Abstract

Abstract:

Henry James was fond of using and discussing “light” literary tricks. Taking his interest in the gimmick form seriously discloses an underexamined pattern in his mature fiction involving labor and secrecy. I argue that James’s later style—famously abstract but often crudely concrete—cannot be adequately grasped in isolation from this recurring storyline about clandestine labor. In telling the story of people covertly working to expose but then re-conceal a social secret, in texts ranging from “The Birthplace” to The Golden Bowl, James allegorizes the structurally occulted nature of reproductive labor in capitalism and also anticipates the rise of a service economy.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6555
Print ISSN
0273-0340
Pages
pp. 44-76
Launched on MUSE
2020-02-08
Open Access
No
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