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Henry James, Consciousness, and the Evolution of the Novel (Hardcover) (Peter Rawlings)
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Positioning Henry James within his transatlantic and pan-European contexts, Peter Rawlings relocates James and the New Criticism's ideology of organicism in biology rather than in aesthetics. Rawlings argues that the novel as a genre anchored in the representation of character emerged from philosophical and scientific thinking about consciousness and experience that begins in the late seventeenth century and encompasses two hundred years of traffic between Europe and America. His ambitious study explores the significance of American thinkers and their European antecedents, from Jonathan Edwards to Josiah Royce, aligning James's 1884 essay "The Art of Fiction" with contemporary thinking on consciousness and its dense, ramifying aetiology. By this point, Herbert Spencer had extended Darwin's evolutionary thinking into the social domain, disrupting ideas about consciousness as allied with the soul even as the fin-de-siÃ¨cle enthusiasm for panpsychism and the paranormal made a last stand against the New Sciences. A major contention of Rawlings's book is that Henry James should not and cannot be isolated from the urgent need to rethink what seminal critics such as Ian Watt and Marthe Robert have said about the procession of the novel from prose fiction. James's canonization by the New Critics motivates Rawlings's reexamination of Walter Scott, Jane Austen, Susan Warner, and George Eliot, among others, in the context of the vast range of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European and North American philosophical, physiological, and biological discourses on which James drew in his theory and practice as a novelist.
Number of Pages: 250
Genre: Literary Criticism
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Author: Peter Rawlings
Street Date: January 6, 2018
Item Number (DPCI): 248-30-5491
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