Home » Desire and Love in Henry James: A Study of the Late Novels by David McWhirter
Desire and Love in Henry James: A Study of the Late Novels David McWhirter

Desire and Love in Henry James: A Study of the Late Novels

David McWhirter

Published December 28th 2009
ISBN : 9780521127172
Paperback
236 pages
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 About the Book 

With painful consistency, Henry James denied his characters the experience of fulfilled love. Not surprisingly, many critics have concluded that he simply could not accept the idea of people loving. Yet in the final pages of The Golden Bowl, JamesMoreWith painful consistency, Henry James denied his characters the experience of fulfilled love. Not surprisingly, many critics have concluded that he simply could not accept the idea of people loving. Yet in the final pages of The Golden Bowl, James affirms and celebrates the renewal of Maggie Ververs marriage and the consummation of her passion. How did he arrive at this belated embrace of love? David McWhirter argues that James last three novels - usually seen as a homogenous phase in his career - in fact embody a radical refashioning of his vision. The Ambassadors culminates James lifelong commitment to desire, a solipsistic imagination of loving that deliberately flees fulfilment. But through his acceptance of lifes tragic finitude in The Wings of the Dove, James attains a new capacity - realised in The Golden Bowl - to will the death of desires infinite but illusory imaginings in the limited reality of enacted love. Combining formalist, ethical and psychobiographical perspectives, McWhirter provides an important rereading of James late novels, challenging prevailing views of the major phase as life-denying retreat into a refined but sterile art.