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

BOOK REVIEWS development of Forster's critical reputation than do the academic articles included in these volumes. Claude J. Summers University of Michigan-Dearborn Another Henry James John Carlos Rowe. The Other Henry James. Durham: Duke University Press, 1998. xv+ 238 pp. Cloth $49.95 Paper $17.95 POOR HENRY JAMES. During the 1940s and 1950s, James was the first American writer to be seen as having met and outmatched the Europeans on their own terrain. The complex, allusive style of his late works plus his experimentation with scenic form established him as the first great Master of the modern novel. Since the early 1960s, however, and increasingly in the 1980s and 1990s, these honorifics have been turned against him by a new generation of critics who find in his cosmopolitanism a virtual doubling of U.S. "big stick" policies at the turn of the century and who contend that his focus on elite culture partakes of the most regressive gender, class, ethnic, and national prejudices of the period. Often the most egregious lapses ascribed to James are those of his disciples—men such as Leon Edel, who, like Mrs. Weeks Wimbush in "The Death of the Lion," reverse the master-disciple relationship to deadly effect. Consider, for example, Edel's comment on James's early short story, "The Last of the Valerii" (1874): "The implication in these tales is that civilised man must keep the primitive side of his nature properly buried; that it is dangerous to exhume dormant primeval things; that they contain the evil man has eternally sought to master" (The Complete Tales of Henry James, 1962, 3: 9). Instead of demanding repression in James's texts, John Carlos Rowe attempts to bring a number of matters to light—not deep ones that critics prefer to overlook or bury but rather details on the surface that readers fail to register. Rowe proposes the existence of another Henry James, a Henry James brought to light in current gender and sexuality studies. One suspects that James, were he here, would be both alarmed and, one hopes, amused by this tactic, for James spent his adult life backpedaling from the embarrassing effects of sexual radicalism at the same time that his antagonism towards bourgeois normalcy is as evident as is his identification with the positions of women, children, and others scarred or sacrificed in the battle of the sexes. 229 ELT 43 : 2 2000 Oscar Wilde once wrote: "A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing. And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country, sets sail. Progress is the realisation of Utopias." The most provocative and engaging aspect of Rowe's book is the contention that, from The Tragic Muse (1888) onwards, a Utopian vision quietly shapes James's realism, a shift in James's writing that Rowe associates with the expansion of selfhood that he experienced in romantic relationships with a series of men, usually much younger, during the 1890s. In The Tragic Muse, Rowe finds evidence for this view in the success that Miriam Rooth wins as an actress and international celebrity. Rowe emphasizes Rooth's communicative ability on stage: "it was easy to feel a fine universal consensus and to recognise everywhere the light spring of hope. People snatched their eyes from the stage an instant to look at each other, all eager to hand on the torch passed to them by the actress over the footlights." On the other hand, the light touch of cliché in this description might make one think twice about the "universal " effects achieved by a star-vehicle. The value of the hope that Rooth's acting communicates may be diminished by arriving too widely and too easily. Nonetheless, it is worth emphasizing that Rooth is a woman who achieves a degree of cultural authority that one rarely finds represented either in James's or in other late-Victorian writing. Given the immense interest in but also the challenges facing leading actresses, discussed by Nina Auerbach in her biography of Ellen Terry, Rooth's achievement is...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 229-232
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
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.