By Elizabeth Allen

ISBN-10: 1349174696

ISBN-13: 9781349174690

ISBN-10: 1349174718

ISBN-13: 9781349174713

An entire size examine of James' use of the "American lady" heroine in his novels, from Daisy Miller via Isabel Archer to Milly Theale and Maggie Verver.

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Claire, representing the potential best in both, is portrayed as inexplicable and motiveless, and her powerlessness in relation to both Newman and the Bellegardes consistently levels the power balance between the two cultures to sets of different yet predatory impulses, with Claire as prey. There seem to be two modes of subject experience, that of appropriation and that of interpretation. The first is a male preserve; women can aid, but not appropriate for themselves. Living, however, through their ability to be interpreted, women can construct their subjecthood not only through conscious awareness of themselves as sign to be read, but in the offer of a reading, an explanation.

In the very first chapter he buys Noemie's painting, which is a travesty of the art of Europe. His inability to acquire European culture efficiently or successfully without some guidance is aided by the mediation of Mrs Tristram, to whom be expresses his previous obsession with action to the exclusion offeeling and reflection: 'The fact is I have never had time to feel things. I have had to do them' (p. 33)· Telling Mrs Tristram ofhis desire to marry, he explains that: 'To make it [his financial success] perfect, as I see it, there must be a beautiful woman perched on the pile, like a statue, on a monument' (p.

But freedom for women remained strictly confined, and even if American feminine culture were to shadow forth notions of equality and democracy, American women were not going to be allowed to assume equality, or to vote. Thus the extent to which freedom was symbolised by American womanhood appears forcefully limited by the age old 'European' and culturally inherited signification of woman as domestic, moral and inferior. The weight of this ideology in the nineteenth century was massive. ' 34 But In America the independence of woman is irrecoverably lost in the bonds of matrimony.

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A Woman’s Place in the Novels of Henry James by Elizabeth Allen


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