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The search for happiness and fulfilment in the fiction of Henry James : women, men and the artist Lukes, Kathryn Margaret 1976

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THE  SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS AND FULFILMENT IN THE FICTION OF HENRY JAMES: WOMEN, MEN, AND THE ARTIST by KATHRYN MARGARET LUKES .  B.A.  (Honours), U n i v e r s i t y o f A l b e r t a , 1968  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE  REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF Master o f A r t s  i n the Department of English  v We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming t o the required  THE  standard  UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA February, 1976  In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s  thesis  an advanced degree at the L i b r a r y s h a l l I  f u r t h e r agree  in p a r t i a l  fulfilment of  the requirements f o r  the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia,  make it  freely available  that permission  for  I agree  r e f e r e n c e and  f o r e x t e n s i v e copying o f  this  that  study. thesis  f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by h i s of  this  representatives. thesis  It  is understood that copying or p u b l i c a t i o n  f o r f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l  w r i t ten pe rm i ss i on .  Department of The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h  2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5  Date  Columbia  not  be allowed without my  -ii-  ABSTRACT James's profound pessimism about the l i v e s o f the v a s t m a j o r i t y o f the c h a r a c t e r s whom he chooses t o p o r t r a y i n h i s f i c t i o n has been somewhat under emphasized James c o n s i d e r s a l i f e  by the c r i t i c s .  s u c c e s s f u l o n l y when the i n d i v i d u a l  i n q u e s t i o n r e a l i z e s h i s i n n e r p o t e n t i a l and thus a c h i e v e s a sense o f s e l f - f u l f i l m e n t .  Y e t the r e a d e r ' s cumulative  i m p r e s s i o n o f James's f i c t i o n i s t h a t h i s c h a r a c t e r s almost invariably f a i l  t o achieve t h i s d e s i r a b l e s t a t e , and t h a t  they a r e doomed t o disappointment and h e a r t a c h e .  This  unhappi-  ness almost i n v a r i a b l y a r i s e s from the r e l a t i o n between the sexes. James c o n s i d e r s s e v e r a l major c a t e g o r i e s o f p e o p l e , b u t a l l b u t one group, the a r t i s t s , For  fall  s h o r t o f the o b j e c t i v e .  example, James's young female c h a r a c t e r s  (whether Euro-  pean, E n g l i s h , o r American), a r e under c o n s t a n t p r e s s u r e t o "marry w e l l " — t o s e i z e the n e a r e s t man and t h e l a r g e s t tune.  for-  Y e t James p o r t r a y s marriage as the most inhumane o f  i n s t i t u t i o n s ; as one i n which women immure themselves and sacrifice a l l their individuality.  S i m i l a r l y , James's male  c h a r a c t e r s a r e never happy o r f u l f i l l e d or  e i t h e r i n marriage  i n b u s i n e s s , f o r i n marriage they tend t o be b r u t a l o r  i n s e n s i t i v e , w h i l e i n b u s i n e s s they subjugate t h e i r moral  -iii-  and  a e s t h e t i c senses t o a c q u i s i t i v e ones.  values  Such debased  a r e d e t r i m e n t a l t o the man h i m s e l f and t o a l l those  with whom he l i v e s .  Nor a r e the r a r e s e n s i t i v e men i n  James's f i c t i o n s u c c e s s f u l i n l i f e ,  f o r , t h e y tend t o base  t h e i r own happiness on the a c t i o n s o f o t h e r p e o p l e — a carious  pre-  foundation.  James b e l i e v e s o n l y one s o r t o f happiness i s worthwhile and in  l a s t i n g , and t h a t p o s s e s s i o n life.  of i t constitutes  Only the a r t i s t can achieve  ness b u t he can enjoy  success  t h i s p e r f e c t happi-  i t o n l y on the most d i f f i c u l t  he must commit h i m s e l f a b s o l u t e l y t o h i s a r t .  terms:  The a r t i s t  must be a man o r woman u n l i k e o t h e r s , s a c r i f i c i n g a l l e a r t h l y v a n i t i e s t o h i s one i d e a l v i s i o n .  He cannot  permit  h i m s e l f t o be overwhelmed by t h e o r d i n a r y concerns o f d a i l y life. world  He must remove h i m s e l f as much as p o s s i b l e from the o f g e t t i n g and spending, l o v i n g and marrying.  by making t h i s a b s o l u t e commitment can he achieve  Only  the h a p p i -  ness which c o n s i s t s o f knowing t h a t he has done the b e s t work t h a t i s i n him.  T h i s sense o f consummate achievement  c o n s t i t u t e s happiness f o r James's a r t i s t c h a r a c t e r s . c o n s i d e r i t worth the p r i c e they pay.  They  -iv-  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Introduction Chapter One:  1.-5 Women i n the F i c t i o n  6 -  61  Notes t o I n t r o d u c t i o n and Chapter One  62 -  65  Chapter Two:  66 -  97  98 -  101  102 -  133  Notes t o Chapter Three  134 -  135  Conclusion  136 -  142  Bibliography  143 - 149  Men  i n the F i c t i o n  Notes t o Chapter Two Chapter Three:  The A r t i s t i n the F i c t i o n  -1-  Introduction Henry James has a profoundly  p e s s i m i s t i c view o f l i f e .  His f i c t i o n demonstrates t h a t he b e l i e v e d unhappiness and disappointment t o be the most c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s t a t e s o f the human c o n d i t i o n .  He sees the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the sexes  as the o r i g i n o f much o f t h i s d i s c o n t e n t . characters, to f a i l  F o r James's  i n love and marriage i s t o f a i l ,  indeed.  Marriage and c o u r t s h i p are thus c e n t r a l i s s u e s i n h i s f i c tion.  Many o f h i s c h a r a c t e r s  seem d e s t i n e d t o f a i l  i n this  important area o f human e n t e r p r i s e ; most o f t e n because the r o l e s s o c i e t y has decreed f o r them r e s u l t i n t h e i r being i l l prepared, choosing  b l i n d l y , and l a c k i n g f o r e s i g h t as t o the  probable consequences o f t h e i r a c t i o n s .  James most o f t e n  sees l o v e as a maelstrom, marriage as a t r a p . Courtship  and marriage i s thus a common p a t t e r n i n the  l i v e s o f James's c h a r a c t e r s though James demonstrates, time and  time again, t h a t i t i s not a v a l i d goal a t a l l ;  is,  i n fact, a fool's paradise.  By the time h i s c h a r a c t e r s  r e a l i z e t h e i r mistakes i t i s too l a t e . they l i v e continues  that i t  The s o c i e t y i n which  t o gauge p e r s o n a l worth by the " b r i l -  l i a n c e " o f one's marriage, while James's c h a r a c t e r s  stare at  the enormity o f t h e i r e r r o r s w i t h growing dread and understanding.  -2-  What, then, i s worthwhile i n a world o f i l l u s i o n and change?  Only the p r o d u c t i o n o f g r e a t a r t o f f e r s  a sense o f  permanence and s e r e n i t y , and i t i s t o be enjoyed o n l y through the  s a c r i f i c e o f the t r a n s i e n t p l e a s u r e s o f love and marriage.  In James's f i c t i o n , a t l e a s t , the two realms o f a r t and marriage are mutually e x c l u s i v e .  H i s a r t i s t s must devote  themselves w h o l l y t o t h e i r work o r see i t v i t i a t e d by the demands made on t h e i r time by t h e i r l o v e d ones.  His a r t i s t s  must l i v e i n the r e a l world, but only t o t h e i r sorrow are they ever o f i t . common l i f e ,  T h e i r t a s k i s t o t r a n s c e n d the b a n a l i t y o f  f o r i m p e r i s h a b l e beauty and l a s t i n g happiness  e x i s t only i n the realm o f a r t . There i s l i t t l e  sense o f achievement  t o be found i n the  l i v e s o f James's n o n - a r t i s t s .  H i s women, though o f t e n e x t r a -  ordinary i n t h e i r i n t e l l i g e n c e  and v i v a c i t y ,  f a i l to trans-  cend the unhappiness t h a t James sees as t h e i r u l t i m a t e l o t in  life.  Each s t a r t s out f u l l o f hope and w i t h a b r i g h t  v i s i o n o f the f u t u r e which never comes t o f r u i t i o n . is  Marriage  the u l t i m a t e g o a l o f a l l t h e young g i r l s i n James's  t i o n ; o r , a t the very l e a s t , i t i s the goal o f t h e i r mammas. exposed  Y e t the young g i r l i s e i t h e r (depending on her s o c i e t y ) ,  fic-  scheming  too c l o i s t e r e d or too  and taught l i t t l e  that  w i l l be o f any v a l u e t o her a f t e r she becomes a m a r r i e d woman.  Her e d u c a t i o n i s d e f i c i e n t  of marriage and l i f e  i n t h a t her e x p e c t a t i o n s  are allowed t o remain  unpractically  romantic and i l l - d e f i n e d ; she i s not s c h o o l e d i n the a r t s o f survival.  -3-  For some o f James's women, the d i s i l l u s i o n m e n t does n o t b e g i n u n t i l a f t e r marriage.  process  A c c o r d i n g t o James  t h e r e a r e a g r e a t many sources o f d i s i l l u s i o n m e n t i n m a r r i age.  Most commonly the w i f e i s u t t e r l y mistaken  i n her  e v a l u a t i o n o f the k i n d o f man she has m a r r i e d , as i s t h e case with I s a b e l Archer i n The P o r t r a i t o f a Lady and Maggie Verver i n The Golden Bowl.  Too, James i s p r e o c c u p i e d w i t h the i r o n -  c l a d aspect o f the marriage  c o n t r a c t , by the f a c t t h a t i t i s  regarded as an i n d i s s o l u b l e  union.  I t i s i r o n i c t h a t people  who do d i v o r c e i n James's f i c t i o n a r e never presented as admirable  types; y e t people who should  ( l i k e I s a b e l Archer)  waste t h e i r l i v e s and t h e i r unique p e r s o n a l q u a l i t i e s i n bondage. ble  James thus watches h i s women vow t o do the i m p o s s i -  and then w r i t h e i n the agony o f keeping t h a t Nor do James's men f i n d l a s t i n g happiness  promise.  i n marriage  (or i n any o t h e r aspect o f human endeavor, f o r t h a t m a t t e r ) . However, because they are r a r e l y  the equals o f James's l i v e l y  s e n s i t i v e women, t h e i r f a i l u r e s do not d i s t r e s s the same degree as those o f the women. because James's men are l e s s engaging f o r t u n e s evoke l e s s sympathy.  the reader t o  In other words,  c h a r a c t e r s , t h e i r mis-  F o r example, P r i n c e Amerigo i n  The Golden Bowl and G i l b e r t Osmond i n The P o r t r a i t o f a Lady are hollow men.  They are o p p o r t u n i s t s and g i g o l o s whose  c h i e f m o t i v a t i o n i s a d e s i r e f o r the f i n a n c i a l s e c u r i t y and m a t e r i a l l u x u r y which marriage guarantee.  t o a r i c h woman would seem t o  Thus when the r i c h wives o f Amerigo and Osmond  -4-  prove troublesome  t o them, the reader w i t h h o l d s sympathy  which would be g i v e n t o more admirable c h a r a c t e r s i n the same s i t u a t i o n .  Y e t the two men do i l l u s t r a t e James's p e r -  c e p t i o n t h a t those who take advantage o f o t h e r s a r e themselves dealt a kind of poetic Another  justice.  group o f men whom James s t u d i e s a r e r e p r e s e n t e d  by C h r i s t o p h e r Newman and Adam V e r v e r .  Such r e t i r e d American  businessmen t r y t o compensate f o r the years they have spent i n accumulating t h e i r f o r t u n e s by crowding  i n t o European  e x c u r s i o n s as much c u l t u r e and immediate g r a t i f i c a t i o n as Yankee d o l l a r s can buy. sequences, toward  Sometimes, w i t h the g r a v e s t o f con-  they even t r y t o buy l o v e .  James's a t t i t u d e  t h i s group may be seen t o change over the y e a r s .  G a l l a n t C h r i s t o p h e r Newman o f The American  (1877), a breezy  son o f democracy, i s doomed t o heartbreak when he c o u r t s a French a r i s t o c r a t whose haughty f a m i l y c o n s i d e r s him gauche and i n f e r i o r .  But by the end o f h i s c a r e e r , James i s  i n c l i n e d t o regard the f a u l t s o f the American businessman as i n f i n i t e l y more s e r i o u s , as flaws not o f manners b u t o f morals.  Adam Verver i s s i n i s t e r and m a n i p u l a t i v e i n The  Golden Bowl (1904) and Abel Gaw i s almost a c a r i c a t u r e o f greed i n The Ivory Tower ( w r i t t e n about  1910).''"  Such men  i l l u s t r a t e the f u t i l i t y o f t r y i n g t o buy happiness. As James saw i t ,  the o n l y way t o make sense o f everyday  experience was t o remove o n e s e l f from i t ,  t o transcend i t ,  to commit o n e s e l f wholly t o the t i m e l e s s , b e a u t i f u l w o r l d o f  -5-  art.  Only then c o u l d one do what Henry St. George o f "The  Lesson o f the Master" c a l l s "the g r e a t t h i n g " ; o n l y then c o u l d one f u l f i l h i m s e l f .  James's a r t i s t - f i g u r e s  a r e always  a t t r a c t e d t o the world o f common e x p e r i e n c e , tempted t o l o v e •and t o marry, but i f they cannot r e s i s t those s i r e n s talents perish.  their  James's a r t i s t s are never w h o l l y happy  u n l e s s they are doing t h e i r b e s t work, y e t they can o n l y produce t h e i r b e s t work i n i s o l a t i o n from common human experience.  -6-  Chapter One Women i n the F i c t i o n James sees unhappiness  as the l o t o f woman i n contem-  porary s o c i e t y l a r g e l y because o f the r o l e s she i s r e q u i r e d to  play.  James i s not a s o c i a l reformer; thus he observes  and r e c o r d s these r o l e s but has n o t h i n g t o suggest by way o f an a l t e r n a t i v e .  There i s , however, one i d e a b a s i c t o h i s  p e r c e p t i o n o f the r o l e s women a r e expected t o p l a y i n s o c i e t y . T h i s i s a p l e a t h a t they w i l l not go b l i n d l y t o t h e i r  fate,  t h a t they w i l l become aware and thus p o s s i b l y cheat t h e i r destiny.  However, i t i s h i s o b s e r v a t i o n t h a t women a r e  commonly d e f i c i e n t i n t h i s awareness. (whose consequences  Yet t h i s  deficiency  a r e so lamentable) c o u l d be remedied  w h i l e the woman i s s t i l l  a young g i r l , by t h e opening o f her  eyes t o the r e a l i t i e s o f what love and marriage i n v o l v e , by her making a s e r i o u s study o f the examples she meets i n 2 society.  (The "proper i n e x p e r i e n c e "  James mentions  i n the  "Preface t o The Awkward Age" as necessary t o the young r e f e r s t o a c t u a l not i n t e l l e c t u a l  girl  adventures.)  James c o n c e n t r a t e s much o f h i s a t t e n t i o n on the debut of  the young g i r l , watching her dawning awareness o f what  s o c i e t y expects o f her.  He notes the d i f f e r e n t methods o f  educating h e r employed on the C o n t i n e n t , i n England, and i n  -7-  America.  Each o f these s o c i e t i e s g l o r i f i e s the m a r r i e d  s t a t e as the o n l y c o n c e i v a b l e g o a l o f every young l a d y ; none instills  i n t o the young g i r l an adequate awareness o f t h e  narrowness o f the l o t o f the m a r r i e d woman.  Pansy Osmond o f  The P o r t r a i t o f a Lady and L i t t l e Aggie o f The Awkward Age r e p r e s e n t James's s t u d i e s o f the c o n t i n e n t a l jeune f i l l e ; Nanda Brookenham o f The Awkward Age and Biddy Dormer o f The T r a g i c Muse i l l u s t r a t e the young E n g l i s h g i r l ; Daisy M i l l e r and J u l i a B r i d e demonstrate the c u l t u r a l s t a t e o f the s p e c i e s i n America. While i t i s t r u e t h a t James i s c r i t i c a l o f what he cons i d e r s t h e o f t e n t r a g i c l i m i t a t i o n s which marriage imposes on women, and o f the b l i t h e ignorance o f them f o s t e r e d i n the  young g i r l , he opposes r a d i c a l feminism.  T h i s i s demon-  s t r a t e d i n The Bostonians, which i s a g a l l e r y o f grotesques, of  the p e r f e r v i d and w i l d - e y e d types o f humanity which may  be depended upon t o a t t a c h themselves t o such a cause.  The  novel c l e a r l y shows t h a t James c o n s i d e r e d the movement r e p u l s i v e and u n n a t u r a l . Marriage looms as one o f the most s i g n i f i c a n t in  the f i c t i o n o f Henry James.  subjects  James never p o r t r a y s women as  happy i n marriage, though he does examine a g r e a t many v a r i e t i e s o f the i n s t i t u t i o n .  In The P o r t r a i t o f a Lady, f o r  example, Amy, the Countess Gemini, i s bored w i t h her p r o v i n c i a l , a n t i - s o c i a l , and s t u p i d husband and, l e a v i n g him alone i n F l o r e n c e , amuses h e r s e l f i n Rome whenever she can.  Lydia  -8-  Touchett c a r r i e s t h i s system one step f u r t h e r and m a i n t a i n s a home separated  from the one her husband occupies by the  l e n g t h o f the c o n t i n e n t  o f Europe.  s t r i v e s to maintain a conventional, s h i p w i t h her husband.  Only I s a b e l A r c h e r t o t a l l y united  relation-  I t i s her tragedy t h a t he cannot  share h i s l i f e w i t h anyone, f o r h i s i s an h e r m e t i c a l l y s e a l e d egotism.  I s a b e l ' s marriage induces i n her a  state of despair,  f o r she i s f o r e v e r i n c u r r i n g the d i s p l e a s u r e  o f the p e r f e c t i o n i s t m a r t i n e t  f o r whose love she yearns.  When she d i s c o v e r s t h a t t h e i r l i f e together of the g r a v e s t  constant  7. _i.  i s based on l i e s  s i g n i f i c a n c e , her h o r r o r i s such t h a t she  b r i e f l y disobeys him.  U l t i m a t e l y , however, she r e t u r n s t o  the b l a s t e d c i r c l e t h a t i s her l i f e w i t h Osmond, never  again  to escape. In The Golden Bowl Maggie Verver and C h a r l o t t e each t r y u n s u c c e s s f u l l y married s t a t e .  