English 190

Research Seminar: Henry James and Novelistic Aesthetics


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Fall 2015 Hale, Dorothy J.
MW 2-3:30 301 Wheeler

Book List

See below.

Description

This course focuses on the art of the novel as practiced and theorized by Henry James.  James believed that, despite two centuries of novelistic production, the art of the novel was still to be discovered.   During his lifetime and into our contemporary moment, James has been credited by both fiction writers and literary critics with making that discovery.  Through our study of James’s experiments with the gothic, realist, and dramatic modalities of the novel, we will explore two related questions:  How does James's fictional practice seek to realize the novel’s aesthetic potential?  And how does James's critical writing develop a theory of the novel that will give philosophical grounding to his notion of aesthetic value?

Most of our course reading will be devoted to James's writing.  But we will also consider the impact his work had on twentieth-century novelists and theorists.  Why do James’s ideas about novel form become the basis for later theories of the novel?  How do James's novels become interpreted and reinterpreted to remain touchstones of artistic achievement?

 A 15-20 page critical essay is due at the end of the term.  Students may investigate any aspect of James’s significance as a literary and cultural figure.  A prospectus, bibliography and full rough draft of the essay will be required steps of the writing process.  There is no midterm or final exam.

Reading includes The Spoils of Poynton, The Turn of the Screw, The Awkward Age, The Wings of the Dove, The Ambassadors and selected short fiction.

Please read the paragraph about English 190 on page 2 of the instructions area of this Announcement of Classes for more details about enrolling in or wait-listing for this course.

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