Representing the economy and the economies of representation : readings in the fiction and criticism of Henry James
This thesis is structured around exchanges between contemporary critical theory and the fiction, criticism and context of Henry James. In Chapter 1 I discuss readings of James and theories of reading as an active process. Chapters 2 and 3 provide a theoretical context for my work. Chapter 4 gives the background to James's use of "economy" as a critical term, discussed in Chapter 5. Chapters 6 and 7 introduce ideas of literary production and the relations of literary production, the changing nature of criticism and the market. Chapters 8 through to 12 focus on specific areas of James's work: the question of sexuality; journalism, the public and the private; travel, reading, and Daisy Miller; In the Cage, thrift, and utopia; early 20th century America. Certain dominant readings of James are challenged by a historical and theoretical framework that relates James to his economic context through locating him in the material and textual relations of literary production; through concepts central to his work and to Marxist criticism, absence and symptomatic reading; through structures of displacement whereby the economic resurfaces as a part of James's critical vocabulary; through questions of sexual difference and reading. My research demonstrates that James's writing is especially relevant to current critical debates; and through staging their meeting this thesis provides insights into both of these areas.