Stant  t o ignore the i m p l i c a t i o n s o f t h e i r  Maggie takes her husband f o r granted, and  ignores him f o r hours on end w h i l e she enjoys her extremely c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h her f a t h e r j u s t as i f she had never married at a l l .  C h a r l o t t e marries f o r money and s o c i a l con-  venience and f i n d s , f o r a time, t h a t her seemingly vague and much o l d e r husband can be p l a c a t e d w i t h small  attentions,  l e a v i n g her f r e e t o pursue a romantic r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h another man. she  C h a r l o t t e i s never t r u l y happy, not even when  i s w i t h her l o v e r .  She must c o n s t a n t l y  amuse him, must  seem f r i v o l o u s and charming and gay l e s t he t i r e o f h e r .  When C h a r l o t t e ' s husband moves t o r e t r i e v e h i s s t r a y i n g w i f e it  i s w i t h a k i n d o f r e p r e s s e d but i n t e n s e c r u e l t y not t o  be encountered  elsewhere i n the James canon.  i s made w i t h the sharpest emphasis:  marriage  Thus the p o i n t i s a trap for  women; they are i n s u b j u g a t i o n t o t h e i r husbands  (however  r a r e and f i n e the woman, however s t u p i d , l i m i t e d , o r c r u e l the man).  By marrying,  As observed  a woman s i g n s away her i n d i v i d u a l i t y  above, James's f i c t i o n m a n i f e s t s a p r e -  o c c u p a t i o n w i t h the type o f the young unmarried her c a r e e r .  He f i n d s inadequate  g i r l and  o r , worse, a c t u a l l y  harmful  a l l extant methods o f e d u c a t i n g her f o r h e r r o l e i n l i f e as a married woman.  On the q u e s t i o n o f e d u c a t i n g the young  female, James i s u l t r a - c o n v e n t i o n a l ; he i s n o t i n t e r e s t e d i n sending h e r t o c o l l e g e o r even t o a "female academy." 3 the "Preface t o The Awkward Age" of  In  he c o n s i d e r s three systems  education f o r the female young and endorses none o f them:  the e x c l u s i v e , formal c o n t i n e n t a l method produces the jeune f i l l e proper  l i k e Pansy Osmond, but a l s o (alas!) l i k e  Aggie o f The Awkward Age;  Little  the proudly i n c o n s i s t e n t E n g l i s h  system produces Nanda Brookenham and Biddy Dormer; the Ameri' can system r e v o l v e s around the g i r l h e r s e l f so t h a t i n a l l t h i n g s she has an i n f l a t e d o p i n i o n o f her own importance l i k e Daisy M i l l e r and J u l i a B r i d e .  In James's world a l l  education worthy o f the name takes p l a c e i n the s a l o n . H i s i n t e r e s t i s experimental: to  the improving  how can a young g i r l be exposed  example o f the "good t a l k " a v a i l a b l e i n the  -10-  drawing rooms of the s o c i a l e l i t e without being c o r r u p t e d by it?  How  can she l e a r n about l i f e and l e a r n t o s u r v i v e i n  the s o c i a l jungle? The produced  c o n t i n e n t a l jeune f i l l e i s the one most c o n s c i o u s l y by her s o c i e t y ; t h a t i s , she i s the one of the  t h r e e on whom the most formal i n s t r u c t i o n has been l a v i s h e d . Pansy Osmond of The P o r t r a i t o f a Lady and L i t t l e Aggie of The Awkward Age of  her.  are two of James's most important  James f e e l s t h a t the education of the jeune  l i k e anything e l s e , i s a matter girl  portraits  of temperament; the young  i n q u e s t i o n w i l l e i t h e r p a s s i v e l y accept her  and conduct  instruction  h e r s e l f a c c o r d i n g l y , or she w i l l merely  acquiescence, a c q u i r e the veneer  fille,  pretend  and, w i t h downcast eyes,  employ the manner to get whatever she wants.  James sees  the  c o n t i n e n t a l method as most open t o abuse and t o p e r v e r s e m a n i p u l a t i o n both of the g i r l  and by the  girl.  James c o n s i d e r s the c o n t i n e n t a l system a double In for  Pansy Osmond James i l l u s t r a t e s how  failure.  the system can be  c r u e l m a n i p u l a t i o n o f i t s hapless s t u d e n t s .  Pansy Osmond  i s a p o o r - s p i r i t e d , p a t h e t i c l i t t l e v i c t i m because she been taught always t o submit  t o the w i l l of o t h e r s .  f a t h e r looms so l a r g e i n her world t h a t the thought obeying him i s completely f o r e i g n t o h e r — e v e n marriage  and f u t u r e happiness  Pansy's convent at  are hanging  used  has  Her of d i s -  when her  own  i n the balance.  e d u c a t i o n and the i c y f o r m a l i t y of her  home have rendered her e x c e s s i v e l y m a l l e a b l e .  life  -11-  At the o t h e r extreme i s L i t t l e Aggie of The Awkward Age who  has subverted the system to serve her own  purposes.  She  appears to be r a d i a n t , v i r g i n a l , u t t e r l y unworldly u n t i l has secured her f u t u r e by marrying a wealthy man.  she  Then the  convent-flower facade i s no l o n g e r necessary and the r e a l Aggie steps forward t o romp, t o t e a s e , t o f l i r t ,  to embark  upon an a f f a i r w i t h her husband's b e s t f r i e n d — t o do, i n s h o r t , a l l those t h i n g s which her convent e d u c a t i o n was have ensured a g a i n s t .  L i t t l e Aggie i s l i k e the  Gemini o f The P o r t r a i t o f a Lady who the convents, the convents ! . . . vents! myself.  You may  Countess  gaily declares,  Speak t o me  l e a r n anything t h e r e ; I'm  to  "Oh,  of the con-  a convent-flower  I don't p r e t e n d t o be good, but the nuns do.  Don't  4 you see what I mean?"  Aggie i s a h y p o c r i t e .  In The P o r t r a i t o f a Lady, the f l o w e r f o r which shade, e a s i l y broken.  f o r example, Pansy i s l i k e  she i s named—shy, g e n t l e , fond o f the She i s completely the product o f her  f a t h e r ' s wishes and the convent's i n s t r u c t i o n .  Her f o n d e s t  hope i s t o p l e a s e , her f a v o u r i t e a c t i v i t y the s o c i a l ceremony of making t e a .  Crushing Pansy's  innocent love of Edward  R o s i e r i s e a s i e r and thus a l e s s e r v i c t o r y than b r e a k i n g I s a b e l ' s s p i r i t , but James shows how  G i l b e r t Osmond none-  t h e l e s s savours h i s a b s o l u t e a u t h o r i t y over h i s daughter. Osmond e x p l a i n s t o I s a b e l h i s sudden, a r b i t r a r y d e c i s i o n t o banish Pansy to the convent:  -12-  "One's daughter should be f r e s h and f a i r ; she should be innocent  and g e n t l e .  With the manners  of the present time she i s l i a b l e t o become so dusty,  a l i t t l e d i s h e v e l l e d ; she has knocked about  too much. . . . convenient,  Convents a r e very q u i e t , very  very s a l u t a r y .  I l i k e to think of  her t h e r e , i n the o l d garden, under the arcade, among those t r a n q u i l v i r t u o u s women. . . . C a t h o l i c s are very wise a f t e r a l l .  The  The convent  i s a g r e a t i n s t i t u t i o n ; i t corresponds t o an e s s e n t i a l need i n f a m i l i e s , i n s o c i e t y .  It's a  s c h o o l o f good manners; i t ' s a s c h o o l o f repose" (Portrait, I I ,  347).  Pansy's o n l y i n s t i n c t i s t o c l i n g where she senses benevolence and, perhaps, p i t y .  Thus she c l i n g s t o I s a b e l .  On  s o c i a l o c c a s i o n s , as when I s a b e l i s duenna t o Pansy a t a b a l l , I s a b e l o f t e n f e e l s t h a t Pansy c l i n g s t o o much, making them both appear r i d i c u l o u s . Pansy i s never p r e s e n t a t "good" t a l k . t a l k threatens  Whenever the  t o become "good", she i s d i s p a t c h e d t o the  garden t o p i c k some f l o w e r s .  I t i s a measure o f I s a b e l ' s  naivete' i n her s o c i a l m i l i e u t h a t she once p r o t e s t e d t o the Countess Gemini her piano may not!"  (who was about t o send Pansy t o p r a c t i s e  l e s s o n s ) , "I would r a t h e r hear nothing ( P o r t r a i t , I I , 88).  t h a t Pansy  -13-  I s a b e l ' s v i s i t t o Pansy alone  i n the v i l l a a t F l o r e n c e  (Chapter T h i r t y ) i s l i k e a " s e t p i e c e " i n a drama. fills  Pansy  h e r r o l e as s m a l l c h a t e l a i n e and e n t e r t a i n s h e r guest  i n her best i m i t a t i o n o f the grown-up manner.  From time t o  time h e r decorous speeches r e v e a l glimpses o f ideas which should have s t i r r e d I s a b e l ' s American conscience, which should even have alarmed her.  things  But I s a b e l was l u l l e d ,  charmed by t h i s c h i l d p l a y i n g a t being  a woman.  "How w e l l  the c h i l d has been taught, . . . how p r e t t i l y she has been d i r e c t e d and fashioned; innocent  and y e t how simple, how n a t u r a l , how  she has been kept"  (Portrait,  I I , 26).  Isabel's  f i n a l e v a l u a t i o n i s t h a t Pansy i s "a blank page" with two o r three s m a l l e x q u i s i t e i n s t i n c t s : friend,  "only  f o r knowing a  f o r a v o i d i n g a mistake, f o r t a k i n g care o f an o l d  toy o r a new f r o c k . . . h e r f o r c e would be a l l i n knowing when and where t o c l i n g " Pansy's c o n v e r s a t i o n her f a t h e r . pleasure  (Portrait,  r e v e a l s her u t t e r dependence on  When I s a b e l advises Pansy t o "be good" and g i v e  t o h e r f a t h e r the simple  what I l i v e f o r " ( P o r t r a i t , t h i s strange,  I I , 26-27).  r e p l y i s , "I t h i n k  that's  I I , 29). I s a b e l does not f i n d  does not see anything  s i n i s t e r i n the f a c t  that  the c h i l d has been so d r i l l e d as t o have no w i l l o f her own. Pansy's c o n v e r s a t i o n  turns o f t e n t o money:  t o how l i t t l e o f  i t Osmond has; t o how expensive the convent s c h o o l i s ; t o how she t h i n k s she i s n ' t "worth" what her f a t h e r i s paying to keep her a t the convent; t o how i t w i l l probably be  -14-  something o f a scramble t o accumulate a dowry f o r her ("It c o s t s so much t o marry!"  [ P o r t r a i t , I I , 2§ ).  not t h i n k these very o l d w o r r i e s Further,  f o r a c h i l d of f i f t e e n .  Pansy r e g r e t s her own l a c k o f academic o r m u s i c a l  t a l e n t s and w o r r i e s  about the p r o p r i e t y o f her remarks t o  I s a b e l , "I don't l i k e t o do anything it  t h a t ' s not expected;  looks as i f one had not been p r o p e r l y  taught.  I should never l i k e t o be taken by s u r p r i s e " 28).  I s a b e l does  I myself—  (Portrait, I I ,  None o f t h i s suggests t o I s a b e l the extremely  air  i n which the c h i l d has been r a i s e d .  but  admires! In her d i m i n u t i v e  oppressive  She does not p i t y ,  attempt t o do the honours o f her  f a t h e r ' s home, Pansy demonstrates she has been w e l l t r a i n e d for  the r o l e she w i l l u l t i m a t e l y p l a y i n s o c i e t y .  I t i s the  r o l e w i t h which James f i n d s f a u l t i n her case, r e g r e t t i n g that her upbringing  has made h e r such an easy v i c t i m .  means t o s e l l her t o the h i g h e s t b i d d e r ,  Osmond  and Pansy has been  schooled  i n r e s i g n a t i o n , taught never t o expect t h i n g s  others.  She w i l l obey a c r u e l o r n e g l i g e n t husband as s e l f -  l e s s l y as she obeys her f a t h e r .  She w i l l bend, not break;  and w h i l e t h a t i s a k i n d o f s u r v i v a l , i t i s p i t i f u l theless.  never-  Her mutiny was b r i e f and m i l d ; her wish t o marry  Edward R o s i e r i n s t e a d o f Lord Warburton, h e r f a t h e r ' s date, was borne down by Osmond's d i s p l e a s u r e 345).  from  candi-  (Portrait, I I ,  The i n c a r c e r a t i o n i n the convent was so e f f e c t i v e t h a t  Pansy wants t o r e t u r n t o the world on any terms her f a t h e r  -15-  may  choose to d i c t a t e .  "I've thought a g r e a t d e a l  I must never d i s p l e a s e papa."  . . . that  On I s a b e l ' s n o t i n g t h a t  Pansy  knew t h a t b e f o r e , the p a t h e t i c response i s , "Yes, but I know i t better. II,  I ' l l do a n y t h i n g — I ' l l do a n y t h i n g " ( P o r t r a i t ,  284). There can be l i t t l e  doubt about where James stands w i t h  r e g a r d t o the dark m a n i p u l a t i o n s l o o s e d on Pansy's little  harmless  s p i r i t by her malevolent f a t h e r , but he i s more q u a l i -  f i e d i n h i s views of " L i t t l e Aggie" i n The Awkward Age.  The  whole q u e s t i o n o f the s o c i a l s t a t u s o f the young unmarried female i s d i s c u s s e d by Mrs. Brookenham and the Duchess over tea.  The Duchess has the b r i n g i n g up o f her dead  Italian  husband's "unique n i e c e , " and i s making o f her a jeune  fille  on the c o n t i n e n t a l model, i n s o f a r as t h a t i s p o s s i b l e i n London. L i t t l e Aggie's London e d u c a t i o n i s o f the narrowest. The Duchess, her g u a r d i a n , i s c y n i c a l but c o n s i s t e n t .  She  makes i t very c l e a r to Mrs. Brook t h a t her o n l y i n t e n t i o n i s to marry Aggie and to marry her w e l l . approach the p r o s p e c t i v e husband  She h e r s e l f w i l l  about the match.  even  She  reproaches Mrs. Brook f o r not having sought Mitchy f o r her Nanda i n the same d i r e c t f a s h i o n :  "I'd o f f e r mine t o the  son o f a chimneysweep i f the p r i n c i p a l guarantees were t h e r e . ... how  He has f o r t y thousand a y e a r , an e x c e l l e n t i d e a o f  t o take care o f i t and a good d i s p o s i t i o n "  p. 63).  In the Duchess'  view, extreme  (Awk.  Age,  care must be taken to  -16-  ensure t h a t the young g i r l her p r o s p e c t i v e husband:  i n q u e s t i o n i s kept a p p e a l i n g f o r " I t ' s not t h e i r i d e a t h a t the g i r l s  they marry s h a l l a l r e a d y have been p i t c h f o r k e d — b y t a l k and c o n t a c t s and v i s i t s  and newspapers and by the way the poor  c r e a t u r e s rush about and a l l the e x t r a o r d i n a r y t h i n g s they d o — q u i t e i n t o e v e r y t h i n g " (Awk. Age, p. 57).  Consequently  Aggie i s i n the constant care o f a governess, i s p e r m i t t e d by way o f c u l t u r e o n l y "Mr. G a r l i c k ' s c l a s s i n Modern L i g h t L i t e r a t u r e " , and, on those i n f r e q u e n t o c c a s i o n s when Miss Merriman has a "day o f f " ,  Aggie i s taken around by the  Duchess t o pay a very few s o c i a l  calls.  Whereas Pansy Osmond i s g e n u i n e l y i n n o c e n t and comp l e t e l y unworldly, i t i s i m p l i c i t i n James's i n t r o d u c t i o n o f her t h a t L i t t l e Aggie i s , perhaps, not what she appears. " L i t t l e Aggie p r e s e n t e d , up and down, an arrangement o f dress e x a c t l y i n the key o f her age, her complexion, her emphasized  virginity  . . . her admirable t r a i n i n g  appeared  to h o l d her out t o them a l l w i t h p r e c a u t i o n a r y f i n g e r - t i p s " (Awk.  Age, p. 93). Pansy's p o s t - m a r i t a l s i t u a t i o n i s never  d i s c u s s e d o r s p e c u l a t e d upon i n The P o r t r a i t o f a Lady, and there i s l i t t l e  thought g i v e n by anyone t o her ever l e a r n i n g  those t h i n g s a maiden ought not t o know.  The Duchess takes  such knowledge f o r granted on L i t t l e Aggie's b e h a l f , b a l k i n g o n l y a t the i d e a t h a t Aggie should have any i n k l i n g s b e f o r e she i s s a f e l y married ("Don't understand, my own d a r l i n g — don't understand!"  [Awk.. Age, p. 97j| ) .  When, i n s t e a d o f Miss  -17-  Merriman, the Duchess h e r s e l f has the onerous  task o f the  d i r e c t s u p e r v i s i o n o f L i t t l e Aggie she i s never a t ease  lest  the c h i l d hear i n a p p r o p r i a t e remarks o r meet i n a p p r o p r i a t e people.  Thus when the p a i n t e d C a r r i e Donner unexpectedly  e n t e r s Mrs. Brook's  drawing  room, the Duchess " q u i c k l y  reached her kinsman w i t h a smothered f o r God's sake take Aggie!'"  h i s s , an 'Edward dear,  (Awk. Age, p. 99).  The Duchess' scheme i s a s p e c t a c u l a r f a i l u r e .  Once  Aggie i s s a f e l y married t o Mitchy she begins her t r u e c a r e e r , and w i t h her husband's c l o s e f r i e n d Petherton the Duchess" own l o v e r ) .  (who was a l s o  Mrs. Brook d e s c r i b e s t h e i r  case  to Vanderbank: "I t h i n k him q u i t e capable o f c o n s i d e r i n g , w i t h a m a g n i f i c e n t i n s o l e n c e o f s e l f i s h n e s s , t h a t what Mitchy has most done w i l l have been t o make Aggie a c c e s s i b l e i n a way t h a t — f o r decency  and d e l i c a c y  o f course, t h i n g s on which P e t h e r t o n h i g h l y p r i d e s h i m s e l f — s h e c o u l d n a t u r a l l y not be as a g i r l . Her marriage has s i m p l i f i e d i t " H a r o l d Brookenham i s e q u a l l y b l u n t .  (Awk. Age, p. 442). The s u b j e c t i s Aggie's  remarkable e f f l o r e s c e n c e a scant t e n weeks a f t e r her marriage: "But then don't they a l w a y s — I mean when t h e y ' r e l i k e Aggie and they once get l o o s e — g o a t a pace? That's what I want t o know.  I don't suppose  mother d i d , nor T i s h y , nor the Duchess . . . but  -18-  mother and T i s h y and the Duchess, i t s t r i k e s  me,  must e i t h e r have been of t h a t s c h o o l t h a t knew, don't you know?  a deuce of a d e a l b e f o r e , or of  the type t h a t takes i t a l l more q u i e t l y (Awk. The  Age,  p.  after"  427).  Duchess' scheme has f a i l e d , and so f a r from being a  "femme charmante" Aggie  i s , i n f a c t , a scandal.  p i t i e s and t r i e s to excuse her: f i n d out  "Aggie's  . . . what s o r t of person  have known?  I t was  kept so obscure  Nanda  o n l y t r y i n g to  she i s .  How  can she  c a r e f u l l y , e l a b o r a t e l y hidden  t h a t she c o u l d make out n o t h i n g .  ever  from  her—  . . .  