March 04, 2013

Week 10 seminar questions

Questions for the week 10 seminar:

  • James was born in America, spending much of his life in England and Europe. In what ways might The Spoils of Poynton be considered an "English" novel? What themes, ideas and symbols resonate with other texts we've read?
  • "Only a short time ago it might have been supposed that the English novel was not what the French call discutable. It had no air of having a theory, a conviction, a consciousness of itself behind it-of being the expression of an artistic faith, the result of choice and comparison." (James, "The Art of Fiction"). What do you make of James's statement about the novel, both in terms of the 19th century novel more widely, and with regards to the narrative technique of Spoils?
  • The Spoils of Poynton was originally published in serial form as The Old Things, and the first title James thought of was The House Beautiful. What do these various titles suggest about the value of art and objects in the novel?

You might also find Henry James's essay The Art of Fiction useful reading

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