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Lecture 8

Lecture 8- Henry James Continued.docx

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English (Arts)
ENGL 226
Kait Pinder

Lecture 8: Henry James Continued Realism • supported by the founding principles of democracy and equality • focuses on everyday, common people • relationship between realism and reality is ambiguous ◦ its an interpretation of reality • focus on city life because of increased urbanization • development of photography • draw attention to region and marker of class and detail • boom in experts, including sociology • prided themselves on being objective • participants in the "local colour movement" in 1880s ◦ think Twain, because he gives us life in this place that is not one of the urban centres of the North ◦ Twain's realism is his representation of the slave dialect, which adds to the colour ◦ means local flavour, slice of life • Howells and James were city writers • by representing daily lived experience, believed they could make a change in America • Howells believed that "high art" would serve the nation by training a public of discerning readers ◦ want to challenge domestic or sentimental fiction ▪ not serious enough, does not make one a discerning reader ▪ over-burdened emotion • serious, disciplined, responsible • against romantic, historical fiction ◦ Twain hated Sir Walter Scott ▪ gave unrealistic ideals about honour and chivalry, must be responsible for the Civil War Realism and Democracy • focus of everyday life supported by founding principles of democracy ◦ if everyone is equal, then every detail of everyone's lives is equally important • Howells believed that Realism was "democratic" because it promised a future public unified by taste • develops an "analytic impulse" and a "critical spirit" in the reader (Henry James) ◦ helps the reader become discerning and make criticisms about what they don't like • for James, a process rather than a conclusion ◦ Howells imagines a moment for a democratic utopia where all the readers will be trained his way, whereas James thought this analytic impulse and critical spirit would allow for development and an ongoing critical process, rather than an end Realist Style • use of concrete details to situate the work in a place of everyday life ◦ talk about what can be seen in a scene • close observation • direct discourse: technique of displaying speech to a reader via direct quotation ◦ displays the speech, rather than describes it ◦ helps develop characterization • point-of-view narration: filtered through a character's POV, but the language isn't the character's • free-indirect discourse: uses third person syntax (he and she instead of I) and past tense, but articulates thoughts with the present-tense first person's immediacy, directness, and diction ◦ think Jane Austen James' Psychological Realism • complex sentences and the accumulation of detail • p.477 "There were persons to be observed, singly or in couples, bending toward objects in out-of-way corners with their hands on their knees and their heads nodding quite as with emphasis of an excited sense of smell" • everything is added on to the last, piling up elements to compose the scene ◦ that's the psychological realism ◦ you don't go in somewhere and see everything at once, you sort of compose the scene James' Realism • p.908 "It goes without saying that you will not write a good novel unless you possess the sense of reality; but it will be difficult to give you a recipe for calling that sense into being. […] Experience is never limited, and it is never complete; it is an immense sensibility, a king of huge spider web of the finest silken threads suspended in a chamber of consciousness, and catching every air-borne particle in its tissue. It is the very atmosphere of the mind; and when the mind is imaginative--much more when it happens to be that of a man of genius--it takes to itself the faintest hints of life, it converts the very pulses of the air into revelations" • converts or transforms one thing into another • what you may not notice if you're not being sensible to it, the novelist brings attention to it • a trap for the potential novel you could write • p. 909 "The power to guess the unseen from the seen, to trace the implication of things, to judge the whole piece by the pattern, the condition of feeling life in general so completely that you are well on your way to knowing any particular corner of it." Epistemological Structure of "The Beast in the Jungle" • epistemology: the study of how we know what we know • related to se
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