You  see when t h e r e has been n o t h i n g b e f o r e , i t a l l has to come w i t h a rush"  (Awk.  Age,  pp.  528-29).  Nanda i s being o v e r l y c h a r i t a b l e and furthermore i s very much on her c o n s c i e n c e , f o r Nanda was persuaded Mitchy to marry Aggie  Aggie  the one  i n the f i r s t p l a c e .  who Aggie  has run w i l d and done so i n s p i t e of her c a r e f u l t e n d i n g by the Duchess.  I t seems reasonable to assume t h a t the narrow-  ness of her e d u c a t i o n i s a t f a u l t , t h a t the very t h i n g s which were so o s t e n t a c i o u s l y whisked out of s i g h t as u n s u i t able were the t h i n g s t h a t she c h i l d ) most longed to see. bundled  unceremoniously  ( l i k e any h e a l t h y , c u r i o u s  Yet Pansy Osmond, t o o , was  often  out of the room when c o n v e r s a t i o n  took an i n d e l i c a t e t u r n , and Pansy never wondered a t anything i n her e n t i r e l i f e . l i k e Petherton who  However Pansy d i d not have a guardian may  w e l l have used h i s c o n f i d e n t i a l s t a t u s  -19-  to implant  impure ideas i n Aggie's chaste  Watch and Ward theme).  l i t t l e mind  But most of the c r e d i t f o r her way-  ward c a r e e r must go t o Aggie h e r s e l f .  Ten weeks i s too  a time to p l a u s i b l y change from convent flower to coquette, before.  The  L i t t l e Aggie one  s t u d i e d appearances,  and very l i t t l e r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of the r e a l g i r l  within.  James sees the c o n t i n e n t a l system as a f a i l u r e f o r marriage.  veneer of innocence which may  any  case,  I t g i v e s her  a  (as i n Aggie's case)  a charm to b a r t e r on the marriage market.  In  the c o n t i n e n t a l method merely e s c o r t s the g i r l  the t h r e s h o l d of marriage.  I t s r u l e s which exclude her  the s o p h i s t i c a t e d d i s c u s s i o n s of her e l d e r s are at One  because  (as i n Pansy's case) cover woe-  ignorance and h e l p l e s s n e s s , or  become i t s e l f  long  meets as the novel begins i s s u r f a c e s and  i t does not prepare the g i r l  short  boisterous  so the coquette must have been dormant i n her  thus a c r e a t u r e of presented  ful  (the  cannot imagine Pansy's ever h o l d i n g her own  (which i s sure to be her m i l i e u a f t e r marriage). seem an i n s i p i d and of her and  spineless fool.  to from  fault.  i n a salon She  will  Her husband w i l l t i r e  she w i l l not even know h e r s e l f betrayed.  Pansy  i s the p e r f e c t v i c t i m . The  E n g l i s h system, the second method of educating  young g i r l Age"  considered  by James i n the "Preface to The  tem,  Awkward •  does not r e q u i r e the e x c l u s i o n of the young g i r l  the s a l o n , the arena of s o c i a l encounters. indeed,  The  the  from  E n g l i s h sys-  does not s p e c i f i c a l l y r e q u i r e anything  of  -20-  anybody.  James's c h i e f c r i t i c i s m of the E n g l i s h system o f  educating  the young g i r l i s t h a t i t i s i n c o h e r e n t  genous.  These are i t s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s because "the has  mind  never conceived  of but  s a i d of j u s t being E n g l i s h "  Age",  James means by t h i s t h a t the i d e a of formulated  recognized  t r i v e t h e i r own The ing  ing  r u l e s seems are  s o c i a l codes. i s based on the awkward s i t u a t i o n r e g a r d -  i n t h a t , at eighteen,  she  She  i s at the awk-  should p r o p e r l y be  guests i n her mother's drawing room but Mrs.  not want her t h e r e .  The  Duchess sees no  to marry her soon?  do i t w h i l e you  can.  to marry  That's the great i f you  s t a i r s — a t which, l e t me  say,  receiv-  Brook does  difficulty:  i s n ' t i t as p l a i n as a p i k e s t a f f t h a t  t h i n g to do w i t h Nanda i s simply and  x-xi).  r u l e s the E n g l i s h g i r l s are l e f t to con-  Awkward Age  "Why  p.  But because there  the s a l o n debut of Nanda Brookenham.  ward age  English  i n f a i r n e s s be  ("Preface to Awk.  f o r e i g n , unnecessary, d i s t a s t e f u l .  hetero-  one  grand p r o p r i e t y , f o r every case i t should  so few  and  the her—  thing—  don't want her downI don't i n the l e a s t  w o n d e r — y o u r remedy i s to take the r i g h t a l t e r n a tive" The  (Awk.  Age,  p.  60).  o s t e n s i b l e reason f o r Nanda's e x c l u s i o n i s t h a t the  t a l k of Mrs.  free  Brook's s a l o n would be compromised by Nanda's 5 maiden presence, and t h a t the most i n t e r e s t i n g s u b j e c t s f o r  -21-  d i s c u s s i o n would be thus rendered a c t u a l reason  i s t h a t she  impossible.  Mrs.  Brook's  f e a r s Nanda as a r i v a l f o r the  a t t e n t i o n of her l o v e r , Vanderbank. The  attempt to marry Nanda and thus remove her  competition  i s Mrs.  the n o v e l .  (Since the Duchess  Brook's c h i e f motive f o r the r e s t o f 1  p l a n was  to marry Aggie as  a femme charmante she can be s a i d to have achieved tial way  success.)  from  only  par-  Nanda l o v e s Vanderbank, but he cannot see h i s  c l e a r to marry h e r — e v e n to c l a i m the very s u b s t a n t i a l  dowry w i t h which Longdon b r i b e s him. she does not r e t u r n h i s a f f e c t i o n . left,  and he i s the one who  Mitchy  l o v e s Nanda but  Thus o n l y Mr.  Longdon i s  rescues Nanda from her  ment, s p i r i t s her away to h i s secluded g e n e r a l l y saves everyone's f a c e .  country  embarrass-  estate  That Nanda has  and  effectually  been s o l d to the h i g h e s t b i d d e r seems to a p p a l l no-one but Henry James.  Longdon's l o v e r - l i k e t r e p i d a t i o n as he  Nanda's f i n a l  "answer", and Mitchy's  ment are i n a p p r o p r i a t e , u n n a t u r a l context of the s i t u a t i o n ) . Mrs.  Brook has  awaits  jokes about t h e i r  and d i s t u r b i n g (given the  Nanda has been d i s p o s e d of  and  won.  Nanda goes w i t h Longdon l a r g e l y out o f d e s p a i r . cannot have the man  she l o v e s she i s i n d i f f e r e n t as to  she spends the r e s t of her l i f e . w e l l as a nunnery.  Her  I f she how  B e c c l e s w i l l do q u i t e as  l a s t gesture  i s n ' t worth i t ) i s u t t e r l y p a t h e t i c . Mrs.  elope-  toward her mother  (who  Nanda t r i e s to r e b u i l d  Brook's s a l o n , her mother's o n l y i n t e r e s t , by  urging  -22-  Vanderbank to make more f r e q u e n t v i s i t s . magnanimous g e s t u r e . ^ marrying Mitchy  I t i s a wholly  I n s o f a r as Nanda i s m a n i p u l a t i v e i n  to Aggie  she pays d e a r l y i n g r i e f and  at h i s f a t e and her p a r t i n i t .  Thus, throughout  horror  the n o v e l  Nanda i s s i n c e r e , magnanimous, a l t o g e t h e r s u p e r i o r t o her milieu. James's p o r t r a i t of Nanda Brookenham shows how young E n g l i s h g i r l  i s l e f t to p u z z l e out her own  i n a world of shoddy p r e t e n c e s .  Nanda triumphs  the  moral code m o r a l l y , but  i s p i t i f u l l y u n s u c c e s s f u l a t a c h i e v i n g her p a r t i c u l a r sonal d e s i r e s .  She  i s t e c h n i c a l l y excluded  s a l o n , but l e a r n s about l i f e  shoddy a f f a i r ) ,  ^Awk.  ("the  unhappily  o t h e r woman" i n a  and from v a r i o u s o t h e r i n t i m a t e s of her  mother's c i r c l e . (the  from her mother's  from T i s h y Grendon, an  married f r i e n d ; from C a r r i e Donner  per-  Nanda even reads a naughty French  novel  s u b j e c t of an e l a b o r a t e b i t o f "business" i n the n o v e l Age,  pp.  these t h i n g s .  430-34] ).  She walks unscathed  I t i s as temperamentally i m p o s s i b l e f o r her  to become a world-weary c y n i c l i k e her mother ham' s supreme r e b e l l i o n a g a i n s t f a t e was the l a s t  through a l l  frankness how  as to become a coquette  much she was  ("Mrs. Brooken-  j u s t to show w i t h  bored" £Awk. Age,  l i k e L i t t l e Aggie.  Since  extremes s i g n i f y success i n her narrow c i r c l e to Longdon's removal of her from t h a t  she  p.  43^)  those consents  circle.  Biddy Dormer of The T r a g i c Muse i s another  young E n g l i s h  g i r l whose debut, exposure and education are, l i k e Nanda's,  -23-  very much a s u b j e c t o f g e n e r a l i n t e r e s t t o o t h e r s . Biddy's case James's focus i s no l o n g e r on moral  In  superiority  but on t h e "incoherence" o f t h e E n g l i s h system i t s e l f .  Biddy  Dormer i s a very o r d i n a r y g i r l , not a t a l l Nanda Brookenham's match i n i n t e l l i g e n c e , p e r c e p t i o n , o r moral candor.  Through-  out the n o v e l Biddy's mother, b r o t h e r , and f r i e n d s make a g r e a t i s s u e o f p r o t e c t i n g her from scenes and people they c o n s i d e r improper.  Thus she i s not allowed t o a t t e n d t h e  Theatre Franc^ais and her mother a l s o f i n d s o b j e c t i o n a b l e the nude s t a t u a r y and p a i n t i n g s one encounters i n P a r i s  galleries.  However, on one o c c a s i o n Biddy i s p e r m i t t e d t o a t t e n d a p a r t i c u l a r performance  a t the Theatre F r a n c a i s when h e r e s c o r t  i s P e t e r Sherringham,  the man her mother wants her t o marry.  Such a turnabout c e r t a i n l y m a n i f e s t s E n g l i s h "incoherence" (however i n t e l l i g i b l e on the p r a c t i c a l l e v e l ) .  Furthermore,  Biddy i s s u b j e c t e d t o h u m i l i a t i n g i n s t a n t banishment when anyone h e r mother c o n s i d e r s improper e n t e r s a room i n which she a l s o happens t o be.  T h i s c e n s o r s h i p o f Biddy's  ence and acquaintance i s haphazard p o s i t i o n i s one o f extreme  and a r b i t r a r y .  experiHer s o c i a l  impotence.  Though r e s t r i c t e d on a l l s i d e s by admonitions  like  made t o a c h i l d , Biddy t r i e s t o r e s i s t the s t u l t i f y i n g d i t i o n s of her l i f e ,  con-  and t r i e s , above a l l , t o appear t o have  i n t e r e s t s o t h e r than t h a t paramount o n e — m a r r i a g e Sherringham—she  those  c l e a r l y has.  to Peter  Biddy dabbles i n s e r i o u s  sub-  j e c t s l i k e a r t and feminism, and i s g i v e n t o harangues.  She  wants to appear a s e r i o u s i n t e l l i g e n t woman, e s p e c i a l l y P e t e r Sherringham, f o r whom she s u f f e r s u n r e q u i t e d Biddy's i n t e r e s t i n a r t and vanity. passing  mother's company.  love, yet  feminism i s c l e a r l y founded on  Her work i n her b r o t h e r ' s the time and  s t u d i o i s a means o f  an escape from the t e n s i o n of  her  Biddy expresses a e s t h e t i c o p i n i o n s  are admirable per se, but she expresses them w i t h p r i a t e vehemence and  to  that  inappro-  to an unsympathetic audience.  The  .  e f f e c t of the harangue i s to d i m i n i s h her as a s e n s i b l e son at the same time as i t e l i c i t s g r a i n s of p i t y f o r her.  a  few  No-one takes Biddy s e r i o u s l y , but  i t i s e v i d e n t t h a t nobody c o u l d . not because of r i g h t e o u s  from the reader  per-  She  i s nearly  incoherent,  i n d i g n a t i o n or even f e r v e n t  convic-  t i o n , but because of r e p r e s s e d  rage t h a t P e t e r i s so imper-  v i o u s to her charm.  l i t t l e provocation  With very  she  explodes: "Don't you  t h i n k one  can do as much good by  paint-  i n g g r e a t works of a r t as b y — a s by what papa used t o do?  JHer l a t e papa was  a p o l i t i c i a n I)  Don't  you t h i n k a r t ' s necessary to the happiness, t o greatness  of a people?  and honourable?  Do you  t h i n g to be ashamed of? --the  Don't you t h i n k i t ' s manly think a passion Don't you  for i t ' s a  t h i n k the  c o n s c i e n t i o u s , the s e r i o u s o n e — i s  guished  the  as  a member of s o c i e t y as anyone e l s e ? "  artist distin7  -25-  The response she e l i c i t s i s p r e d i c t a b l e : P e t e r and Nick looked a t each o t h e r and laughed a t the way  she had got up her s u b j e c t  (Muse, I I , 288) . Another of Biddy's harangues p u r p o r t e d l y concerns feminisn  (Muse, I I , 293r94).  She pretends t o have her  own  o p i n i o n s , but i t i s a l l an excuse t o draw P e t e r out on the s u b j e c t of Miriam Rooth. ble  In t h i s exchange Biddy i s  irrita-  and coy by t u r n s and she proves her i n s i n c e r i t y a t i t s  conclusion.  She i s a p p a r e n t l y i n d i g n a n t when she says:  "That's the k i n d of t h i n g you say t o keep us q u i e t . " "Dear Biddy, you see how w e l l we To which she r e p l i e d by a s k i n g "Why  succeed'" irrelevantly  f  i s i t so necessary f o r you t o go t o the  t h e a t r e t o - n i g h t i f Miss Rooth doesn't want you to go?"  (Muse, I I , 294).  Biddy does not mind or cannot h e l p b e i n g so t r a n s p a r e n t in  her lament.  love.  She has never been t o l d how  In a s o c i e t y where marrying w e l l i s everyone's  g o a l , she i s too d i r e c t  i n her wooing o f the man  She seems a b o r i n g l i t t l e  is  she wants.  She m a r r i e s P e t e r Sher-  and becomes the p e r f e c t diplomat's w i f e .  rewarded.  social  f o o l to the reader throughout, but  u l t i m a t e l y she achieves her o b j e c t . ringham  t o d i s g u i s e her  Her  tenacity  She knows h e r s e l f to be P e t e r ' s second c h o i c e ,  -26-  but i s as p r a c t i c a l a g i r l as she i s d o g - l i k e i n her devotion. his  Biddy does not capture P e t e r ' s fancy; she wears down  resistance.  Hers i s a p r a c t i c a l v i c t o r y but  not a s e n t i m e n t a l  one.  N e i t h e r Biddy nor Nanda f i n d s happiness o r i g i n a l l y sought i t .  Biddy marries the man  he i s (more or l e s s ) on the rebound. in  certainly  Her  as she  had  she l o v e s w h i l e  c a r e e r as h i s w i f e  the d i p l o m a t i c corps w i l l be dry, o f f i c i a l ,  unexciting,  and she w i l l always know t h a t he loves another woman more than he does her.  Nanda does not marry a t a l l , f o r she  not lower her standard from Vanderbank i d e a l man) girl  to a l e s s e r m o r t a l .  can-  (her conception of an  Since t o be an  unmarried  i n the t h i c k of London's s o c i a l e l i t e i s u n t h i n k a b l e ,  she r e t i r e s to the s e r e n i t y of Mr.  Longdon's Surrey e s t a t e .  Biddy's p r a c t i c a l v i c t o r y t a s t e s of b i t t e r n e s s ; Nanda's moral v i c t o r y b r i n g s her l i t t l e comfort.  E n g l i s h s o c i e t y recog-  n i z e s no female achievement o t h e r than t h a t of a marriage. tic  "brilliant"  Biddy o b t a i n s hers at the s a c r i f i c e of her roman-  illusions.  Judged by t h a t c o l d standard of the  l i a n t " match, Nanda i s a t o t a l  "bril-  failure.  Of the e d u c a t i o n of the American g i r l James had a g r e a t d e a l to s a y — a l l of i t d i s a p p r o v i n g .  His d i s a p p r o v a l of her  i s of a p i e c e w i t h h i s d i s a p p r o v a l of America. p r a i s e a s o c i e t y so b l i n d l y consecrated to the i d e a l which he saw the b a n a l :  He c o u l d not democratic  as r e d u c i n g e v e r y t h i n g t o the l e v e l of  -27-  Social, c i v i l ,  conversational d i s c i p l i n e  consists  i n having t o r e c o g n i z e knowledge and competence and a u t h o r i t y , accomplishments experience and "importance", in  g r e a t e r than one's own; and i t i s  a bad way, t h e r e f o r e , o b v i o u s l y , i n commu-  n i t i e s i n which i t i s so important t o be a c h a t tering l i t t l e  g i r l — b e f o r e becoming, by t h e same  token and as f o r the h i g h e s t f l i g h t , a " s o c i a l l e a d e r " — t h a t every measure o f e v e r y t h i n g g i v e s way The  . 8 to i t .  " c h a t t e r i n g l i t t l e g i r l " who t h i n k s h e r s e l f o f such cos-  mic importance  i s q u i n t e s s e n t i a l l y r e p r e s e n t e d i n "Daisy  M i l l e r " and " J u l i a B r i d e " , which James meant t o be con9 s i d e r e d as companion s t u d i e s .  Despite Buitenhuis' a r t i c l e ,  d e s p i t e James's own comments quoted by B u i t e n h u i s and h i s d i s c l a i m e r s about Daisy's keynote to  Mrs. Lynn L i n t o n ,  than d i f f e r e n c e s .  t h e two g i r l s have more s i m i l a r i t i e s  Daisy i s q u i t e as much a "queen" i n 1878  as the f l i g h t y l i t t l e of  1 0  "innocence" i n h i s r e p l y  flirts  American Women" (1907).  James deprecates i n "The Manners She b e l i e v e s the world r e v o l v e s  around h e r and t h a t i t i s h e r duty t o c a p t i v a t e every man she meets. once—but i n America is  She has not been engaged s i x times, nor even such would have been h e r c a r e e r had she remained and l i v e d t o be as o l d as J u l i a B r i d e , f o r Daisy  as headstrong and as u t t e r l y b e r e f t o f p a r e n t a l guidance  as the o l d e r J u l i a .  Daisy pouts when Winterbourne  does n o t  -28-  dance attendance back home.  She  on her i n the f a s h i o n of the g a l l a n t boys i s idle, capricious, vain.  She appears  an  a p p e a l i n g f i g u r e l a r g e l y by d e f a u l t , because a l l the o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s i n the s t o r y are o b j e c t i o n a b l e . for  One  makes  excuses  her as i f she were a r e a l person, as, "Well, f o r a  w i t h such an i m p o s s i b l e f a m i l y ! . . . "  girl  The c o n v e n t i o n a l o l d  c a t s o f Rome, w i n t r y Winterbourne h i m s e l f , the u p s t a r t c o u r i e r , Eugenio;  the ambiguous l i t t l e Roman, G i o v a n e l l i of  the beauteous m o u s t a c h e s - - a l l of these throw Daisy's charm i n t o h i g h e r r e l i e f .  