By Simone Francescato
This publication examines the function and the that means of amassing within the fiction of Henry James. rising as a sophisticated consumerist perform on the finish of the 19th century, accumulating not just set new principles for appreciating artwork, but additionally helped to form the classy tenets of significant literary events akin to naturalism and aestheticism. even supposing he befriended a number of the maximum creditors of the age, in his narrative works James maintained a sceptical, if now not brazenly severe, place in the direction of amassing and its results on appreciation. Likewise, he turned more and more reluctant to stick to the trendy development of classifying and exhibiting artwork gadgets within the literary textual content, resorting to extra complicated different types of representation.
Drawing from vintage and modern aesthetics, in addition to from sociology and fabric tradition, this publication fills a niche in Jamesian feedback, explaining how and why James's aversion in the direction of amassing was once significant to the improvement of his fiction from the start of his occupation to the so-called significant section.
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Additional resources for Collecting and Appreciating: Henry James and the Transformation of Aesthetics in the Age of Consumption (Cultural Interactions: Studies in the Relationship between the Arts)
28 CHAPTER 1 would at all suppose; unless you very carefully studied the movements of your own minds. If you see things of the same kind and of equal value very frequently, your reverence for them is infallibly diminished, your powers of attention get gradually wearied, and your interest and enthusiasm worn out; and you cannot in that state bring to any given work the energy necessary to enjoy it. If, indeed, the question were only between enjoying a great many pictures each a little, or one picture very much, the sum of enjoyment being in each case the same, you might rationally desire to possess rather the larger quantity than the small; both because one work of art always in some sort illustrates another, and because quantity diminishes the chances of destruction.
See also Stewart, On Longing, 133. See Belk, Collecting in a Consumer Society, 92. This identification has also been analyzed by Susan Stewart, who describes the following dynamics: ‘the collection presents a metaphor of “production” not as “the earned” but as “the captured”’ (164). It is analogous, in my interpretation, to the mythopoetic strategies studied by Richard Slotkin in his book Regeneration through Violence (1973). See Baudrillard, ‘The System of Collecting’, 9–12. See Watson, Literature and Material Culture from Balzac to Proust, 170.
On the contrary, her love is so deep that she even feels ready to ‘to take some step, to run some risk, to break some law’ (261) for her husband’s sake. It is Martha that inadvertently disrupts the superficial picturesque picture that the godfather imposes not only on her husband, but also on her marriage – which he compares to a ‘bucolic poem’ (263) celebrating an idyllic relationship between Old and New World. Prompted by her thirst for experience, the Countess ventures into an archaeological excavation, which leads her to discover unknown sides of her husband and to acknowledge the limits of her relationship with him.
Collecting and Appreciating: Henry James and the Transformation of Aesthetics in the Age of Consumption (Cultural Interactions: Studies in the Relationship between the Arts) by Simone Francescato