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Title: 'Writing consciously for a small audience' : an exploration of the relationship between American magazine culture and Henry James' Italian fiction 1870-1875
Author: Leslie, L. L.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5358 6527
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis explores Henry James’ engagement in his relatively neglected early fiction about Italy with material from contemporary magazine culture. By bridging the gap between critics who focus on James’ relationship with Italian culture, and those who examine James’ relationship with his publishers and audience, it aims to explore how he uses interest in Italy manifested in literary magazines to develop his writing and build his reputation. The first part of the thesis explores how James writes about Italian culture in his first tales in ways with which his audience would be familiar, in order to cultivate his readership. The first three chapters deal with ‘Travelling Companions’ (1870), ‘At Isella’ (1871), and ‘The Madonna of the Future’ (1873) respectively. Looking at how magazines represent contemporary debates about the Italian artists and works of art that James depicts, I study the way James draws on this context to emphasise the relationship between culture and character in his fiction. The second half examines his fiction after 1873 in the light of James’ sense of his emerging literary reputation. Aware of his growing fame, James began to write tales incorporating material from his own serialised travel writing, thus reinforcing his reputation as a writer about Italy. The penultimate chapter explores this aspect of ‘The Last of the Valerii’ (1874) and ‘Adina’ (1874). In the last, discussing his first novel, Roderick Hudson (1875), I examine how James draws together material from his earlier tales to construct this longer narrative, and presents the overlapping themes in a way that allows his informed readership an enhanced appreciation of some elements of the plot. The conclusion briefly explores how James’ later fiction engages with his readership in a similar way, depending on the magazine he is writing for.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available