airy  In a sense the reader more or  l e s s suspends h i s moral judgment of Daisy i n favour of h i s a e s t h e t i c sense, and takes Daisy on t r u s t , the u l t i m a t e judgment of the moral case being so s t r e n u o u s l y  undertaken  by Winterbourne and the o t h e r s . It  i s t r u e t h a t , as B u i t e n h u i s and James both i n t i m a t e ,  the moral atmosphere of " J u l i a B r i d e " i s very murky, indeed, but t h a t of "Daisy M i l l e r " t h a t matters  i s very ugly too.  I f the t h i n g  i n J u l i a B r i d e ' s s o c i e t y i s marrying money and  s o c i a l c l i m b i n g , i n Daisy M i l l e r ' s Rome the t h i n g t h a t matt e r s i s appearing innocent.  One  remembers w i t h d i s t a s t e the  c y n i c a l , h o p e f u l a t t i t u d e Winterbourne d i s p l a y s while c u s s i n g the proposed  dis-  e x c u r s i o n t o the C a s t l e o f C h i l l o n , h i s  i n d o l e n t manner of w a i t i n g f o r Daisy t o i n d i c a t e she  was  i n t e r e s t e d i n meeting a f a t e worse than death; w a i t i n g f o r what P r i n c e Amerigo of The Golden Bowl would c a l l ,  "the  p r e d e s t i n e d phenomenon, the t h i n g always as c e r t a i n as ' '  -29  s u n r i s e . . • the doing by the woman o f the t h i n g t h a t gave her away.  She d i d i t ,  ever, i n e v i t a b l y ,  c o u l d n ' t p o s s i b l y not do i t . life,  infallibly—she  I t was her nature, i t was h e r  and the man c o u l d always expect  i t without  lifting a  ..11 finger. Daisy does not make the s i g n , but she c a v o r t s i n t h i s atmosphere o f sexual t e n s i o n , much o f i t o f her own making. James t r i e s t o make i t something o f a donnde t h a t she i s innocent, but by t h i s he merely means she i s a v i r g i n .  Daisy  may w e l l be innocent o f the u l t i m a t e i n t e n t i o n - - a tease always i s — b u t she must be aware o f and a p p a r e n t l y  relishes  the t u r b u l e n c e she i s u n l e a s h i n g  She  i n Winterbourne.  w i e l d s h e r power c a r e l e s s l y and s e l f i s h l y , b e l i e v i n g those to be the p r e r o g a t i v e s o f the American g i r l . d e l i v e r , but she promises w i t h her eyes. c u l p a b i l i t y i n that. She  Daisy does not  There i s a moral  There i s a l s o g r e a t a e s t h e t i c charm.  i s p r e t t y , g r a c e f u l , f r e e — f l i t t i n g here and there  a c c o r d i n g t o whim. B u i t e n h u i s quotes Annette Kar's o p i n i o n t h a t Daisy "stood f o r a p r i n c i p l e not e a s i l y formulated:  inviolable 12 innocence compounded w i t h i n s t i n c t i v e moral judgment," and elaborates: " t h i s p r o t e c t s h e r w i t h a s h i e l d almost as 13 s t r o n g as the c h a s t i t y o f the Lady i n M i l t o n ' s Comus." Daisy does not have any judgment a t a l l , nor any s h i e l d . Daisy i s w i l l f u l and Daisy i s lucky  ( i n s o f a r as i t can be  c o n s i d e r e d lucky t o l o s e n o t her v i r g i n i t y but merely her  -30-  life).  Her s t o r y l i e s not i n the f a c t t h a t she was  t e c t e d , but i n i t s c o n v e r s e — t h a t she was exposed.  "Daisy M i l l e r " c a r r i e s  so  pro-  pitifully  (along w i t h o t h e r , more  commendable l i t e r a r y values) a warning, a moral i n the some  tire-  bad-little-boy-who-disobeyed-his-parents-and-got-eaten-  by-the-wolf  genre.  Daisy's death i s o f a p i e c e w i t h the avowed "poetry" James put i n t o h i s p o r t r a i t of her; n o t h i n g t h a t b e a u t i f u l can l a s t .  Daisy o s t e n s i b l y d i e s of Roman f e v e r , but  w i l l t o l i v e was of  her.  her  d e s t r o y e d by Winterbourne's i c y judgment  Such are the l i t e r a l reasons  p o e t i c ones are even more s i g n i f i c a n t .  f o r her death, but the Daisy had t o d i e or  she would have changed, would have grown o l d e r , would have ^ l o s t her l a c y charm, would have become, i n f a c t , what Winterbourne thought  she was—damaged merchandise.  -had not d i e d she would have become J u l i a B r i d e .  :  n o t h i n g t o a r r e s t her headlong her but death. his  I f Daisy There  was  c a r e e r , n o t h i n g c o u l d stop  Thus James removed her o p p o r t u n i t y , c l o s e d  l i t t l e masterpiece,  f r o z e Daisy i n an a t t i t u d e of e t e r n a l  grace. " J u l i a B r i d e " i s a comedy.  The reader s t r o n g l y suspects  from the f i r s t t h a t v a l i a n t J u l i a w i l l f a i l t o dupe her p o t e n t i a l seventh fiance', the s o c i a l l y prominent B a s i l French, but applauds  her i n t r e p i d attempt.  J u l i a Bride's  s t o r y i s as g o s s i p y , as s o r d i d as t h a t of S e l i n a B e r r i n g t o n of  "A London L i f e "  (another American g i r l gone a s t r a y ) ;  but  -31-  the reader breathes e a s i e r t h a t t h e r e i s , i n J u l i a ' s no h y s t e r i c a l Laura Wing t o n a r r a t e i t .  case,  Thus the t a l e  remains a comedy. P e t e r B u i t e n h u i s ' treatment of " J u l i a B r i d e " i s q u i t e valuable.  He i s above a l l c o r r e c t i n s e e i n g i n J u l i a  "a  14 degree of s e l f knowledge" even a s p i r e s .  t o which Daisy never a t t a i n s or  Daisy never l e a r n s t h a t she i s a t f a u l t  and  t h a t she i s the h a p l e s s product of a c a r e l e s s u p b r i n g i n g . She d i e s bewildered and heartbroken. must l i v e on to rue her mistakes.  J u l i a B r i d e , however,  B u i t e n h u i s summarizes:  Most of the c h a r a c t e r s i n " J u l i a B r i d e " are the n a t u r a l products of a s o c i e t y t h a t takes a s y s tem of "cheap and easy d i v o r c e " f o r granted. . . . J u l i a , having a mother w i t h one  impending and  two  p a s t d i v o r c e s t o her c r e d i t , had n a t u r a l l y gone i n f o r "the young s p e c u l a t i v e exchange of i n t i m a t e vows" as James c a l l e d i t . of Daisy M i l l e r , was  Her p l i g h t , l i k e  that  the r e s u l t of ignorance.  J u l i a ' s h a l f - d o z e n engagements and disengagements were of no more account t o her than Daisy's numerous t r y s t s w i t h G i o v a n e l l i i n Rome. . . . brought up l i k e J u l i a i n an extremely  Daisy,  haphazard  manner, simply takes f o r granted "the o l d American freedom" o f a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h the o p p o s i t e sex. Julia,  . . .  i n c o n t r a s t , comes t o the c o n c l u s i o n t h a t  -32-  "the d i s g u s t i n g , the h u m i l i a t i n g t h i n g " was her mother had own  allowed her to assume t h a t  i n c r e d i b l y allowed, her own  t e r e d f r i v o l i t y " had a young g i r l .  She  insanely  that "her  fos-  been the n a t u r a l c a r e e r  has  for  to s t r u g g l e to cut her-  s e l f o f f from t h i s c a r e e r by means of d e c e i t  and  i.n t.r i.g u e . 15 J u l i a ' s theory win  her the man  t h a t the r i g h t combination o f l i e s  she  can  loves i s the b a s i s of the s t o r y ' s humour  ( a l b e i t of a dark hue).  Her  determination  gives r i s e  to  h i l a r i o u s exchanges l i k e t h a t w i t h Murray Brush: " Y o u ' l l l i e f o r me "As face."  l i k e a gentleman?"  f a r as t h a t goes t i l l  black  i n the  1 6  S i m i l a r l y when J u l i a i s b e w a i l i n g dicament to Mr.  the i n t r i c a c i e s of her  Pitman she e x p l a i n s how  fiance's can save her  f a i r name and  B a s i l French on her b e h a l f "Qui  I'm  f o r she  o n l y her s i x  see me  breaking  ex-  t h a t they must approach cannot do so h e r s e l f :  s'excuse s'accuse, don't they s a y ? — s o  do you  out to him,  that  unprovoked, w i t h  f o u r or f i v e what-do-you-call-'ems, the  things  mother used t o have to prove i n Court, a s e t of neat l i t t l e  'alibis'  i n a row?  pre-  How  can  I get  hold  -33-  of so many p r e c i o u s gentlemen,  t o t u r n them on? 17  How  can they want e v e r y t h i n g f i s h e d  To t h i s the " f i n e o l d American the n e c e s s i t y o f producing  up?"  freedom" has l e d her, t o  " a l i b i s " as her mother d i d i n her  v a r i o u s d i v o r c e a c t i o n s ; and, as her mother's a l i b i s were l i e s , so J u l i a ' s w i l l be. denunciation  James i s b a s i c a l l y  stern i n his  o f t h i s s o c i e t y o f "cheap and easy d i v o r c e " ,  but h i s treatment i n " J u l i a B r i d e " i s f a r c i c a l .  Thus he  deplores  Julia's  the s o c i a l s i t u a t i o n but almost admires  r e s i l i a n c e and r e s o u r c e f u l n e s s as she meets her c r i s i s .  How-  18 ever, J u l i a does not r e a l l y matter t o James. g i r l l i k e Nanda, about whom he can s e r i o u s l y  She i s not a care.  Thus  when, a t the s t o r y ' s end, she admits d e f e a t , i t i s w i t h  "a  long l o n e l y moan", but one knows t h a t she w i l l r i s e to f i g h t again.  J u l i a ' s v i s i o n of the scramble of s o c i a l  i n which she was of l i f e .  climbing  engaged w i l l not r a d i c a l l y change her  way  She w i l l go on much as she always has, but the  next time she w i l l r e a l i s t i c a l l y s e t her s i g h t s a  little  lower than the B a s i l Frenches of t h i s w o r l d . J u l i a B r i d e i s merely the most outrageous p o r t r a i t i n James's g a l l e r y o f the p o s s i b l e c a r e e r s of the young  girl.  In h i s c o n s i d e r a t i o n s of the female young o f the c o n t i n e n t , of England, and of America, there i s a u n i f y i n g t h r e a d o f f r u s t r a t i o n , d e f e a t , unpreparedness, ignorance. g i r l s considered  above—Pansy  Each o f the  Osmond, L i t t l e Aggie, Nanda  -34-  Brookenham, Biddy Dormer, Daisy M i l l e r and J u l i a B r i d e — i s under e x c r u c i a t i n g pressure  t o marry, t o s e i z e t h e n e a r e s t  man and the l a r g e s t f o r t u n e .  The i m p l i c a t i o n o f each  s o c i e t y i s t h a t only then w i l l she be happy, serene,  ful-  filled. But James does not share these s o c i e t i e s ' e n t h u s i a s t i c endorsations  o f marriage.  H i s s t u d i e s o f marriage show t h a t  he viewed i t w i t h extreme s u s p i c i o n , y e t he i s not a feminist.  H i s f i c t i o n demonstrates t h a t he has no p a t i e n c e  nor admiration traditional  with  f o r the woman who s t e a d f a s t l y r e p u d i a t e s her  role.  In The P o r t r a i t o f a Lady, f o r example, H e n r i e t t a Stackpole's  c a r e e r and her o p i n i o n s on i t a r e e x h i b i t e d f o r  t h e i r humour alone.  She i s a "female i n t e r v i e w e r  r e p o r t e r i n p e t t i c o a t s " , b l u n t and p r o v i n c i a l .  Her good  q u a l i t i e s are not r e p o r t o r i a l but womanly ones: thoroughly  k i n d and l o y a l f r i e n d t o I s a b e l .  . . . a  she i s a  Late i n the  novel H e n r i e t t a announces h e r engagement and r e t i r e m e n t . I s a b e l i s s u r p r i s e d and d i s c o n c e r t e d , r e f l e c t i n g : a disappointment t o f i n d bilities,  [Henrietta]  " I t was  had p e r s o n a l  suscepti-  t h a t she was s u b j e c t t o common p a s s i o n s ,  and t h a t  her intimacy w i t h Mr. B a n t l i n g had not been completely nal.  There was a want o f o r i g i n a l i t y i n h e r marrying  origihim—  there was even a k i n d o f s t u p i d i t y " ( P o r t r a i t , I I , 400). I s a b e l ' s f a u l t has always been i n t r y i n g t o see i d e a l s sonified.  Here too, James i s s a y i n g , she e r r s .  per-  F o r James,  -35-  H e n r i e t t a ' s f a t e i s the only l o g i c a l , d e s i r a b l e one f o r any woman. James's d i s a p p r o v a l o f m i l i t a n t feminism i n The Bostonians.  i s expressed  In i t the s t e r e o t y p e d c h a r a c t e r s e l o -  q u e n t l y r e v e a l James's views o f the movement.  There a r e  two women i n The Bostonians who have done o r who are doing r e a l work t o advance the cause o f women's l i b e r a t i o n — M i s s B i r d s e y e and Dr. Mary P r a n c e — b u t attractive figures.  James does not make them  The f i r s t o f these, Miss B i r d s e y e , i s  n e a r l y e i g h t y and i n f a i l i n g h e a l t h .  She i s u n t i d y , c o l o u r 19  l e s s , s e x l e s s , and unfocussed  i n her enthusiasms.  can no l o n g e r see her way c l e a r l y through  She  the mass o f  t r a s h y c u l t s t h a t are hangers-on t o the s u f f r a g i s t movement. James notes: every bush.  "There was a genius  f o r Miss B i r d s e y e i n  Selah T a r r a n t had e f f e c t e d wonderful  cures; 20  she knew so many p e o p l e — i f they would o n l y t r y him." Miss B i r d s e y e has f a i t h i n Verena as a g r e a t l e a d e r o f the f u t u r e and b e l i e v e s t h a t , i n h e r commerce w i t h B a s i l Ransom, Verena i s c o n v e r t i n g the South!  (Bostonians, p. 397). She  i s a r e l i c o f the h e r o i c a b o l i t i o n i s t p a s t , i t i s t r u e , but when she d i e s a l l heroism  i n the n o v e l d i e s w i t h her.  Basil  t e l l s her as she i s dying, "I s h a l l remember you as an example o f what women are capable o f "  (Bostonians, p.  399).  I t i s f u r t h e r recorded t h a t "he had no subsequent compunct i o n s f o r the speech, f o r he thought  poor Miss B i r d s e y e , f o r  a l l her absence o f p r o f i l e , e s s e n t i a l l y feminine"  (Bostonians,  -36-  p. 399). By t h i s Ransom merely means she has g i v e n away a l l she has, s a c r i f i c e d and scrimped  and s u f f e r e d .  In o t h e r  words, she has done w i t h i n the a b o l i t i o n i s t and women's movements what Ransom expects women t o do everywhere; she has s e l f l e s s l y y i e l d e d u n t i l t h e r e i s n o t h i n g  left.  Miss B i r d s e y e ' s p h y s i c i a n , Dr. Mary Prance,  has con-  s i d e r a b l y more v i t a l i t y , but she i s so single-minded  i n her  p u r s u i t o f s c i e n t i f i c knowledge t h a t she has j e t t i s o n e d any 21 feminine t r a i t s : l i k e a good boy.  "She looked l i k e a boy, and not even I t was e v i d e n t t h a t i f she had been a boy,  she would have 'cut' s c h o o l , t o t r y p r i v a t e experiments i n mechanics o r t o make r e s e a r c h e s i n n a t u r a l h i s t o r y .  I t was  t r u e t h a t i f she had been a boy she would have borne some r e l a t i o n t o a g i r l , whereas Dr. Prance appeared whatever"  t o bear none  (Bostonians, p. 41). Her manner i s brusque and  i r o n i c , and she i s i m p a t i e n t when i n t e r r u p t e d i n her r e s e a r c h . She t h i n k s the women's movement r i d i c u l o u s , but reveres" Miss B i r d s e y e t o the e x t e n t t h a t she g i v e s up a f u l l month a t her o f f i c e t o nurse the o l d lady i n her f i n a l i l l n e s s a t Marmion, a w a t e r i n g - p l a c e .  Dr. Prance spends some time t h e r e  f i s h i n g w i t h B a s i l Ransom.  She i s e n t i r e l y  self-sufficient  and takes "an i r o n i c a l view o f almost any k i n d o f c o u r t s h i p " , and e s p e c i a l l y o f Verena's and B a s i l ' s p e c u l i a r one, o b l i g e d as they are t o take t h e i r r u r a l walks away from O l i v e ' s house.  B a s i l saw t h a t Dr. Prance " d i d n ' t wonder women were  such featherheads, so long as, whatever b r i t t l e  follies  they  -37-  c u l t i v a t e d , they c o u l d get men t o come and s i t on fences f o r them" (Bostonians, p. The nominal  358).  l e a d e r o f the movement, Mrs. F a r r i n d e r ,  the eminent e v a n g e l i s t o f feminism, exploiter.  i s , f i r s t o f a l l , an  She i s so s u c c e s s f u l , one soon r e a l i z e s , because  she i s r e a d i l y adaptable.  She immediately  r e c o g n i z e s the  p e r s u a s i v e power l a t e n t i n Verena and t r i e s t o annex her f o r the b e n e f i t o f her o r g a n i z a t i o n . how  S i m i l a r l y she c a l c u l a t e s  O l i v e C h a n c e l l o r can be induced t o draw t o the meetings  her s o c i a l peers, the a r i s t o c r a c y o f Boston.  I t i s one o f  James's h e a v i e r i r o n i e s t h a t the foremost n a t i o n a l man  spokes-  f o r the l i b e r a t i o n o f women from c e n t u r i e s o f o p p r e s s i o n  by men i s h e r s e l f so absorbed  i n the p o l i t i c s o f power.  Nor a r e the two most important women i n the novel dependable, r e s p e c t a b l e c a r r i e r s o f the banner.  Verena Tar-  r a n t ' s i n s p i r a t i o n a l harangues a r e almost l u d i c r o u s b u t they move the masses. but the i n t e l l e c t .  V e r e n a s a p p e a l , however, i s t o anything 1  She i s b e a u t i f u l , w i t h masses o f r e d  h a i r , an h i s t r i o n i c manner, and an amazing a b i l i t y t o take herself seriously.  She i s c o n s i d e r e d a b e a u t i f u l  little  f o o l by a c l i q u e o f Harvard boys who beg her t o g i v e an address  a t t h e i r c o l l e g e and assure her she would make  i n s t a n t converts.  A f t e r a p l e a s a n t s o c i a l c a l l a t t h e rooms  of one o f these wags, Mr. Burrage, Verena dreamily e l a b o r a t e s on h e r s t a t e o f mind:  -38-  " I t would be very n i c e to do t h a t j u s t t o take men  as they are, and  about t h e i r badness.  always—  not have to  I t would be very n i c e not  have so many q u e s t i o n s ,  to  but to t h i n k they were a l l  comfortably answered, so t h a t one  c o u l d s i t there  on an o l d Spanish l e a t h e r c h a i r , w i t h the drawn and  think  curtains  keeping out the c o l d , the darkness, a l l  the b i g t e r r i b l e , c r u e l w o r l d — s i t there ten f o r e v e r to Schubert and Mendelssohn. d i d n ' t care anything  and  lis-  They  about female s u f f r a g e !  And  I d i d n ' t f e e l the want o f a vote to-day at a l l , d i d you?" James saw  (Bostonians,  p.  155).  