Taylor, University of Missouri-Columbia 1. INTRODUCTION In 1982 there was something of a decline in the total number of items written on Henry James, although no decline, all things considered, in their quality. It should be remembered, of course, that this annual review is always and inevitably selective, so one's speaking of "total items" is a relative matter and something of a poetic license. In any case, this year's numerical difference will, we hope, be reflected in the slightly shorter overall length of the essay, especially since last year's seemed to reach an all-time high. One finds among other things in 1982 a decided motif-theme—an observer -versus-participant idea with the corresponding question of the nature of perception in observation—running through both some of the books and a number of the articles . There was also a special number on Leon Edel in the Henry James Review, which made a fitting tribute to his unflagging —indeed incrementally expanding—work on Henry James for over fifty years. Accordingly , there will be a somewhat different classification of our headings: the "General Articles" will appear with the "Miscellaneous" ones; there will be a separate "Leon Edel" heading; and the usual "Articles on Individual Novels" will be broadened to "Individual Writings" and handled a bit more thematically rather than simply listing works in chronology: the main difference is that "General" articles will not be as much instances of the reading of an individual "text" as those in the "Individual Writings" category. A couple of other very brief observations : while there is nothing like the massive number of articles on The Portrait of a Lady found in 1981, Isabel and Osmond manage to remain prominent in some of the book-length criticism; The Golden Bowl keeps exhibiting remarkable staying power as a focus of analysis; The Turn of the Screw shows no sign of critical abatement; and, finally, Adeline Tintner once again leads all writers with eleven notes and essays, so, as was said last year about a different matter, some things do not change. 2. BOOKS Although 1981 produced R.B.J Wilson 's ultimate study on The Golden Bowl, Ralf Norrman has almost repeated the accomplishment this year in The Insecure World of Henry James's Fiction (Macmillan, 1982), an elaborate study of The Golden Bowl, although actually and more broadly about the fundamental matrix of James's mind as exhibited in the late manner. Part of this complex study repeats Norrman's discussions of "referential ambiguity of pronouns" and "end-linking" as intensitycreating devices, both of which were reviewed in this journal (HJR 2:149; 3:220), but The Insecure World seeks to establish the broader framework for such intensification and ambiguity in James. Norrman is concerned with the variety of performative language in James, especially the presence of "emphatic affirmation" and the way it blends into what Norrman calls the "finding -a-formula formula": thus, Charlotte and the Prince, for instance, both repeating "It's sacred" as the pledge of their infidelity. As such an example may suggest, emphatic affirmation as well as finding-a-formula are employed most frequently and dramatically to deceive or uphold falsehoods in James's world. Indeed, Norrman even shows that "deviance" from such performative language is usually a clue in James to what is genuine and true. The broader claim here is that such elements of James's "fictional ideolect" betoken "the marriage of intensity Volume V 158 Number 3 The Henry James Review Spring, 1984 and ambiguity"—from the confusion of referential pronouns right up through the "finding-a-formula formula"; and it is to Norrman's credit that he (a) presents an immense number of examples of all such devices, and (b) is convincing in the way he suggests how all the devices work together in James's prose. There is, for instance, a stunning discussion on that most Jamesian stylistic technique, the "unuttered utterance ." But there are larger intellectual claims here as well, and they all really have to do with Norrman's radical view of Jamesian ambiguity. One level of it...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6555
Print ISSN
0273-0340
Pages
pp. 158-186
Launched on MUSE
2010-03-25
Open Access
No
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