Sigi Jottkandt's Acting Beautifully: Henry James and the Ethical Aesthetic PDF

By Sigi Jottkandt

ISBN-10: 0791465578

ISBN-13: 9780791465578

Addresses moral and aesthetic matters in 3 significant works through Henry James.

What is the problem with the ladies in Henry James? within the Portrait of a woman, The Wings of the Dove, and his brief tale "The Altar of the Dead," one lady returns to a monster of a husband, one other dies instead of confront the reality of her lover’s engagement, whereas yet one more stakes her all on having a candle lit for a useless lover, merely to rapidly reject it. Exploring those unusual offerings, Sigi Jöttkandt argues that the singularity of those acts lies of their moral nature, and that the moral precept concerned can't be divorced from the query of aesthetics. She combines shut readings of James with suggestive excursions via Kantian aesthetics and set conception to discover the cultured underpinning of the Lacanian moral act, which has been mostly ignored within the present force to find a Cartesian starting place for the topic because the topic of science.

"If ‘instant classic’ potential whatever in any respect at the present time, it ability Jöttkandt’s ebook! Henry James is the silent accomplice of Jacques Lacan: by no means pointed out in Lacan’s paintings, he still, in an uncanny approach, ‘stages’ all major Lacanian ideas. Jöttkandt’s e-book brings this mystery hyperlink into the open: after examining it, our belief of either Lacan and James will swap essentially. those that freely choose to forget about this booklet are easily people who are bent to freely opt for stupidity!" — Slavoj Zizek

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Extra resources for Acting Beautifully: Henry James and the Ethical Aesthetic (SUNY Series in Psychoanalysis and Culture)

Example text

The person who stood there was not the same one she had seen hitherto, but was a very different person—a person who knew her secret (PL 458). In this split-second break, this momentary “lapse” in Merle’s continuity, Isabel sees for the first time behind the mask of Merle’s 26 Acting Beautifully self-representations; what she finds there is a question mark, a query from the other woman as to what she knows. Although the question is immediately answered by Merle herself—“Merle had guessed in the space of an instant that everything was at end between them, and in the space of another instant she had guessed the reason why” (PL 458)—nevertheless the posing of the question, implying a lack in Merle’s knowledge, has the effect of immediately changing Isabel’s status.

The person who stood there was not the same one she had seen hitherto, but was a very different person—a person who knew her secret (PL 458). In this split-second break, this momentary “lapse” in Merle’s continuity, Isabel sees for the first time behind the mask of Merle’s 26 Acting Beautifully self-representations; what she finds there is a question mark, a query from the other woman as to what she knows. Although the question is immediately answered by Merle herself—“Merle had guessed in the space of an instant that everything was at end between them, and in the space of another instant she had guessed the reason why” (PL 458)—nevertheless the posing of the question, implying a lack in Merle’s knowledge, has the effect of immediately changing Isabel’s status.

But just as important concerning our tendency to read The Portrait of a Lady in terms of a novel of development is the way James’s Osmond simultaneously directs a revitalized attention to the mechanisms by which the Bildungsroman itself secures its reconciliatory narrative goals. For to the extent that he embodies the telos of the Bildungsroman’s ideal of Bildung (as the beautiful soul), Osmond’s obscene will to power obliges us to confront a similar will expressed structurally in the Bildungsroman’s drive toward narrative closure which, as Martin Swales observes in his influential study, characteristically follows a certain established pattern.

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Acting Beautifully: Henry James and the Ethical Aesthetic (SUNY Series in Psychoanalysis and Culture) by Sigi Jottkandt


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