t h a t women i n h i s s o c i e t y i n e v i t a b l y r e v e r t e d  t h i s s t a t e ; they were g r a c e f u l , p a s s i v e ,  to  unthreatening,  s h e l t e r e d , i n t e r e s t e d i n the a r t s i n a d e s u l t o r y  fashion.  The  passage i s a l s o an extremely incongruous and  amusing  one  when u t t e r e d by a g i r l who  i s allegedly a  worker f o r female emancipation.  formidable  James's message i s c l e a r :  Verena's i n c l i n a t i o n s , her r e g r e t a t having t o " t h i n k about [men's] badness" are s t r o n g and overwhelm any c a l course.  n a t u r a l and w i l l  untimately  temporary d e v i a t i o n from her d e s t i n e d Her  biologi-  i n t e l l e c t cannot f o r long subjugate  her  desires. Olive Chancellor  i s the only devout f e m i n i s t whose  depths are sounded i n the n o v e l .  She  has  a strong  intellect—  -39-  much s t r o n g e r than t h a t of the a l l e g e d hero, f o r example. But O l i v e ' s stance w i t h r e g a r d t o feminism t u a l , but emotional:  i s not  intellec-  O l i v e i s a l a t e n t l e s b i a n and  i n v e t e r a t e man-hater.  an  Thus James i d e o l o g i c a l l y c u t s the  ground out from under her.  Furthermore,  O l i v e expends her  e n e r g i e s not i n working f o r the movement but i n t r y i n g t o e n t h r a l l the credulous Verena.  Olive's introspections,  w h i l e p a i n f u l , are d e f i c i e n t i n t h a t i l l u m i n a t i o n t h a t g e n e r a l l y c h a r a c t e r i z e s those of James's o t h e r p r o t a g o n i s t s . Since she does not know h e r s e l f , how else?  can she know anything  Thus James d i s p o s e s of a movement t h a t he  found  repugnant, u n n a t u r a l , but not, a p p a r e n t l y , t h r e a t e n i n g . seems t o be saying t h a t the l a d i e s  He  (God b l e s s them!) are too  s e n s i b l e t o take s e r i o u s l y the r h e t o r i c of a movement t h a t i s so p a t e n t l y absurd. Marriage  i s the only c a r e e r James s e r i o u s l y c o n s i d e r s  f o r h i s women c h a r a c t e r s , and he anatomizes many a marriage i n the course of h i s f i c t i o n . to him,  I t i s c l e a r t h a t marriage i s ,  the most s i g n i f i c a n t and absorbing r e l a t i o n s h i p t h a t  can e x i s t between two people.  Many o f h i s c h a r a c t e r s express  t h e i r conceptions of what i t means t o be married i n the most e x a l t e d and i d e a l i s t i c terms.  Miriam Rooth e x p l a i n s t o P e t e r  Sherringham, "I must t e l l you t h a t i n the matter can do f o r each o t h e r I have a tremendously  high i d e a l .  go i n f o r the c l o s e n e s s of union, f o r i d e n t i t y of A t r u e marriage,  of what we  as they c a l l i t , must do one  I  interest.  a l o t of good"  -40-  (Muse, I I , 354).  I s a b e l Osmond, i n her v i g i l b e f o r e the  dying f i r e r e f l e c t s on her b r i g h t , e a r l y f a i t h , too many ideas f o r h e r s e l f ; but t h a t was  had  j u s t what one  m a r r i e d f o r , t o share them w i t h someone e l s e " 195).  "She  (Portrait, I I ,  These are a l l admirable sentiments, but the  reali-  t i e s o f marriage i n James's f i c t i o n are q u i t e another t h i n g altogether. James seems i n c a p a b l e o f p o r t r a y i n g a happy marriage. Perhaps he had never seen one; perhaps he b e l i e v e d them as r a r e as the u n i c o r n .  James s u b j e c t e d the i n s t i t u t i o n o f  marriage t o h i s c l o s e s t s c r u t i n y i n The P o r t r a i t of a Lady and The Golden Bowl, n o v e l s r i c h i n examples o f the d i f f e r e n t arrangements  t h a t can be subsumed under t h a t  title.  In The P o r t r a i t of a Lady James examines the i n s t i t u t i o n of marriage at some l e n g t h .  A l l h i s c h a r a c t e r s , at one  or another, take the o p p o r t u n i t y t o express themselves the s u b j e c t .  time on  James a l s o p o r t r a y s t h r e e marriages i n con-  siderable d e t a i l :  those o f the Countess Gemini,  Touchett, and I s a b e l Osmond.  Amy,  the Countess  Lydia Gemini,  f r e e l y admits to b e i n g a s c a t t e r b r a i n , and p r o f e s s e s to take nothing s e r i o u s l y — l e a s t o f a l l her marriage vows.  Isabel  i s our judge i n the n o v e l , and " I s a b e l would as soon have thought of d e s p i s i n g her as o f p a s s i n g a moral judgment on a grasshopper"  ( P o r t r a i t , I I , 225).  To the Countess, m a r r i -  age i s a grim t h i n g , an "awful . . . s t e e l t r a p "  (Portrait,  I I , 87), but i n p r a c t i c e she manages t o make l i g h t enough  -41-  of  it.  Amy  longs to l i v e i n Rome, to wear p r e t t y c l o t h e s , .  to be g r e a t l y admired by a g r e a t many men. insists  Her  husband  i n l i v i n g i n F l o r e n c e , and c o n t r o l s Amy  to some  degree by s e v e r e l y l i m i t i n g her funds. f o o l , unlucky The  at c a r d s , and  " f i f t e e n lovers,.'  is a  i l l i t e r a t e i n t o the  Countess i s a f r i v o l o u s and  have had  He  bargain.  s e l f i s h woman, reputed  Her governing  1  lecherous  to  principle in  marriage seems to be t h a t of revenge; she takes care t o g i v e her husband as much reason given her. ent, and  to complain  of her as he  has  Amy's a t t i t u d e toward most s u b j e c t s i s i r r e v e r -  " c o n v e n t i o n a l " only i n the most c y n i c a l sense of  the term, i n t h a t she tends to b e l i e v e the worst of everyone and sees scandal even where i t does not e x i s t .  Amy's ideas  about marriage as i t e x i s t s i n contemporary s o c i e t y are much l i k e those of her b r o t h e r .  They take ugly t h i n g s f o r granted  i n a c h i c , s o p h i s t i c a t e d manner t h a t makes I s a b e l ' s s p i r i t cry  out i n d e s p a i r and d i s i l l u s i o n m e n t , "Did a l l women have  lovers?  Did they a l l l i e and even the b e s t have t h e i r p r i c e ?  Were there only t h r e e or f o u r t h a t d i d n ' t deceive t h e i r husbands?"  ( P o r t r a i t , I I , 200-01).  The marriage of the Touchetts, i n t e r e s t i n g to contemplate. of  One  of Mrs.  i s more  I t i s based on the maintenance  separate d o m i c i l e s i n separate  dry i n h i s treatment  Ralph's parents  countries.  Touchett,  James i s very  t h a t d r i e s t of women.  f i n d s i t d i f f i c u l t to b e l i e v e t h a t she was  husband says, " f r e s h and n a t u r a l and quick to  once, as understand  her  -42-  . . . l i k e Isabel"  ( P o r t r a i t , I, 74), but presumably her  nature when one meets her i n the n o v e l i s the r e s u l t of her marriage  (among other i n f l u e n c e s ) ;  Her husband i s g e n i a l ,  sweet-tempered, easygoing and k i n d . e r a l l y close-mouthed,  She i s p r i c k l y , gen-  extremely f a s t i d i o u s , but a l s o k i n d .  The o r i g i n a l cause of t h e i r i n c o m p a t i b i l i t y i s never by James.  One must accept i t as a donnde:  stated  " I t had become  c l e a r , at an e a r l y stage of t h e i r community, t h a t they should never d e s i r e the same t h i n g at the same moment" (Portrait,  I , 26).  Mrs. Touchett has a house of her own  i n Flo-  rence where she spends her time when not engaged i n t r a v e l l i n g on the c o n t i n e n t and t o America. to Gardencourt  She comes once a y e a r  and spends a month w i t h her husband.  She  has  views about o t h e r people's marriages, n o t a b l y I s a b e l ' s : " t h a t a young l a d y w i t h whom Lord Warburton had not s u c c e s s f u l l y w r e s t l e d should content h e r s e l f w i t h an obscure can d i l e t t a n t e , a middle-aged  Ameri-  widower w i t h an uncanny c h i l d  and an ambiguous income, t h i s answered t o n o t h i n g i n Mrs. Touchett's conception of s u c c e s s .  She took, i t w i l l  be  observed, not the s e n t i m e n t a l , but the p o l i t i c a l view of m a t r i m o n y — a view which has always had much t o recommend i t " ( P o r t r a i t , I, 394). D a n i e l Touchett has r e g r e t s about h i s marriage. sees, f o r i n s t a n c e , no reason why simply because they cannot agree. marriage a worthwhile  He  they should l i v e a p a r t He p e r s i s t s i n t h i n k i n g  u n d e r t a k i n g , d e s p i t e the f a i l u r e of  -43-  his  own.  He takes, g e n e r a l l y speaking, the s e n t i m e n t a l  view o f women, a d v i s i n g Lord Warburton,  "The l a d i e s  save us, . . . t h a t i s the b e s t of them w i l l — f o r d i f f e r e n c e between them. her,  will  I make a  Make up to a good one and marry  and your l i f e w i l l become much more i n t e r e s t i n g ' '  t r a i t , I, 11).  (Por-  In o r d i n a r y d a i l y c o n v e r s a t i o n he takes a  w h i m s i c a l , humourous view o f h i s w i f e and o f her u n p r e d i c t a ble  nature.  Presumably he f i n d s t h i s a more g r a c e f u l  atti-  tude on h i s p a r t than querulous complaints about h a b i t s they are both too o l d t o change.  "She never t e l e g r a p h s when  you would expect i t - - o n l y when you don't. . . . to  She  drop on me suddenly; she t h i n k s s h e ' l l f i n d me doing  something wrong. discouraged"  She has never done so y e t , but she's not  ( P o r t r a i t , I, 14).  On h e a r i n g of her a r r i v i n g  and immediately r e t i r i n g t o her room he merely nods, and l o c k e d h e r s e l f i n .  She always does t h a t .  to ing  Perhaps  most c h a r a c t e r i s t i c remark i n t h i s v e i n i s one he makes I s a b e l t h a t f i r s t day a t t e a on the lawn: about Mrs. Touchett? . . .  me about her. I,  "Yes—  W e l l , I sup-  pose I s h a l l see her next week" ( P o r t r a i t , I , 20). his  likes  24).  I'm  "Are you t a l k -  Come here, my dear, and  always t h a n k f u l f o r information'!  As he i s dying, he makes h i s f i n a l  about h i s marriage t o h i s son, Ralph:  tell  (Portrait,  observations  "Well . . .  i t can't  be s a i d t h a t my death w i l l make much d i f f e r e n c e i n your mother's  life.  . . .  W e l l , s h e ' l l have more money . . .  I've l e f t her a good w i f e ' s p o r t i o n , j u s t as i f she had been  -44-  a good w i f e " puzzled  ( P o r t r a i t , I, 256).  He  i s g r a t e f u l and  a  little  about her u n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c v i g i l a t h i s deathbed,  showing, at the l a s t , t h a t same g e n t l y t r o u b l e d , somewhat i n a r t i c u l a t e r e g r e t he has manifested throughout.  He  to e x p l a i n h i s f e e l i n g s to Ralph, "your mother has  been  less—less—what I've She  been i l l .  . . .  256).  She  noticed i t . . . .  does i t t o  please—to  does i t because i t s u i t s her"  (Portrait,  Touchett proves capable of a c e r t a i n degree of  i n s i g h t i n t o what t h e i r l i f e As  she  one,  has  been a f t e r her husband's  says to Madame Merle, "I know what you're  going to s a y — h e was than any  She  since  Those are h i s l a s t words about h i s w i f e .  Mrs.  death.  l e s s out o f the way  I presume she knows I've  doesn't do i t to please me.  please. I,  shall I call it?  tries  a very good man.  But  I know i t b e t t e r  because I gave him more chance to show i t .  t h a t I t h i n k I was  She  goes  on to t e l l Madame Merle t h a t her p o r t i o n of the w i l l was  most  generous, and  a good w i f e "  t h a t she thought she  t r i b u t e to the f a c t t h a t she was p h y s i c a l l y and anyone e l s e "  ( P o r t r a i t , I, 295).  In  saw  i n that generosity  always f a i t h f u l to  Her  i n c o n g r u i t y i n the i d e a of i l l i c i t p a s s i o n  austere,  c o r r e c t , and  t h a t she  of h e r s e l f as  for  there  assailing  f a s t i d i o u s a woman as Mrs.  Hers i s a c u r i o u s conception  for  g r a v i t y i n making t h i s  a s s e r t i o n tends to make the reader smile a l i t t l e , is  him  "never e x h i b i t e d the s m a l l e s t p r e f e r e n c e  ( P o r t r a i t , I, 295) .  a  Touchett.  "a good w i f e "  a f f o r d e d her husband ample o p p o r t u n i t y  so  in  to demonstrate  -45-  his  own f i n e nature by t o l e r a t i n g her e c c e n t r i c i t i e s .  It  seems u n l i k e l y t h a t any t h o u g h t f u l person w i l l share her 22 view t h a t an absentee w i f e can be a good one. I s a b e l ' s marriage i s the most s i g n i f i c a n t one i n the n o v e l , and the one i n which James dramatizes the g r a v e s t o f his  doubts about t h a t i n s t i t u t i o n .  acquaintance,  Very e a r l y i n t h e i r  and a propos o f l i f e i n g e n e r a l I s a b e l  Archer  says t o G i l b e r t Osmond, "I'm r a t h e r ashamed o f my p l a n s ; I make a new one every day. . . .  I t seems f r i v o l o u s , I t h i n k .  One ought t o choose something very d e l i b e r a t e l y and be f a i t h f u l t o t h a t "  ( P o r t r a i t , I , 381). T h i s moral  earnest-  ness i s the s t r o n g e s t element i n her p e r s o n a l i t y , and i n combination with pride  (with which i t accords  constitutes Isabel's character.  surprisingly well),  I s a b e l ' s c h a r a c t e r i s her  d e s t i n y , f o r her b e l i e f s l e a d her i n e x o r a b l y toward her doom. Even as she p r a i s e s c o o l judgment I s a b e l i s a l r e a d y beginning in  t o l o s e hers.  James's p o r t r a i t o f a lady  l o v e i s a masterpiece o f i r o n i e s .  falling  Isabel i s f i r s t i n -  t r i g u e d by Osmond's seeming uniqueness:  "Her mind  contained  no c l a s s o f f e r i n g a n a t u r a l p l a c e t o Mr. Osmond—he was a specimen a p a r t . a grain"  . . .  She had never met a person o f so f i n e  ( P o r t r a i t , I , 376). He i s mysterious:  " I t was not  so much what he s a i d and d i d , but r a t h e r what he w i t h h e l d t h a t marked him f o r her" ( P o r t r a i t , I, 376). She decides t h a t he perhaps has some f a u l t s but even these ble:  seem admira- .  "He was c e r t a i n l y f a s t i d i o u s and c r i t i c a l ; he was  -46-  probably  irritable.  His s e n s i b i l i t y had  p o s s i b l y governed him  governed  too much; i t had made him  of v u l g a r t r o u b l e s and had  l e d him  him—  impatient  to l i v e by h i m s e l f , i n a  s o r t e d , s i f t e d , arranged world, t h i n k i n g about a r t beauty and h i s t o r y " ( P o r t r a i t , I, 376-77). muses w h i l e life  and  Thus I s a b e l  she e x e r t s h e r s e l f more than ever b e f o r e  to make a good impression.  of e x q u i s i t e t a s t e s :  She  i n her  t r i e s to appear a woman  " I t would have annoyed her to express  a l i k i n g f o r something t h a t he,  i n his superior enlighten-  ment, would t h i n k she oughtn't t o l i k e ; o r to pass by somet h i n g at which the t r u l y i n i t i a t e d mind would a r r e s t i t s e l f . She  had no wish to f a l l  she had  into that grotesqueness—in  seen women (and i t was  ignobly, flounder. what she  She was  yet  very c a r e f u l , t h e r e f o r e as to  s a i d , as to what she n o t i c e d or f a i l e d t o n o t i c e ;  more c a r e f u l than she had 379).  a warning) s e r e n e l y ,  which  ever been b e f o r e "  U l t i m a t e l y , of course,  she  repeats w i t h Osmond the  e r r o r she had made about Madame Merle. I s a b e l about h i s l i f e , f a c t s but dresses  When Osmond t e l l s  i s not content  them i n s p l e n d o r s .  Isabel's c r e d u l i t y : account of Mr.  she  ( P o r t r a i t , I,  to accept  the  dull  James smiles at poor  "This would have been r a t h e r a dry  Osmond's c a r e e r i f I s a b e l had  it;  but her i m a g i n a t i o n  was  sure had not been wanting"  fully  believed  s u p p l i e d the human element which ( P o r t r a i t , I , 382-83).  she  Isabel  i s Osmond's w i l l i n g accomplice i n d e c e i v i n g h e r s e l f i n t o  -47-  b e l i e v i n g him i n f i n i t e l y more i n t e l l i g e n t , r e f i n e d , import a n t , and worthy than he r e a l l y i s . The  seeds o f her f u t u r e unhappiness are a l l present i n  these passages.  As Ross L a b r i e has p o i n t e d  o u t , "The mix-  t u r e o f a c q u i s i t i v e n e s s , v a n i t y , and a e s t h e t i c i s m  towards  Osmond i s c u r i o u s l y s i m i l a r t o h i s a t t i t u d e t o h e r , and t h i s 23 tends t o take some o f the pathos out o f I s a b e l ' s  case."  L i k e Osmond, I s a b e l i s something o f a c o l l e c t o r o f the r a r e human specimen.  She assumes t h a t those f a c e t s o f Osmond  s t i l l undiscovered are r i c h e r even than those exposed, and even more d e s e r v i n g  of i n v e s t i g a t i o n .  r a r e t o him as w e l l — t o  In seeking  to appear  appear an e x t r a o r d i n a r i l y c u l t i v a t e d ,  c l e v e r , and a r t i s t i c woman—Isabel i s d i s p l a y i n g her p r i d e . She  b e l i e v e s h e r s e l f b e t t e r than other women and wants him  to agree. Of a l l I s a b e l ' s e a r l y r e f l e c t i o n s , however, the one which most d i r e c t s her l a t e r course i s her determination "choose something very ( P o r t r a i t , I, 381).  d e l i b e r a t e l y , and be f a i t h f u l t o t h a t "  I s a b e l chooses t o marry G i l b e r t Osmond,  and her s t r u g g l e i s t o be f a i t h f u l t o t h a t d e l i b e r a t e Her  to  temptations are not c a s t i n the form o f other men:  choice. the  Caspar Goodwood episodes show how impervious she i s to c e r t a i n s o r t s o f masculine appeal. smothered, p i n i o n e d ,  He has always jnade her f e e l  overmastered.  t h e i r i n t e r v i e w s before as t o c o l l a p s e i n t e a r s .  