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This essay compares Fredric Jameson’s ideas about Henry James with his ideas about Joseph Conrad. For Jameson, James and Conrad occupy minimally--but significantly--different orbits. Jameson’s James is the last realist, whereas his Conrad is the first modernist. The distinction doesn’t so much depend on their respective techniques for representing subjectivity as on their differing presentation of social-narrative space and its communicative implications. Jameson’s interests over the last two decades have increasingly turned to modernism. His greater project has always hung on an explanatory scaffolding in which modernism plays a decisive role as the middle, mediating term: realism-modernism-postmodernism. The scaffolding depends on a certain communication breakdown--an unresolved synthesis--between the past, present, and future.