Three Women and His Art (Part Two): Cynthia Ozick’s ‘Dictation’ (2008) and Michiel Heyns’s The Typewriter’s Tale (2005)

  • Bethany LayneEmail author


Focusing on Michiel Heyns’s The Typewriter’s Tale and Cynthia Ozick’s ‘Dictation’, Layne explores how these reimaginings of James’s amanuensis, Theodora Bosanquet, respond to his question ‘is there a life after death?’ Both texts imagine an affirmative answer, Ozick’s typists exchanging excerpts from their employers’ manuscripts as abiding proof of their role in the creative process. Heyns’s typist, meanwhile, engages in ‘technologically aided thought-transference’, which Layne reads as a test case for Bosanquet’s postulated contact with a posthumous James. Yet in both works, textual traces prove the only means of posterity available. Ultimately, this defines James’s own afterlife not as an abiding presence, but as an intertextual reference and influence on later writers, initiating the transition from biofiction to appropriation in Part Two of the volume.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.De Montfort UniversityLeicesterUK

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