At the end o f each o f  her marriage she i s so overwrought S i m i l a r l y i n t h e i r f o u r t h and f i n a l  -48-  i n t e r v i e w her r e a c t i o n t o him i s c l e a r l y expressed i n terms of panic and sexual r e v u l s i o n . those others  she has known:  She compares h i s love t o  "This was the hot wind o f the  d e s e r t , a t the approach o f which the others dropped dead, l i k e mere sweet a i r s o f the garden. it  l i f t e d her o f f her f e e t , w h i l e  o f something potent, teeth"  I t wrapped her about;  the very t a s t e o f i t , as  a c r i d and strange,  f o r c e d open her s e t  ( P o r t r a i t , I I , 434).  I s a b e l ' s temptations a r e w i t h i n h e r s e l f . Krook e x p l a i n s , ous  there i s never i n I s a b e l ' s mind any s e r i -  2 4  i n t e n t i o n e i t h e r t o l e g a l l y separate  seek a d i v o r c e . own conception  As Dorothea  from Osmond o r t o  I s a b e l ' s s t r u g g l e i s t o remain t r u e t o her o f marriage and t o r e c o n c i l e t h i s i d e a l  ugly r e a l i t y and her own i n d i v i d u a l i t y .  with  I s a b e l has always  been a woman who values her own i d e a s , but i n her v i g i l by the dying of her. "She  fire  she rues them as the cause o f Osmond's hatred  The reader  l e a r n s , t o h i s shock and p i t y , t h a t now  had no o p i n i o n s — n o n e t h a t she would not have been  eager t o s a c r i f i c e i n the s a t i s f a c t i o n o f f e e l i n g h e r s e l f l o v e d f o r i t " ( P o r t r a i t , I , 195). But what Osmond hates i n her i s even more than t h i s .  I t i s "the whole  c h a r a c t e r , the way she f e l t ,  the way she judged. . . .  had  thing—her She  a c e r t a i n way o f l o o k i n g a t l i f e which he took as a per-  sonal offence"  ( P o r t r a i t , I I , 195).  I s a b e l cannot change  "the whole t h i n g " t h a t she i s t o s u i t Osmond; she can o n l y minimize i t , t r y t o stay out o f h i s way, s t e e r  conversations  away from inflammatory t o p i c s , assume the demeanor of d u t i f u l wife.  How  pitifully  c o n t r a c t e d and  the  circumscribed  i s thus the l i f e of the s p i r i t e d g i r l whose f u t u r e everyone had be II,  foreseen as so very b r i g h t .  Her  fate i s , a f t e r a l l , to  "ground i n the very m i l l of the c o n v e n t i o n a l "  (Portrait,  415). Marriage was  to I s a b e l "a complete commitment of  one  25 person to another." gravity.  The  I t was  news t h a t Ralph i s dying at Gardencourt  c i p i t a t e s a c r i s i s which had marriage.  Isabel r e f l e c t s ,  case as t h i s , when one of course  a r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of the utmost  had  pre-  long been imminent i n t h e i r "Marriage meant t h a t i n such a  t o choose, one  f o r one's husband"  chose as a matter  ( P o r t r a i t , I I , 361).  She  fears  "the v i o l e n c e there would be i n going when Osmond wished to  stay"  ( P o r t r a i t , I I , 361), by which she means the  lence of a broken i d e a l .  I I , 247).  (Portrait, II,  seemed p r e f e r a b l e to r e p u d i a t i n g  most s e r i o u s a c t — t h e trait,  w i t h whom, u t t e r i n g tremen-  stood at the a l t a r "  To I s a b e l , "anything  vio-  To I s a b e l "marriage meant t h a t a  woman should c l e a v e t o the man dous vows, she had  her  s i n g l e sacred a c t — o f her l i f e "  361). the (Por-  A f t e r h e a r i n g the t r u t h from the Countess  Gemini, I s a b e l goes to G a r d e n c o u r t — n o t i n d e f i a n c e but i n d e s p a i r and  confusion.  I s a b e l ' s r e t u r n to Osmond i s not a p o s i t i v e a c t , nor did  she r e a l l y have any other c h o i c e .  her an immense r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , and  Her marriage i s to  i f she cannot be happy  -50-  she can a t l e a s t be good; she can be t r u e t o her own ble  code o f honourable conduct.  As Ross L a b r i e  observes,  " I s a b e l tends t o waver between a sense o f p e r s o n a l bility  implaca-  responsi-  f o r the f a i l u r e o f her marriage and a sense o f having 26  been betrayed bility  by Osmond."  T h i s sense o f p e r s o n a l  i s what s u r f a c e s d u r i n g her v i g i l :  responsi-  "There were times  when she almost p i t i e d him; f o r i f she had not deceived him in  i n t e n t i o n she understood how completely  done so i n f a c t .  she must have  She had e f f a c e d h e r s e l f when he f i r s t knew  her; she had made h e r s e l f s m a l l , p r e t e n d i n g  there was l e s s  of her than there r e a l l y was" ( P o r t r a i t , I I , 191). "Yes she had been h y p o c r i t i c a l ; she had l i k e d him so much"  (Por-  t r a i t , I I , 195). I s a b e l r e t u r n s t o Osmond because she cannot f o r g i v e o r excuse t h i s h y p o c r i s y i n h e r s e l f and because she c o n s i d e r s marriage an i n d i s s o l u b l e union. l u t e conception adequately to  imprison  She has an abso-  o f p e r s o n a l i n t e g r i t y t h a t serves  (along w i t h her a b s o l u t e conception  quite  o f marriage)  her f o r e v e r i n t h a t unholy a l l i a n c e w i t h Osmond.  She w i l l do what penance she can f o r the r e s t o f her l i f e . At the novel's  c o n c l u s i o n , I s a b e l r e t u r n s t o her s u f f o -  c a t i n g marriage i n Rome.  She i s g a l l a n t and i d e a l i s t i c  i n d e f e a t , but she i s defeated.  even  Nor a r e any o f the conven-  t i o n a l c o n s o l a t i o n s p o s s i b l e f o r I s a b e l ; she i s as c o n s t i t u t i o n a l l y i n c a p a b l e o f embarking on a m a r i t a l c a r e e r t h a t o f s u p e r f i c i a l Mrs. Touchett  like  as o f t a k i n g comfort and  l o v e r s l i k e the f r i v o l o u s Amy, Countess Gemini.  The Countess  -51-  Gemini observes when she f i r s t  scents Madame Merle's p l a n  t o marry I s a b e l t o Osmond f o r the sake o f her f o r t u n e , it's  a p i t y she's so charming. . . .  g i r l would do.  "Well  To be s a c r i f i c e d , any  She needn't be s u p e r i o r "  ( P o r t r a i t , I,  392).  To prove James's p o i n t , however, t h a t i s e x a c t l y what she must be.  I s a b e l has t o be t h e most e x q u i s i t e and v a l u a b l e  woman imaginable t o emphasize the pathos o f what James sees as one o f the p o s s i b l e f a t e s a woman may face i n marriage. She  may w e l l f i n d h e r s e l f i n the s i t u a t i o n o f I s a b e l , who  "suddenly found the i n f i n i t e v i s t a o f a m u l t i p l i e d l i f e t o be a dark, narrow a l l e y w i t h a dead w a l l a t the end" (Port r a i t , I I , 189).  One o f the many t h i n g s The P o r t r a i t o f a  Lady i s i s a warning t o women. The  Golden Bowl i s the novel  i n which James most c l o s e l y  examines the i n s t i t u t i o n o f marriage, and an i n t r i g u i n g and bloodcurdling  study i t i s .  I t i s a novel o f f e a r f u l  symmetry  f o c u s i n g , f o r the most p a r t , not on the two marriages which are i t s o s t e n s i b l e c e n t r e , but on the more v i b r a n t , cated and t a n g l e d n i s t s more n e a r l y .  compli-  r e l a t i o n s h i p s which i n t e r e s t i t s protagoThus Maggie V e r v e r d e r i v e s more j o y from  her extremely c l o s e , p l a c i d r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h her f a t h e r than from her r e l a t i v e l y newer one w i t h P r i n c e Amerigo, the man  she m a r r i e s .  S i m i l a r l y , C h a r l o t t e Stant  e s t e d i n being her son-in-law's m i s t r e s s wife.  i s more i n t e r -  than her husband's  Y e t both Maggie and C h a r l o t t e are m a r r i e d women, and  both must face the i m p l i c a t i o n s o f what t h a t means.  Each  -52-  must l e a r n t h a t marriage has an a s p e c t l i k e "the grimness of a crunched key i n the s t r o n g e s t l o c k t h a t c o u l d be made" (Bowl, I, 5 ) . Maggie i n i t i a l l y regards her marriage as an adventure. When, a few days b e f o r e t h e i r wedding, Amerigo t r i e s t o convey to her a k i n d of v e i l e d warning about how  little  r e a l l y knows about him, her response i s a b l i t h e  she  "Luckily,  my dear . . . f o r what then would become, p l e a s e , o f the promised o c c u p a t i o n o f my  future?"  (Bowl, I, 9).  Maggie i s  i n c a p a b l e o f understanding him, r a d i a n t i n her c o n f i d e n c e , complacent i n her ignorance. trusts  She loves Amerigo and so she  him.  I f Maggie had a c t u a l l y put i n t o e f f e c t her p l a n f o r the "promised o c c u p a t i o n " o f her f u t u r e , a l l might have been w e l l ; but Maggie begins t o i g n o r e her husband  soon  after  t h e i r r e t u r n , w i t h t h e i r i n f a n t son, from t h e i r extended wedding t r i p t o America.  She n e g l e c t s Amerigo i n favour of  another man,  The new  her f a t h e r .  baby i s the o c c a s i o n f o r  t h e i r meeting even more o f t e n and more i n t i m a t e l y than b e f o r e : I t was  of course an o l d s t o r y and a f a m i l i a r  theme t h a t a b e a u t i f u l baby c o u l d take i t s p l a c e as a new  l i n k between a w i f e and a husband, but  Maggie and her f a t h e r had, w i t h every i n g e n u i t y , converted the p r e c i o u s c r e a t u r e i n t o a l i n k tween a mamma and a grandpapa  be-  (Bowl, I, 156).  -53  Maggie sees nothing odd i n t h i s arrangement, and i n no wayc o n s i d e r s Adam encroaching tory.  on Amerigo's p r i v i l e g e s o r t e r r i -  Such i s the p a t t e r n o f h e r e x i s t e n c e even a f t e r h e r  f a t h e r m a r r i e s , as w e l l .  As Adam's w i f e d r i l y c h a r a c t e r i z e s  t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p , "They were f a i r l y , a t times, the dear t h i n g s , l i k e c h i l d r e n p l a y i n g a t paying v i s i t s , p l a y i n g a t 'Mr.  Thompson' and 'Mrs. Fane', each hoping  would r e a l l y s t a y t o t e a "  t h a t the o t h e r  (Bowl, I , 252).  I t i s not u n t i l halfway  through  the n o v e l t h a t Maggie  begins t o r e a l i z e t h a t "Amerigo and C h a r l o t t e were t o g e t h e r , but she . . . was arranged She  apart"  arranged  (Bowl, I I , 45).  decides t o r e p a i r t h i s d i s c r e p a n c y by sheer e f f o r t o f  w i l l , undertaking t o detach her husband from h i s m i s t r e s s without  c a u s i n g any apparent  of the two couples.  i n t e r r u p t i o n i n the i n t i m a c y  She gets Amerigo back because she i s h i s  w i f e and he i s r a t h e r i n t r i g u e d a t her f i n a l l y n o t i c i n g him, l e t alone h e r t u r n i n g the f u l l b a t t e r y o f her h e r e t o f o r e unsuspected  a t t e n t i o n on him.  However, the c h i e f m o t i v a t i o n  f o r h i s r e t u r n i s t h a t she has a great d e a l o f money and he w i l l l o s e i t i f h i s d e f e c t i o n i s permanent. Maggie never does face the whole t r u t h about h e r s e l f and her i n a d e q u a c i e s .  She c l i n g s , t o the l a s t , t o the s e l f -  r i g h t e o u s theory t h a t she and her f a t h e r were a b s o l u t e l y innocent o f blame i n the q u e s t i o n o f t h e i r spouses'  affair.  When the time comes f o r Adam Verver t o remove h i s f a i t h l e s s  -54-  w i f e t o America, Maggie s t i l l w a i l s t o Fanny Assingham, her confidante  (everybody's  confidante!):  "They're the ones who the ones who  are saved.  are l o s t .  — f a t h e r and I . . . .  . . .  We're  . . .  L o s t t o each o t h e r  Oh yes  . . . l o s t t o each  o t h e r much more, r e a l l y , than Amerigo and l o t t e are:  Char-  s i n c e f o r them i t ' s j u s t , i t ' s r i g h t ,  i t ' s deserved, w h i l e f o r us i t ' s o n l y sad and strange and not caused by our f a u l t "  (Bowl, I I ,  333) . A f t e r the o t h e r couple has departed f o r America, Magg i e ' s l a s t a c t i n t h i s v e r y s c e n i c n o v e l i s t o bury her face i n her husband's b r e a s t . and dread"  (Bowl, I I , 369)  She does so, James says, " f o r p i t y of what she sees i n her husband's  eyes, which i s "the t r u t h " o f h i s a s s e r t i o n t h a t he sees n o t h i n g but h e r s e l f .  Maggie has worked hard f o r t h i s moment  which should be sweet and triumphant f o r her.  She  now  stands alone i n her husband's s i g h t , e c l i p s i n g the r e s t of the world.  She has, to a l l appearances,  age, but hers i s a b i t t e r Maggie has won  "saved" her m a r r i -  victory.  and l o s t a t the same time.  She has  won  the p r a c t i c a l v i c t o r y of complete p o s s e s s i o n o f her husband (a r a t h e r dubious honour), but l o s t the sweetness o l d - t i m e a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h her f a t h e r . the sweetness  o f the  Moreover she has  o f her b r i g h t , e a r l y f a i t h i n her husband.  lost  -55-  Now she knows a l l about him and must come t o terms w i t h t h a t knowledge.  F o r Maggie and the P r i n c e marriage i s f o r e v e r ,  and they w i l l both l i v e a very l o n g time w i t h t h e i r  regrets,  blackened hopes, p a i n f u l memories, and aching sense o f l o s s . C h a r l o t t e f i n d s no comfort i n her marriage  either.  She e n t e r s i n t o i t f o r p r a c t i c a l reasons; she does n o t marry for love.  She e x p l a i n s the advantages  union t o Adam when he proposes: little  less a d r i f t .  "I should l i k e t o be a  I should l i k e t o have a home.  l i k e t o have an e x i s t e n c e .  I don't l i k e my own.  I t ' s the s t a t e , I  'Miss', among us a l l ,  dreadful—except for a shopgirl. b l e E n g l i s h old-maid"  I should  I should l i k e t o have a motive  f o r one t h i n g more than another. . . . mean.  she sees i n such a  i s too  I don't want to be a h o r r i -  (Bowl, I , 219). C h a r l o t t e might have  added t h a t Adam's money i s h i s c h i e f a t t r a c t i o n , but such b l u n t n e s s would be unnecessary as w e l l as u n g r a c e f u l , f o r they both i m p l i c i t l y acknowledge the f a c t . C h a r l o t t e ' s e x p e c t a t i o n s i n her marriage are q u i t e modest, but she i s thwarted by c i r c u m s t a n c e s .  She hopes t o  have c h i l d r e n , but t h e r e are h i n t s t h a t Adam i s impotent. As f o r the home she longs f o r , she f i n d s Maggie, on her c o u n t l e s s v i s i t s t o Adam, the v i r t u a l m i s t r e s s t h e r e . Fanny Assingham remarks,  As  "Maggie and the c h i l d spread so"  (Bowl, I , 374). C h a r l o t t e views her r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s i n marriage much l i k e a b u s i n e s s p a r t n e r s h i p :  "What c o u l d be  s i m p l e r than one's going through w i t h e v e r y t h i n g . . . when  -56-  i t ' s so p l a i n a p a r t of one's c o n t r a c t ? by my  marriage . . . t h a t I should  s t i n t e d my  return.  t r a r y a l l one and  Not  can,  I've  got so much,  deserve no  charity i f I  to do t h a t , to g i v e back on the  i s j u s t one's decency and  one's v i r t u e " (Bowl, I, 318).  con-  one's honour  What C h a r l o t t e does,  s p e c i f i c a l l y , i s go on a wedding t r i p to America "where, by a l l accounts, she had wondrously borne the brunt; f a c i n g b r i g h t l y , at her husband's s i d e , e v e r y t h i n g  t h a t came  up—  and what had  (Bowl, I,  317).  come, o f t e n , was  beyond words"  U l t i m a t e l y her duty seems to be reduced to one she 317)  k i n d of  effort:  "mounted, c h e e r f u l l y , the London t r e a d m i l l " (Bowl, I, to r e p r e s e n t  s o c i a l events. expression  the V e r v e r s ,  "They had  of i t — t o  daughter, at  brought her in--on  do the  done i t w i t h . . . genius"  f a t h e r and  'worldly' (Bowl, I,  the  crudest  f o r them, and  she  had  318).  C h a r l o t t e ' s o r i g i n a l hopes f o r her marriage are f r u s t r a t e d and, and  caught up again  decides her,  when she becomes bored w i t h her s o c i a l  she  i n her o l d p a s s i o n  1  In t h i s she e r r s :  inescapable  she  i s not  she  expectations  i s e n t i t l e d to s t e a l what happiness she  C h a r l o t t e i s a married woman and, grim and  f o r Amerigo,  t h a t , having f u l f i l l e d the V e r v e r s  her marriage.  duties  so  can  of  outside  entitled.  l i k e Maggie, must face She  is  l o c k e d w i t h i n her marriage to Adam to such a degree t h a t  he  l i t e r a l l y becomes her  i m p l i c a t i o n s of t h a t c o n t r a c t .  the  keeper.  -57-  Yet  f o r a time C h a r l o t t e i s happy and manages to f o r g e t  about Adam and her r e l a t i o n s h i p t o him. inevitability  about her a f f a i r w i t h the P r i n c e .  been l o v e r s long b e f o r e but another. totally  Now,  two  so c o n s t a n t l y and  by t h e i r spouses, they f e e l  b e l i e v e , was  find  never before  justified.  ignored As  one so  Charlotte  i n the world t h r u s t upon  Haven 1 we 1  them? . . .  a l l the world e l s e ? " aggressor  had  " I t makes such a r e l a t i o n f o r us, as I  well-meaning c r e a t u r e s .  t h i n g s as we  They  lacked enough money to marry  thrown together  e x p l a i n s to Amerigo: verily  There i s an a i r of  What e l s e can we  (Bowl, I, 302-03).  and the arranger  t h e r e f o r e to take do, what i n  C h a r l o t t e i s the  of t h e i r a s s i g n a t i o n s .  It i s this  27 "unfeminine" d i r e c t n e s s eventual  which, perhaps, c o n t r i b u t e s t o  d e c l i n e of Amerigo's i n t e r e s t i n her.  However,  throughout the a f f a i r C h a r l o t t e i s a most p a t h e t i c indeed.  She  moment and  cannot be completely  light.  she had He and .  honest even to her l o v e r ,  She must be ever g r a c e f u l , s o p h i s t i -  C h a r l o t t e ' s t r u e f e e l i n g i s e v i d e n t when  Amerigo turns from her; animal.  