In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

book Reviews on Miss Allen. For he was also bestowing it on himself during those years when he was thinking about himself as "a small boy" and "a son and brother" for the writing of his volumes of autobiography. The material in the letters sheds much light on the Curtises and the Palazzo Bárbaro, as well as on Miss Allen's connection with Osterley Park, the home of the Earl of Jersey, which James often visited and used as a setting in his story, The Lesson of the Master." We also learn about other pieces of interesting literary gossip, such as the supposed but apparently untrue suspicion (and a letter from James removes the suspicion) that Edith Wharton had written about Ralph Curtis, the painter-son of the older Curtises in her tale The Verdict." Zorzi's notes are full and explanatory, and the correspondence definitely expands the field of James's social relations. Adeline R. Tintner New York, New York Henry James Edwin Sill Fussell. The Catholic Side of Henry James. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993. xvii + 166 pp. $54.95 PROFESSOR FUSSELL, who declares himself a Roman Catholic in the preface (x), aims in this book to counteract the general assumption that James's oeuvre is totally secular. Fussell is careful not to overdo it. The Catholic side of Henry James is of course only one of many sides," he reminds us, before declaring in italics, "I am not trying to make Henry James into some kind of secret Catholic" (ix). What he does attempt is "to discern, to understand, to explore, to show forth, and even at times to 'explain,' the Catholic-Protestant antithesis that structures and decorates much, though by no means all, of James's writing, and that has been so generally overlooked in the criticism, bent as it has naturally been on the antithesis between 'the distinctively American and the distinctively European outlook'. ... Now is the time," he continues, "to approach the Catholic-Protestant and the American-European antitheses ... and see how ... they are related" (134). He immediately warns us, however, that in James's work one must not line up "Protestant America against Catholic Europe" (134). Indeed, James's "most fully developed and most powerful fictive personage" (135), the Catholic Maggie Verver of The Golden Bowl, which Fussell sees as "indisputably Henry James's Roman Catholic masterpiece" (127), is an expatriate American. Fussell of course examines the more 227 ELT 38:2 1995 straightforward situation of Protestant Americans placed in contact with Catholic Europeans—Strether of The Ambassadors with Madame de Vionnet, for example (150-52)—but he is more interested in works like The Golden Bowl and The Turn of the Screw in which the situation is less formulaic. Regarding the former, he tells us that if we are able to read the novel with Catholicism in mind, we will realize that "what binds [the Verver foursome] is not only the illicit crisscross of libidinal transgression but the fact that they are all Catholics together—.. . that the libidinal crisscross is caused by their Catholicity" (129). Furthermore, a fresh rereading will show us, he claims, that Maggie Verver "is Henry James," a James who had "escaped and transcended both his inherited Protestant American beginnings and that debilitating sort of Americanism which tends to see things in certain perspectives—Protestantây" (136). As for The Turn of the Screw, it is non-formulaic (a) because the conflict is not between Americans and Europeans and (b) because "the classic Jamesian Protestant-Catholic confrontation" (97) is essentially hidden. Although recognizing that the story is "notoriously open to a variety of interpretations" (93), Fussell argues that the predominant sexual interpretation "has little to recommend it save the idées fixes of twentieth-century interpreters" (96); he favors instead as the story's subject "the horror of Roman Catholic conversion [seen] from a Protestant point of view" (93). Governess, identified with the Church of England and suffering from a psychopathic Protestant paranoia, is threatened first by Peter Quint—who, Fussell notes, "bears the name of the first Pope—and then by Miss Jessel, interpreted by Fussell as (Catholic) predecessor (his italics) threatening Governess as (Protestant ) "successor...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 227-230
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Will Be Ceasing Publication
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.