Preface Book uri icon


  • Cambridge University Press 2010. This volume presents a collection of concise, original scholarly essays focused broadly on apprehending Henry James in the context of the history, sociology and aesthetic and material culture of an emerging and consolidating modernity - a modernity James lived, and was uniquely positioned to observe, in various phases of its development; which he represented, analyzed and critiqued throughout a long career straddling two continents and two centuries; and which has continued to shape the reception of his work during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Long misread as a novelist conspicuously lacking in historical consciousness, James has often been viewed - sometimes attacked - as detached from, and uninterested in, the social, political and material realities of his time. But as recent criticism has increasingly discerned, and as I hope this volume will help to demonstrate, James is an essential modern novelist precisely insofar as he was acutely, if anxiously, responsive not only to his eras changing attitudes toward gender, sexuality, class and ethnicity, but also to changing conditions of literary production and reception, to the rise of consumerism and mass culture, and to the emergence of new technologies and media, of new apprehensions of time and space - responsive, that is, in the fullest sense to the material and historical conditions that in his own time determined new, specifically modern forms of experience, desire and subjectivity.

author list (cited authors)

  • McWhirter, D.

citation count

  • 11

complete list of authors

  • McWhirter, D

publication date

  • January 2014