Show simple item record

dc.contributor.authorEimers, Jennifer L.
dc.description.abstractThis work examines the transformative experience of art in James’s fiction. In a 1915 letter to H.G. Wells, James declares that "It is art that makes life", a claim whose rich implications are traced here. The first chapter examines the effect of aesthetic experience on the characters of The Portrait of a Lady (1881), which was written at the height of the British Aesthetic movement. A few years later, in The Bostonians (1885), James suggests the transitional nature of American intellectual and artistic culture as the country begins to cast off the influence of Europe and to trust its own creative voice, a process that is mirrored in the novel’s characters. In short, art in this novel affects and reveals both the national and the individual consciousness. The Tragic Muse (1890) revisits James’s complicated relationship with the late nineteenth-century controversy over Aestheticism. This chapter presents a reading of the title character that strongly resists the dominant perception that Miriam lacks depth. The final chapter of this study contends that in James’s late phase novel, The Wings of the Dove (1902), the responses of individual consciousness to a Bronzino and a Veronese painting are central to the novel’s conclusion. This novel contains strong Paterian and Ruskinian echoes, and in it James works out his lingering ambivalences toward the ideas of these two well-known art critics. Situated within nineteenth-century aesthetic theories and cultural moments, this project as a whole suggests that in James’s novels, art does make life.
dc.subjectHenry James
dc.subjectWalter Pater
dc.subjectJohn Ruskin
dc.subjectThe Portrait of a Lady
dc.subjectThe Bostonians
dc.subjectThe Tragic Muse
dc.subjectThe Wings of the Dove
dc.titleIt is art that makes life
dc.title.alternativeexperiencing visual art in Henry James's novels
dc.description.advisorKristin Boudreau
dc.description.committeeKristin Boudreau
dc.description.committeeAdam Parkes
dc.description.committeeHubert McAlexander

Files in this item


There are no files associated with this item.

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record