Henry James

In: English and Literature

Submitted By roxxypys
Words 1837
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HENRY JAMES ( 1843 - 1916 )

Henry James was born an American and Joseph Conrad a Pole. Each chose to settle in England to become a British subject and for each, the collision of different cultures was an important themes. The relation of America to Europe is a central concern in James’ fiction : in major novels such as “ The Portrait Of A Lady “(1881), “ The Wings Of The Dove” ( 1902 ),or “ Daisy Miller” (1879) the moral consequences of the meeting of American innocence and enthusiasm with a sophisticated but corrupt European culture are explored by means of irony , a sustained attention to the nuances of individual CONSCIOUSNESS , and a prose style of increasing subtlety and complexity . But in their technique James and Conrad are most revolutionary .Modernist novelists sought radical redefinition of the REAL. Since the individual always perceives reality through his or her own consciousness , the contents and structure of consciousness represent the only accessible reality .A number of philosophical influences are relevant here : William James ‘ Henry James’ brother ‘ a psychologist and philosopher elaborated the notion of “pure experience”, all reality being described in terms of SUBJECTIVE HUMAN EXPERIENCE ( and he also named the new trend “ stream of consciousness”). Sigmund Freud (1856- 1939) had had an enormous influence upon modern literature as a result of his idea that “ all mental phenomena have meaning .” This assumption help to validate new ways of structuring narrative based on dreams, fantasies and chains of associations. Henry Bergson (1859- 1941), the French philosopher of evolution distinguished between SCIENTIFIC TIME ( mathematical, abstract, homogeneous ) and REAL DURATION ( our direct experience of time as a flowing , irreversible succession of concrete states ). The…...

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