Honors | Henry James (HON)
H303 | 16446 | Gareth Evans
In this course we will read a representative selection of the novels
and tales of Henry James. We will also read two of Jamesís better
known critical essays, as well as the retrospective Prefaces James
wrote to accompany much of the fiction we will read. A major
theoretician of the novel, James sought to convince his
contemporaries that fiction was, potentially, a major art form, and
that novelists might be great artists. While his early work is
realist, much of Jamesís late work points towards the concerns and
formal features of modernism. The late fiction is difficult, but a
semester of reading James should make it accessible. Our reading of
James will be largely self-contained. James is frequently concerned
with the manners and morals of the late nineteenth-century American
and European elite. While Jamesís take on manners and morals will be
one topic of our inquiry, we will be centrally concerned with how
James, formally and technically, does what he does. Our close
reading of each text will focus on the changing use James makes of
the following formal devices and themes: point-of-view,
renunciation, the role of the writer or artist, the desire for
renown, and the international theme. The in-class presentation each
student gives will supplement our close reading by drawing attention
to some of the central issues in the secondary literature about
James, The Ambassadors. Penguin
James, The American. Penguin
James, The Bostonians. Penguin.
James, The Portrait of a Lady. Houghton Mifflin
James, Major Stories and Essays. Library of America
Two essays of at least 6-8 typed, double-spaced pages in length, an
examination, a ten minute presentation due in essay format one week
after the date of the presentation.
Attendance and participation in discussion and in-class activities.
Five formal responses to questions posted at Oncourse. Your
responses will often provide the base for class discussion. 10% of
the final grade.
A graded exercise designed to display your ability to find and use
information in IUCAT, WorldCat, Online Full-Text Journals, C 19, the
Early American Fiction project, and the online Modern Language
Association International Bibliography.
Note: James revised much of his work late in his life and the
version of each novel and story available to readers varies from
publisher to publisher. For that reason, it is essential that you
buy the editions of the novels and stories listed above.