creature,  must dissemble her love i n her every waking  l e s t he weary of her. cated,  the  then she  i s l i k e a p u z z l e d , wounded  At Matcham i n the golden beginning  of t h e i r  e x p l a i n e d her r u l e s of conduct i n l i f e  s a i d of himself, she r e p l i e d ,  "I go,  to Amerigo.  as you know, by my s u p e r s t i t i o n s " ,  "I go but by one  . . I go by you"  affair  (Bowl, I , 360).  t h i n g . . . I go by T h i s i s the  you  truth—that  f  -58-  d e s p i t e her w o r l d l y  a i r s , C h a r l o t t e i s wholly dependent on  Amerigo, and when she l o s e s him she l o s e s a l l . Charlotte's  f a t e i s q u a l i t a t i v e l y worse than t h a t o f  e i t h e r o f her unhappy predecessors i n the James canon, Kate Croy and Marie de Vionnet.  Though each o f the other two  women had t o face the grim end o f the a f f a i r , each was sustained  (to the degree p o s s i b l e ) by h e r r e c o g n i t i o n o f the  i n e x o r a b i l i t y and even the l o g i c a l i t y o f such a c o n c l u s i o n . C h a r l o t t e , on the c o n t r a r y , was t o l d nothing; abandoned between one day and the next.  she was  simply  She was made t h e 28  scapegoat f o r a l l f o u r s i n n e r s i n the n o v e l . C h a r l o t t e permitted and  the c o l d comfort o f p i c k i n g up the p i e c e s  o r d e r i n g her f u t u r e as best she c o u l d .  f u t u r e i s imposed upon her by her husband. she  Nor was  Charlotte's To i n s i s t  that  can be f r e e i n the f u t u r e , as Leon E d e l does, i s wrong: C h a r l o t t e ends w i t h the wealth and power and f r e e dom o f her marriage t o an American tycoon, and i f Adam takes her back t o America t h i s does not n e c e s s a r i l y mean she i s being  taken t o p r i s o n .  We know t h a t she w i l l u l t i m a t e l y be f r e e , l i k e James's other American wives, t o t r a v e l , t o b u i l d houses, t o a c q u i r e She  a r t t r e a s u r e s , o r other 29 can become Mrs. Touchett.  lovers.  C h a r l o t t e can never be f r e e l i k e Mrs. Touchett, f o r now Adam does not t r u s t her,  and the power h i s fabulous  wealth  and h i s l e g a l p o s i t i o n as her husband g i v e him enable him to c o n t r o l her completely.  In f a c t , the passage which  ulti-  mately symbolizes t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p i s p r o b a b l y one of the most v i o l e n t and s i n i s t e r i n a l l the James canon. takes p l a c e at Fawns, d u r i n g  The  scene  t h a t hot, p u r g a t o r i a l summer:  C h a r l o t t e hung behind Adam w i t h emphasized t i o n ; she stopped when her husband at the d i s t a n c e of a case or two  atten-  stopped, but  . . . and the  l i k e n e s s o f t h e i r connexion wouldn't have been wrongly f i g u r e d i f he had been thought o f as holding  i n one o f h i s pocketed hands the end of  a long s i l k e n h a l t e r looped round her b e a u t i f u l neck.  He d i d n ' t t w i t c h i t , y e t i t was  there;  he d i d n ' t drag her, but she came (Bowl, I I , 287). C h a r l o t t e ' s r o l e i n America w i l l be an i n t e n s i f i e d  version  of her p a i n f u l c i c e r o n e performances a t Fawns, where Charl o t t e ' s l e c t u r e s to her gaping group on the wonders o f Verver 's a r t t r e a s u r e s had f o r Maggie a sound " l i k e the s h r i e k of a s o u l i n p a i n "  (Bowl, I I , 292).  But i n America the  p r e s s u r e t o perform w i l l be u n r e m i t t i n g . f o r e v e r i n the museum at American C i t y . at  Charlotte w i l l  live  Her apparent c o n t r o l  the c l o s e of the n o v e l i s mere bravado; she knows her grim  fate. C h a r l o t t e i s one of the most f r e n z i e d and p i t i a b l e o f James's women, but her unhappiness i s t y p i c a l o f t h a t which  -60-  he sees as the common l o t o f woman.  C h a r l o t t e i s trapped  i n her marriage by her d e s i r e t o m a i n t a i n appearances, by her d e s p a i r a t Amerigo's d e s e r t i o n , and by her apparent  deci-  s i o n t o s e t t l e f o r Adam's wealth s i n c e she cannot have  Ameri-  go's  love.  Maggie's u l t i m a t e f a t e i s t o accept w i t h what  grace she can the knowledge t h a t she can o n l y secure her husband by g i v i n g up h e r beloved f a t h e r — a r e n u n c i a t i o n t h a t i s l i k e death t o both o f them.  I s a b e l Archer's c h o i c e o f  G i l b e r t Osmond as her husband i s the mistake t o which she s a c r i f i c e s a l l h e r y o u t h f u l i d e a l i s m , v i v a c i t y , and charm. I s a b e l , Maggie, and C h a r l o t t e each d i s c o v e r marriage t o be a grim a l t a r on which she must s a c r i f i c e her i n d i v i d u a l i t y . Nor a r e James's unmarried women happy.  The v a r i o u s  s o c i e t i e s i n which they l i v e s t i p u l a t e t h a t i t i s every g i r l ' s duty t o marry and t o marry w e l l . t h i s p r e s s u r e i n her own way:  Each responds t o  Nanda Brookenham and Biddy  Dormer s u f f e r u n r e q u i t e d l o v e ; g e n t l e Pansy Osmond i s a mere pawn i n the hands o f her unscrupulous  f a t h e r ; w h i l e Daisy  M i l l e r and J u l i a B r i d e behave so f r i v o l o u s l y t h a t they  for-  f e i t t h e good o p i n i o n s o f the men i n whom they are most interested. Thus i t c o n t i n u e s , and James's f i c t i o n can be regarded as a catalogue o f female misery.  The experience o f each  female c h a r a c t e r does i n c l u d e some p o s i t i v e a s p e c t s , b u t these a r e so c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y o f one s o r t t h a t the term " t r a g i c awareness" has become a s t a p l e o f Jamesian  criticism.  -61-  The wisdom t h a t comes w i t h experience always n e c e s s i t a t e s p a i n f o r James's women and never b r i n g s peace.  s a t i s f a c t i o n or  None can hope f o r more than a s t a t e of grey  t i o n and compromise.  resigna-  -62-  Notes to I n t r o d u c t i o n and Chapter One "''According t o Leon E d e l , Henry James: d e l p h i a and New  York:  The Master  (Phila-  J . B. L i p p i n c o t t Co., 1972), pp.  500-01. 2 Henry James, "Preface to The Awkward Age," Age  (New York:  i n The Awkward  C h a r l e s S c r i b n e r ' s Sons, 1908), p. x.  3 Henry James, "Preface to The Awkward Age," pp. x - x i . All  f u r t h e r r e f e r e n c e s to t h i s n o v e l w i l l be to t h i s New  York  E d i t i o n and i n c l u d e d i n the t e x t . ^Henry James, The P o r t r a i t o f a Lady, 2 v o l s . C h a r l e s S c r i b n e r ' s Sons, 1908), I, 369.  (New  A l l further  York: refer-  ences w i l l be t o t h i s e d i t i o n o f the n o v e l and i n c l u d e d i n the  text. 5 In  the "Preface to The Awkward Age" James says, " I t i s  compromise t h a t has s u f f e r e d her t o be i n q u e s t i o n at a l l [as  a member of the s a l o n ) , and t h a t has condemned the f r e e -  dom of the c i r c l e t o be s e l f - c o n s c i o u s , compunctious, on the whole much more t i m i d than brave" (p. x i i i ) . c  F. W.  Dupee i s mistaken when he says Nanda "queens i t "  i n her s a l o n u p s t a i r s , and mistaken when he sees her g e s t u r e as "impertinence". Cf. h i s Henry James, American Men o f  Letters Series pp.  (New York:  W i l l i a m Sloane A s s o c i a t e s ,  1951),  201-02). 7  Henry James, The T r a g i c Muse, 2 v o l s . Charles S c r i b n e r ' s Sons, 1908), I I , 288.  New  York:  A l l further refer-  ences w i l l be t o t h i s e d i t i o n of the n o v e l and i n c l u d e d i n the t e x t . Henry James, "The Manners o f American  Women,"JHarper's  Bazar, 41 ( A p r i l - J u l y , 1907), r p t . i n P e t e r B u i t e n h u i s , ed., French W r i t e r s and American Women Essays (Branford, Conn.: Compass, 1960), p. 70. 9 According J u l i a Bride:  t o Peter B u i t e n h u i s ,  "From Daisy M i l l e r t o  'A Whole Passage o f I n t e l l e c t u a l H i s t o r y , ' "  AQ, I I (1959), 140. "^Henry James, " L e t t e r t o Mrs. Lynn L i n t o n , c a . 1880," i n George Somes Layard, Mrs. Lynn L i n t o n  (London:  Methuen and  Co., 1901), pp. 233-34, r p t . i n W i l l i a m T. S t a f f o r d , ed., James's "Daisy M i l l e r " : (New York:  The S t o r y , The P l a y , The C r i t i c s  C h a r l e s S c r i b n e r ' s Sons, 1963), pp. 115-16.  ' "Henry James, The Golden Bowl, 2 v o l s .  1  1  Charles S c r i b n e r ' s Sons, 1909), I , 52.  (New York:  A l l further refer-  ences are t o t h i s e d i t i o n of the n o v e l and w i l l be i n c l u d e d i n the t e x t .  -64-  12Annette Kar, "Archetypes o f American Innocence," AQ, 5 (Spring, 1953), 32. Miller  Quoted by P e t e r B u i t e n h u i s "From Daisy  t o J u l i a B r i d e , " p. 137.  13 P e t e r B u i t e n h u i s , "From Daisy M i l l e r  to J u l i a  Bride,"  p. 137. 1 4  I b i d . , p. 143.  1 5  I b i d . , p. 142.  16 Henry James, " J u l i a B r i d e " i n The Novels and T a l e s o f Henry James, V o l . 17 (New York:  C h a r l e s S c r i b n e r ' s Sons,  1909), 532. H e n r y James, " J u l i a B r i d e , " p. 512. 1 7  18 Henry James, "Preface t o 'The A l t a r o f the Dead' e t c . , " i n The Novels and T a l e s o f Henry James, V o l . 17 (New York: C h a r l e s S c r i b n e r ' s Sons, 1909), x x v i - x x v i i . 19 L y a l l H. Powers, Henry James and the N a t u r a l i s t Movement (Michigan: 20  Michigan S t a t e Univ. P r e s s , 1971), p. 80, agrees.  Henry James, The B o s t o n i a n s : York: 21  A Novel (London and New  Macmillan and Co., 1886), p. 32. P e t e r B u i t e n h u i s , The G r a s p i n g I m a g i n a t i o n :  can W r i t i n g s o f Henry James p. 150, agrees.  (Toronto:  The Ameri-  U. o f T. P r e s s , 1970),  -65-  Oscar C a r g i l l , The Novels o f Henry James (New The Macmillan Co., and 117 23  19 61), cannot, f o r example.  104  . . Ross L a b r i e , "The M o r a l i t y of Consciousness i n Henry 418.  . . Dorothea Krook, The O r d e a l o f Consciousness i n Henry  James (Cambridge: 25  C f . pp.  (n. 73).  James," Colby L i b r a r y Quart., 9 (Dec. 1971), 24  York:  Krook,  p.  Cambridge Univ. P r e s s , 1962), pp.  357-62.  358.  L a b r i e , " M o r a l i t y of Consciousness," p.  417.  27 Krook, p. 294, d i s c u s s e s how  C h a r l o t t e makes i t a l l  "too easy" f o r Amerigo. 28 E l s o N e t t e l s i s mistaken i n i n s i s t i n g Maggie was  the  scapegoat, j u s t as she i s mistaken i n m a i n t a i n i n g t h a t James's scapegoats v o l u n t e e r f o r t h e i r o r d e a l s .  Cf.  Scapegoats and Martyrs o f Henry James," Colby L i b r a r y 10  (Sept. 1974), 413-27. 29 Leon E d e l , The Master, p.  215.  "The Quart.,  -66-  Chapter Two Men  i n the F i c t i o n  James sees f u t i l i t y ,  unhappiness, and an absence o f  s e l f - f u l f i l m e n t as the l o t o f woman i n a l l h e r i n c a r n a t i o n s , but a t l e a s t h i s women a r e i n t r i n s i c a l l y people.  H i s men, i n almost a l l c a s e s , l a c k t h e i r  s p o n t a n e i t y , and degree o f s e l f - a w a r e n e s s . are  valuable  n o t as i n t e r e s t i n g .  I t i s certain  vivacity,  In the main they  t h a t they are not as  appealing. It  i s interesting  t h a t James so s t e a d f a s t l y  prefers  women t o men, not i n any s e x u a l sense b u t f o r t h e i r t i e s o f heightened i n t e l l i g e n c e , pathy.  i n t u i t i o n and ready sym-  H i s men a r e almost always harder, c o l d e r ,  sensitive,  more r u t h l e s s .  be c o n s i d e r e d e v i l ,  quali-  Even women who would  less  ordinarily  l i k e Kate Croy and Serena Merle, a r e  portrayed sympathetically. catastrophes with p i t y .  James l i n g e r s  t o study t h e i r  One does not sense such p i t y f o r  t h e i r male c o u n t e r p a r t s i n e v i l — f o r G i l b e r t Osmond, f o r example. James p o r t r a y s o n l y a s m a l l corner o f l i f e , kinds o f men. the  He i s not i n t e r e s t e d  only a few  i n the d a i l y rounds o f  hard-working p h y s i c i a n , o r the triumphs and d i s a p p o i n t -  ments o f the devoted t e a c h e r .  Certainly  he i s o b l i v i o u s t o  -67-  the charm o f the n o n - p r o f e s s i o n a l  working c l a s s e s .  James's f i c t i o n a r e t y p i c a l l y o p p o r t u n i s t s  Men i n  looking for r i c h  women t o support them, o r r e t i r e d businessmen t r y i n g t o buy l o v e , happiness and c u l t u r e .  Though James's women, f o r a l l  t h e i r f a u l t s , a r e g e n e r a l l y v a l i a n t , charming, and admirable, his  men a r e i n f i n i t e l y  l e s s so.  They a r e most o f t e n e g o t i s -  t i c a l and i n s e n s i t i v e t o the needs o f o t h e r s . o f t e n seem t o have no s o u l s a t a l l .  In f a c t , they  L i k e James's women, a l l  f i n d l i f e u l t i m a t e l y p a i n f u l and even meaningless. The  b e s t examples o f James's l a c k o f sympathy w i t h h i s  male c h a r a c t e r s tunists.  a r e t o be found i n h i s s t u d i e s o f male oppor-  The male o p p o r t u n i s t s  have a c u r i o u s l y p a s s i v e  i n James's f i c t i o n  side to t h e i r natures:  often  they w a i t  u n t i l circumstances and the e x e r t i o n s o f other people b r i n g t h e i r desires to f r u i t i o n .  E x c e l l e n t examples o f such men  are P r i n c e Amerigo o f The Golden Bowl and G i l b e r t Osmond o f The  P o r t r a i t of a Lady.  Amerigo's marriage t o the only  daughter o f a f a b u l o u s l y r i c h American was o r i g i n a l l y c e i v e d by a mutual f r i e n d , Fanny Assingham 2 8-29).  con-  (Bowl, I , 21 and  Maggie and Adam Verver a r e charmed not by what  Amerigo does b u t by what he i s _ — a handsome, though impoveri s h e d , p r i n c e o f a n c i e n t Roman l i n e a g e . explains  t o Amerigo h i s value  Maggie  airily  t o her f a t h e r :  "You're , , . part o f h i s c o l l e c t i o n  . . , one o f  the t h i n g s t h a t can o n l y be got over here.  You're  -68-  a r a r i t y , an o b j e c t o f beauty, an o b j e c t o f p r i c e . You're not perhaps a b s o l u t e l y unique,  but you're  so c u r i o u s and eminent t h a t t h e r e are very few others l i k e y o u — y o u belong t o a c l a s s about which e v e r y t h i n g i s known. ceau de musee"  You're what they c a l l a mor-  (Bowl, I, 12).  T h i s i s the s t a t i c b a s i s on which he e n t e r s the Verver menage and so he continues i n i t .  He promptly  presents  Ver-  ver w i t h a grandson and h e i r t o h i s b i l l i o n s , but h i m s e l f takes l i t t l e little  i n t e r e s t i n the c h i l d .  i n t e r e s t i n anything:  He i s ignored and taken  granted by Maggie and her f a t h e r and bewildered by Eng-  l i s h s o c i e t y and i t s a t t i t u d e toward him. Prince's t i t l e in  takes  he i s aimless but amiable,  p l e a s a n t but not h i m s e l f p l e a s e d . for  In f a c t Amerigo  England  In Rome the  always assured him o f deference  he does not get i t .  and r e s p e c t ;  He muses i d l y a t Matcham on  "the so f a m i l i a r f a c t o f h i s s a c r i f i c e s — d o w n t o the i d e a o f the very r e l i n q u i s h m e n t , f o r h i s w i f e ' s convenience,  of h i s  r e a l s i t u a t i o n i n the world; w i t h the consequence, thus, t h a t he was, i n the l a s t a n a l y s i s , among a l l these so o f t e n i n f e r i o r people, p r a c t i c a l l y h e l d cheap and made l i g h t o f " (Bowl, I , 353). The keys t o h i s p e r s o n a l i t y may be found i n two passages i n the n o v e l . is  In the f i r s t  o f these, Amerigo's v a n i t y  r e v e a l e d , a v a n i t y a l r e a d y stung by Maggie's n e g l e c t o f  -69-  him.  The s u b j e c t i s Amerigo's resentment o f the V e r v e r s '  t a k i n g i t so f o r granted t h a t he and C h a r l o t t e — a l o n e , t o gether—should events.  constantly represent the family a t s o c i a l  He r e f l e c t s :  Being t h r u s t , s y s t e m a t i c a l l y , w i t h another woman, and a woman one happened, by the same token, exceedingly to l i k e ,  and being so t h r u s t t h a t the  theory o f i t seemed t o p u b l i s h one as i d i o t i c o r i n c a p a b l e — t h i s was a predicament o f which the d i g n i t y depended a l l on one's own h a n d l i n g . was supremely grotesque  What  i n f a c t was the e s s e n t i a l  o p p o s i t i o n o f t h e o r i e s — a s i f a galantuomo, as he at  l e a s t c o n s t i t u t i o n a l l y conceived  galantuomini,  c o u l d do anything b u t b l u s h t o "go about" a t such a r a t e w i t h such a person as Mrs. Verver i n a s t a t e o f c h i l d l i k e innocence,  the s t a t e o f our  p r i m i t i v e parents b e f o r e the F a l l  (Bowl, I , 335).  Maggie had t o l d Amerigo "you belong t o a c l a s s about which e v e r y t h i n g i s known" (Bowl, I , 12), i n r e f e r r i n g t o the numerous volumes o f h i s f a m i l y ' s h i s t o r y i n the p u b l i c l i b r a r y , b u t h i s galantuomo s i d e i s a l s o something she should have taken i n t o c o n s i d e r a t i o n .  He w i l l not w i t h  impunity be p u b l i s h e d as " i d i o t i c o r i n c a p a b l e " . Amerigo's p a s s i v i t y i s h i s o t h e r c h i e f He can be l u r e d e a s i l y by money o r d e s i r e .  characteristic. He can even  -70-  e l a b o r a t e t h e o r i e s excusing h i s v a g r a n c i e s , as he does i n his  e x t r a o r d i n a r y r e v e r i e a t Matchara.  