Abstract

This essay brings together Henry James’s commencement address called “The Question of Our Speech,” which he delivered to the graduates of Bryn Mawr College on June 8, 1905, and the James novel in which the question of the quality of speech is most explicit and most problematic, The Awkward Age, to clarify the idea of “a great tradition” as articulated by those like T. S. Eliot and F. R. Leavis. In so doing, the essay illustrates where James fits among Leavis’s “great tradition” via elements of style and James’s transcendence of Leavis’s ideal positive. Ultimately, it asks: What difference does it make that a novelist is deemed to participate with his fiction in a great tradition?

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6555
Print ISSN
0273-0340
Pages
pp. 209-218
Launched on MUSE
2017-11-03
Open Access
No
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