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Telepathy and the Visual in the Late Novels of Henry James

By Paul Matthew Austin Horn


This thesis addresses the tripartite relationship between telepathy, the visual and in the psychologically complex late novels of Henry James, with particular focus on The Wings of the Dove (1902), The Ambassadors (1903), and The Golden Bowl (1904). It acknowledges that significant research has been done into telepathy (Thurschwell 2001; Luckhurst 2002) and the visual (Crary 1990; 1999) in fin de siècle studies, but also that further insight can be accessed by bringing the two areas of enquiry together and considering their collective import. By juxtaposing non-literary materials from the fields of psychical research and visual culture, and situating them together within the work of James, I attempt to excavate parts of patterns of thought in the period compassing the end of the nineteenth century and the dawning of the twentieth. My work is especially concerned with revealing the slipperiness of the borderlines between three dualisms: observation and imagination, subject and object, and the verbal and the visual. A chapter is dedicated to each. Reading James in this innovative way allows me to conclude by situating his late novels within an extended milieu of literary antecedents, particularly in terms of their debt to the older fictional trope of sympath

Topics: PR English literature
Year: 2009
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