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By Jennifer Eimers

The Continuum of realization: Aesthetic adventure and visible artwork in Henry James’s Novels examines the transformative event of paintings in James’s fiction. In a 1915 letter to H. G. Wells, James proclaims, «It is artwork that makes life.» This booklet strains the wealthy implications of this declare. For James, viewing artwork remodeled the self. lots of his contemporaries, together with his well-known older brother, William, have been deeply attracted to the learn of conception and person awareness. James’s fictional use of artwork displays those philosophical discussions. even supposing a lot necessary scholarship has been dedicated to visible paintings in James’s fiction, the guiding position it usually performs in his characters’ reviews gets fuller exploration during this publication. a chronic examine visible paintings and recognition in the course of the lens of nineteenth-century British aestheticism finds interesting connections and personality responses. by way of highlighting and reading his representations of aesthetic awareness in 4 novels at particular moments (such as Basil Ransom’s and Verena Tarrant’s contrasting responses to Harvard’s Memorial corridor within the Bostonians and Milly Theale’s id with a Bronzino portray within the Wings of the Dove), this publication eventually explores the concept for James artwork represents «every wide awake human activity», as Wells responded to James.

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Extra resources for The Continuum of Consciousness: Aesthetic Experience and Visual Art in Henry James's Novels (American University Studies)

Sample text

She has been the object of others’ aestheticization, particularly Osmond’s and Ralph’s, and her own association suggests that she finally understands that being seen and manipulated as a work of art has caused her suffering. Though such a conclusion has the potential to once again distance her from art, a result Torgovnick suggests is true, her thoughts and actions at Gardencourt indicate a different outcome. The setting of Gardencourt, when considered in the light of the opening chapters, provides the true measure of the change Isabel has undergone.

Italian Initiations When Isabel arrives in Italy, however, her aesthetic education progresses. To Isabel, Italy offers concentrated quantities of aesthetic opportunity; it “stretched before her as a land of promise, a land in which a love of the beautiful might be comforted by endless knowledge” (193). In other words, she anticipates that her experiences there will develop her aesthetic appreciation and increase her understanding of life. Italy was widely considered the seat of culture in the nineteenth century; thus, James decided to locate her developing aesthetic appreciation there.

The control he exerts to keep his daughter child-like and warnings from Ralph, Mrs. Touchett, and Henrietta Stackpole cannot dissuade her from believing that his extensive knowledge and exquisite taste will improve her mind. Her creation of and reliance on this frozen portrait to judge Osmond can be read as evidence of her immature aestheticism, which relies on detached judgment to prevent suffering. Ironically, it is this very detachment that later causes her suffering. …Her consciousness was so mixed that she scarcely knew where the different parts of it would lead her, and she went about in a repressed ecstasy Aesthetic Experience in The Portrait of a Lady 25 of contemplation, seeing often in the things she looked at a great deal more than was there” (245).

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