Abstract

"The Laughter of the Diviners, or Manners and the Sacred" explores the language of sacredness and of terror in Henry James's The Awkward Age, considering James's allusion to Cicero and Cato on augurs who might laugh together "behind the altar" as figuring the mutual dependence that, as manners, defines and constitutes relationship and sociability. Examining this allusion alongside James's notions of "sacred terror" and "salutary terror," the essay finds that, in James, terror and the sacred are associated with the problem of knowledge in the world of manners and, consequently, with the constant reading (divination) demanded of subjects inhabiting that world.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6555
Print ISSN
0273-0340
Pages
pp. 27-31
Launched on MUSE
2010-02-20
Open Access
No
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