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A Theory of Realistic Representation in Henry James

DOI: 10.3968/j.sll.1923156320120503.1195

Keywords: James , Fiction , The real , Appearance , Representation , Consciousness , Verisimilitude

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Abstract:

A dimension of the later style of the fiction of Henry James is its deep concern not with selves and identities but with images and appearances. These works typically picture the character in in-between situations where he is recognized not as he really is but as he shows himself, as he appears in projected situations. However, another aspect of James’s later style is the magnificence of the appearance, because appearance is the outcome of reciprocal spaces which in turn signify vivified and productive relations among the agents of the narrative. These facades of James’s later style render it a space for a new mode of realistic representation which depends on a new kind of verisimilitude, the story in the service of language, and consciousness dramatization. And the watershed of the Jamesian verisimilitude is the work of successive centers of consciousness from where the tale is narrated. In addition, to show the deepest layers of the human soul, Jamess narrator can occasionally go beyond the frontiers of language and take use of the non-verbal structures of culture also. This mode of fiction mainly wants to exhibit the consciousness in the process of evolution. And it shows “the real” not as what has so far been considered as real, but as what emerges in this modern analytical consciousness. Key words: James; Fiction; The real; Appearance; Representation; Consciousness; Verisimilitude

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