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Critical Hostility

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Abstract

Henry James famously did not believe that there was a need to include the explicitly erotic in fiction. Concentrating on sex in isolation, he wrote, led to a failure to convey the way intercourse in the bedroom is related to diverse events, and the broad motivations behind them, in the wider social world:

That sexual passion from which [D’Annunzio] extracts with admirable detached pictures insists on remaining for him only the act of the moment, beginning and ending in itself and disowning any representative character. From the moment it depends on itself alone for its beauty it endangers extremely its distinction, so precarious at the best. For what it represents, precisely, it is poetically interesting; it finds its extension and consummation only in the rest of life. Shut out from the rest of life, shut out from all fruition and assimilation, it has no more dignity than — to use a homely image — the boots and shoes that we see, in the corridors of promiscuous hotels, standing, often in pairs, at the doors of rooms. Detached and associated these clusters of objects present, however obtruded, no importance.1

Keywords

Double Standard Informed Scholar Sole Focus Defence Counsel Sexual Misconduct 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Henry James, ‘Gabriel D’Annunzio’, in Notes on Novelists (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1914), 231.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Leon Edel, Henry fames: A Life (London: Collins, 1985), 512Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Max Beerbohm, ‘Mr Henry James’s Play’, Around Theatres (New York: Knopf, 1930), 701–2.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    M. Denneny et al. (eds), The View from Christopher Street (London and New York: Cassell, 1984), 295Google Scholar
  5. Gore Vidal, United States: Selected Essays: 1952–1992 (London: Andre Deutsch, 1992), 218.Google Scholar
  6. 5.
    Sheldon M. Novick, Henry James: The Young Master (New York: Random House, 1996), 109.Google Scholar
  7. Leon Edel and Lyal H. Powers (eds.), The Complete Notebooks of Henry James (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987), 238.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s essay ‘The Beast in the Closet: James and the Writing of Homosexual Panic’, in Sedgwick, Epistemology of the Closet (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1990), 182–212Google Scholar
  9. Richard Hall, ‘Henry James: Interpreting an Obsessive Memory’, Journal of Homosexuality, Vol. 8, Nos 3 /4 (1983), 83–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Melissa Knox, ‘Beltraffio: Henry James’s Secrecy’, American Imago, Vol. 3, No. 3 (Fall, 1986), 221–7Google Scholar
  11. Adeline R. Tintner, ‘A Gay Sacred Fount: the Reader as Detective’, Twentieth-Century Literature, Vol. 41, No. 2 (Summer, 1995), 224–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hugh Stevens, Henry James and Sexuality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Philip Home, ‘Henry James: the Master and the “Queer Affair” of “The Pupil”’, Critical Quarterly, Vol. 37, No. 3 (Autumn 1995), 75–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 10.
    Lyndall Gordon, A Private Life of Henry fames: Two Women and his Art (London: Chatto & Windus, 1998), 434.Google Scholar
  15. 11.
    John R. Bradley, ‘Henry James’s Permanent Adolescence’, in Bradley (ed.), Henry fames and Homo-Erotic Desire (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1999), 51–3.Google Scholar
  16. 12.
    David Van Leer, The Queening of America: Gay Culture in Straight Society (London and New York: Routledge, 1995)Google Scholar
  17. 22.
    See Jeffrey Weeks, Coming Out: Homosexual Politics in Britain, from the Nineteenth Century to the Present (London: Quartet, 1977), 14–15.Google Scholar
  18. 25.
    See, for example, John Carlos Rowe, ‘Hawthrone’s Ghost in Henry James’s Italy: Sculptural Form, Romantic Narrative, and the Function of Sexuality’, The Henry fames Review 20 (1999), 107–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© John R. Bradley 2000

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