F o r a l l i t s extreme  a e s t h e t i c charm, h i s r e v e r i e and the s i t u a t i o n i t d e s c r i b e s are f u l l o f r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n and s o p h i s t r y : t h i s p l a c e had sounded i t s name t o him h a l f the n i g h t through,  and i t s name had become but another  name, the pronounceable and convenient one, f o r t h a t supreme sense o f t h i n g s which now w i t h i n him.  throbbed  He had kept s a y i n g t o h i m s e l f  "Glou-  c e s t e r , G l o u c e s t e r , G l o u c e s t e r , " q u i t e as i f the sharpest meaning o f a l l the years j u s t were i n t e n s e l y expressed  in it.  passed  That meaning  was r e a l l y t h a t h i s s i t u a t i o n remained q u i t e sublimely consistent with i t s e l f ,  and t h a t they  a b s o l u t e l y , he and C h a r l o t t e , stood t h e r e t o gether i n the very l u s t r e o f t h i s t r u t h .  . . .  He knew why, from the f i r s t o f h i s marriage, he had t r i e d w i t h such p a t i e n c e f o r such  conformity;  he knew why he had g i v e n up so much and bored h i m s e l f so much; he knew why he, a t any r a t e , had gone i n , on the b a s i s o f a l l forms, on the b a s i s of  h i s having, i n a manner, s o l d h i m s e l f , f o r a  s i t u a t i o n nette.  I t had a l l been j u s t i n order  t h a t h i s — w e l l , what on e a r t h should he c a l l i t but h i s f r e e d o m ? — s h o u l d a t p r e s e n t be as p e r f e c t and rounded and l u s t r o u s as some huge p r e c i o u s  -71-  pearl.  He hadn't s t r u g g l e d o r snatched; he was  t a k i n g but what had been given him; the p e a r l dropped i t s e l f , w i t h i t s e x q u i s i t e q u a l i t y and r a r i t y , s t r a i g h t i n t o h i s hand The  (Bowl, I , 357-58).  P r i n c e t h i n k s t h a t he i s t o be r e p a i d f o r a l l the bore-  dom he has endured over the l a s t f o u r y e a r s , i t has bought him h i s freedom.  t h i n k s even t h a t  The " p e r f e c t and rounded and  l u s t r o u s " p e a r l i s h i s freedom and C h a r l o t t e a t one and the same time. itself finger.  And the best p a r t i s t h a t "the p e a r l dropped  . . . s t r a i g h t i n t o h i s hand" without h i s l i f t i n g a I t i s something l i k e a p o i n t o f honour w i t h him  t h a t "He hadn't s t r u g g l e d o r snatched". When Maggie c o n f r o n t s  Amerigo w i t h her knowledge o f  h i s i n f i d e l i t y , he abandons C h a r l o t t e a qualm o r even an explanation."'" she  f e e l s o r what happens t o her:  immediately—without  He does not care about how the a f f a i r has been a l l  of her own c o n t r i v i n g and now i t i s no longer  convenient.  He h a s t i l y r e t u r n s t o h i s r o l e as f a m i l y man i n which, though he w i l l not be happy o r amused, he w i l l , a t l e a s t , be r i c h . Amerigo i s thus exposed as a cad, a d r i f t e r , a man o f no honour o r moral substance, d e d i c a t e d  t o expediency  alone.  G i l b e r t Osmond i s James's most redoubtable p o r t r a i t o f the male o p p o r t u n i s t , i n the extreme. but  but, u n l i k e Amerigo, he i s s i n i s t e r  He has the same p a s s i v e  q u a l i t y as Amerigo,  i n Osmond i t m a n i f e s t s i t s e l f l i k e t h a t of the s p i d e r ,  -72-  who,  having spun a treacherous web,  tre  f o r h i s v i c t i m to b l u n d e r i n .  his  marriage t o the auspices  go's  w a i t s c o o l l y at the  cen-  L i k e Amerigo, Osmond owes  of a woman f r i e n d ; u n l i k e Ameri-  case there are not benevolent i n t e n t i o n s a l l round.  Serena Merle knows a l l about Osmond, knows a l l about the c r u e l t y o f which he i s capable. She  (Who  c o u l d know b e t t e r ?  i s h e r s e l f his discarded mistress.)  Yet she  schemes to 2  marry him  to I s a b e l Archer, a v u l n e r a b l e  There seem to be two b e r t Osmond.  young h e i r e s s .  c r i t i c a l camps w i t h regard  Most numerous are the c r i t i c s who  to  see him  Gilas  a r c h - v i l l i a n , the i n c a r n a t i o n of e v i l , the m a c h i a v e l l i a n 3 manipulator o f innocent I s a b e l . However, as C h a r l e s Thomas 4 Samuels s e n s i b l y p o i n t s out  James has  w i t h a great many a m b i g u i t i e s  invested his p o r t r a i t  about I s a b e l ' s own  share of  r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i n the matter of her marriage,^ so i t i s d i f f i c u l t t o see her as wholly blameless.  S i m i l a r l y , Manfred  6 MacKenzie  takes v i o l e n t e x c e p t i o n  to what he  considers  I s a b e l ' s melodramatic v e r s i o n of her s i t u a t i o n i n her vigil  (Chapter F o r t y - t w o ) ;  Ralph can  famous  p o i n t i n g out t h a t the worst t h i n g  say about Osmond when I s a b e l t e l l s him  of  her  engagement i s t h a t he t h i n k s Osmond " s m a l l "  (Portrait, II,  70).  Isabel categori-  MacKenzie's arguments t h a t no-one but  c a l l y condemns Osmond simply fully  prove t h a t Osmond has  success-  hidden h i s malevolence from the r e s t of the world; o r ,  r a t h e r , t h a t Osmond's malevolence does not f l a r e b e f o r e has p r o v o c a t i o n .  (He comes t o c o n s i d e r  Isabel's  he  resistance  -73-  to  h i s ideas p r o v o c a t i o n enough.) But whether Osmond i s c o n s i d e r e d wholly o r p a r t i a l l y  r e s p o n s i b l e , a l l c r i t i c s agree i n f i n d i n g him, as Ralph does, a " s t e r i l e d i l e t t a n t e "  ( P o r t r a i t , I I , 71). T h i s i s  the f a c e t o f Osmond most emphasized i n the chapter i n which Osmond proposes  t o I s a b e l , Chapter Twenty-nine.  The s t e r i l -  i t y o f h i s i n t e r e s t i n her i s a m a n i f e s t a t i o n o f h i s a l l consuming egotism. his  ideas.  He wants her t o r e f l e c t o n l y him and  In t h i s chapter, James r e v e a l s Osmond's charac-  t e r i s t i c t r a i t s t o be s e l f - p i t y and i n d o l e n c e , q u a l i t i e s notably s t e r i l e .  Osmond i s r e f l e c t i n g on the growing p o s s i -  b i l i t y t h a t I s a b e l may accept h i s s u i t : At p r e s e n t he was h a p p y — h a p p i e r haps ever been i n h i s l i f e , a large foundation. of  and the f e e l i n g had  T h i s was simply the sense  s u c c e s s — t h e most agreeable emotion o f the  human h e a r t . it  than he had per-  Osmond had never had too much o f  . . . "Ah no, I've not been s p o i l e d ;  I've not been spoiled,' peat.  1  certainly  he used inwardly t o r e -  " I f I do succeed b e f o r e I d i e I s h a l l  thoroughly have earned  it."  He was t o o apt t o  reason as i f "earning" t h i s boon c o n s i s t e d above a l l of c o v e r t l y aching f o r i t and might be conf i n e d t o t h a t e x e r c i s e ( P o r t r a i t , I I , 11-12). He complacently  compares h i m s e l f t o an "anonymous drawing"  -74-  i n a museum suddenly " i d e n t i f i e d a great master" recognition  . . . as from the hand o f  ( P o r t r a i t , I I , 12).  This  long-coveted  i s what I s a b e l r e p r e s e n t s t o him:  was what the g i r l had d i s c o v e r e d  "His ' s t y l e  1  w i t h a l i t t l e h e l p ; and  now, b e s i d e h e r s e l f e n j o y i n g i t , she should p u b l i s h i t t o the world without h i s having any o f the t r o u b l e .  She would  do the t h i n g f o r him, and he would not have waited i n v a i n " ( P o r t r a i t , I I , 12). . Osmond has always r e s e n t e d the world's n e g l e c t talents.  of h i s  H i s accomplishments a r e s m a l l , but he does not  t h i n k them so:  he knows good a r t when he sees i t ; he has  accumulated c e r t a i n r a r e o b j e c t s ,  a collection  that.:_his  shrewdness (not h i s purse) made p o s s i b l e ; he can t u r n an i n s i n c e r e compliment o r pen a sonnet which i s " c o r r e c t and ingenious"  ( P o r t r a i t , I I , 11), though p a s s i o n l e s s .  b o l i s m i m p l i c i t i n Osmond's p a t i e n t  The sym-  copying o f the antique  c o i n w h i l e I s a b e l announces her momentous d e c i s i o n t o go t o Ralph a t Gardencourt i s heavy w i t h s i g n i f i c a n c e I I , 351 f f . ) :  h i s a t t e n t i o n i s focused  money, the s u b j e c t  (Portrait,  (as i t always i s ) on  o f h i s p a i n t i n g ; he i s merely copying the  design o f the c o i n , not c r e a t i n g a f r e s h one ( f o r a s t e r i l e mind cannot c r e a t e ) ; f i n a l l y , h i s a b s o r p t i o n  i s t o t a l and  7 excludes h i s w i f e . Osmond i s not happy i n h i s marriage t o I s a b e l . does not d e f e r t o him i n a l l things  She  as he had expected.  That "sense o f s u c c e s s — t h e most agreeable emotion o f the  -75-  human h e a r t "  ( P o r t r a i t , I I , 11), i n which he l u x u r i a t e d dur-  i n g t h e i r c o u r t s h i p does not i n c r e a s e .  In f a c t , he grows t o  hate her as he r e a l i z e s her d i s d a i n f o r the narrowness o f h i s ideas.  Almost alone i n the press o f c r i t i c s the f a i r -  minded Dorothea Krook defends Osmond:  "He had c e r t a i n l y not  g been a mere adventurer who was marrying her f o r her money." She  insists  simply,  " h i s main reason f o r wanting t o marry her was,  t h a t he l i k e d her;  t h a t he found her r e a l l y charm-  i n g and g r a c e f u l . . . t h a t he was i n f a c t , t o h i s c a p a c i t y , 9  i n love w i t h I s a b e l — g e n u i n e l y ,  even a r d e n t l y , i n l o v e . "  James's great p o i n t s u r e l y i s t h a t Osmond's " c a p a c i t y " t o love i s s i n f u l l y s m a l l ; t h a t i n marrying so v i b r a n t and f r e e a creature  as I s a b e l , and i n imposing h i s w i l l on her, he d i d  her grievous and  harm.  Nevertheless,  r e c o i l are c o n s i d e r a b l e  Osmond's own d i s i l l u s i o n m e n t  (though very  few readers c a r e ) .  Osmond c l i n g s t o the empty form t h a t i s h i s marriage, p r o t e s t i n g t o I s a b e l t h a t t h e i r only s o l u t i o n " i s i n l i v i n g decently  together,  i n s p i t e o f such drawbacks {[as t h e i r  mutual d i s i l l u s i o n m e n t , h o r r o r , I I , 357). He says,  and s u s p i c i o n ] "  "I t h i n k we should  accept the consequences  of our a c t i o n s , and what I value most i n l i f e of a t h i n g "  (Portrait,  i s the honour  ( P o r t r a i t , I I , 356). I s a b e l c o r r e c t l y  t h i s t o be "blasphemous s o p h i s t r y "  perceives  ( P o r t r a i t , I I , 356), but  r e a l i z e s t h a t he i s s i n c e r e , t h a t he i s drawing h e a v i l y on h i s code o f conduct and t r y i n g t o e x p l a i n i t t o her. i s s i n c e r e , but he i s wrong.  Osmond  Observing the forms i s not  -76-  enough.  I t i s what he has done a l l h i s l i f e  him what he i s :  and i t has made  a c r e a t u r e a l l s u r f a c e , a man  whose s t r e n g t h  of w i l l i s s u f f i c i e n t t o darken the l i v e s o f those he h o l d s i n t h r a l l , a man  without a s o u l .  I t i s not s u r p r i s i n g t h a t James's d i l e t t a n t e - g i g o l o f i g u r e s are not p o r t r a y e d as admirable men, h i s men  of a c t i o n .  James's p o r t r a i t s of American  are f a r from f l a t t e r i n g .  businessman,  T h i s i s l a r g e l y because  businessmen  As he probes t h e i r g o a l s and moti-  v a t i o n s , James shows t h a t the man by the American  but n e i t h e r are  of a c t i o n , as r e p r e s e n t e d  i s doomed t o f a i l u r e as w e l l .  of a l a c k of v i s i o n , a narrowness  begotten i n what James c o n s i d e r e d the narrow, v u l g a r world of g e t t i n g and spending. nessman, The American  His e a r l i e s t n o v e l about a b u s i -  (1877), g i v e s i n d i c a t i o n s o f what i s  to come, f o r C h r i s t o p h e r Newman i s somewhat n a i v e and expects money to smooth h i s path, but Newman i s l a r g e l y amiable f i g u r e n e v e r t h e l e s s .  an  On the o t h e r hand, Adam Verver  of The Golden Bowl i s an ambiguous and o f t e n s i n i s t e r character.  F i n a l l y , Abel Gaw  and Horton V i n t of The Ivory Tower  (James's l a s t words on the American  businessman) are unre-  l i e v e d and unambiguous s t u d i e s i n c h i c a n e r y . be s a y i n g t h a t such men  James seems to  are dangerous and powerful  because  o f t h e i r money, but t h a t t h e i r power ddes not b r i n g h a p p i ness. men  In f a c t , the most common mistake h i s American  business-  make i s t o t r y t o buy happiness, and, most p a r t i c u l a r l y ,  love.  -77-  C h r i s t o p h e r Newman i s James's f i r s t p o r t r a i t American businessman.  In him James emphasizes such p o s i -  t i v e t r a i t s as g e n e r o s i t y , candour, modesty, and a sense o f humour.  o f the  perseverence,  He has as w e l l , i t i s t r u e , a c e r -  t a i n degree o f p r o v i n c i a l i s m , and h i s s o c i a l n a i v e t e ^ i s the o c c a s i o n f o r much o f the humour o f the n o v e l .  F o r example,  h i s e x p l a n a t i o n t o the a r i s t o c r a t i c B e l l e g a r d e s o f the o r i gins o f h i s wealth  i s superb:  "I've been i n everything... ,. .  At one time I s o l d l e a t h e r ; a t one time I manufactured washtubs.  . . .  I l o s t money on wash-tubs, but I came out  p r e t t y square i n l e a t h e r . "  1 0  As F. 0. Matthiessen  points  out, Newman comes t o Europe with a " q u i e t eagerness f o r wider experience", grandiose  i n sharp c o n t r a s t t o Adam Verver's  scheme t o r i f l e  the Golden  Isles.  1 1  There i s nothing a t a l l s i n i s t e r about Newman. H i s money does not g i v e him power over other people. much o f the n o v e l under the impression  He spends  t h a t h i s money has  e l e v a t e d him s o c i a l l y t o something approaching  the l e v e l o f  the B e l l e g a r d e s , but t h i s i l l u s i o n proves q u i t e f a l s e . i s the s i g h t o f Newman i n a l l h i s innocent gaucherie grand b a l l , naked o f o r d e r s , t i t l e s , cream o f French  It  at their  and aplomb among the  s o c i e t y t h a t determines the B e l l e g a r d e s t o  withdraw t h e i r agreement t o t h e proposed marriage o f C l a i r e and Newman.  They cannot see p a s t t h e i r i n h e r i t e d p r e j u d i c e s  and  social distinctions  man  they  scorn.  t o r e a l i z e the f i n e c h a r a c t e r o f the  -78-  I t i s i n h i s a t t i t u d e t o the woman he loves t h a t Newman most d i s t i n g u i s h e s h i m s e l f . and  faithful.  As a l o v e r Newman i s p a s s i o n a t e  Once he has met C l a i r e h i s o n l y thought i s t o  persuade h e r and h e r f a m i l y t o agree t o t h e i r marriage.  The  s e c t i o n o f t h e n o v e l d u r i n g which Newman i s c o u r t i n g C l a i r e and  l u x u r i a t i n g i n h i s love r e v e a l s much o f h i s c h a r a c t e r .  He i s n o t , f o r example, a s e n t i m e n t a l man: h i m s e l f he had not f a l l e n  "He f l a t t e r e d  . . . i n love. . . .  That s t a t e ,  he c o n s i d e r e d , was t o o c o n s i s t e n t with a s i n i n i t y , and he had never had a f i n e r c o n t r o l o f reason h i s judgment" manipulator is,  or a higher opinion of  (Amer., p. 239). Nor i s there anything o f the  i n Newman.  C l a i r e p l e a s e s him e x a c t l y as she  and he seeks only t o i n t e r p o s e between h e r and the t r o u -  bles of l i f e  (Amer., p. 240).  Newman does not t r y t o buy C l a i r e ' s l o v e , but i t i s h i s money which, f o r a time, buys him acceptance w i t h h e r haughty f a m i l y .  T h e i r e f f o r t s t o f o r c e t h i s vigorous  repre-  s e n t a t i v e o f the democracy t o acknowledge j u s t how f o r t u n a t e he i s t o be r e c o g n i z e d  as a s u i t o r f o r the hand o f a B e l l e -  garde a r e extremely amusing. vaguely  aware t h a t he may be being snubbed, b u t c o n s i d e r s i t  irrelevant. stands  Newman does not understand, i s  When Urbain de B e l l e g a r d e asks i f he under-  the f a m i l y ' s p o s i t i o n he r e p l i e s :  "Oh no, not q u i t e - - o r perhaps not a t a l l . But you needn't mind t h a t .  . ..  I don't care whether  -79-  I know—or even, r e a l l y , c a r e , I t h i n k , what you say; f o r i f I d i d t h e r e might be t h i n g s I shouldn't l i k e , should i n f a c t , q u i t e d i s l i k e , and t h a t wouldn't s u i t me a t a l l , you know.  I want . . .  to marry your s i s t e r and nobody other whomsoever —that's all;  t o do i t as q u i c k l y as p o s s i b l e and  to do as l i t t l e  e l s e among you b e s i d e s .  care t h e r e f o r e how I do i t — a s  I don't  regards the r e s t  of you! And t h a t ' s a l l I have t o say" (Amer., p. 226). The  scene most c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f Newman's d e a l i n g s w i t h the  f a m i l y i s t h a t e a r l i e r one i n which he triumphs flinty-eyed matriarch. i n marriage  over i t s  He t e l l s her he seeks her daughter  and asks her a p p r o v a l :  "You don't know what you ask.  I'm a very  proud and meddlesome o l d person." "Well, I'm very r i c h , " he r e t u r n e d w i t h a world o f desperate  intention.  She f i x e d her eyes on the f l o o r , and he thought  i t probable  she was weighing  the reasons  i n favour o f r e s e n t i n g h i s so c a l c u l a t e d ness.  direct-  But a t l a s t l o o k i n g up, "How r i c h ? " she  simply a r t i c u l a t e d  (Amer., p. 197).  -80-  C h r i s t o p h e r Newman i s , u l t i m a t e l y , , n o t r i c h enough. The B e l l e g a r d e s cannot  countenance t h e e n t r y i n t o  their  a n c i e n t l i n e o f so raw and gauche a man, and so Newman i s doomed t o d e s p a i r and d i s i l l u s i o n m e n t .  The b r i b e , from the 12  B e l l e g a r d e s ' p o i n t o f view, i s not b i g enough.  What hap-  pens, James may have wondered, when the b r i b e i_s b i g enough; when, i n f a c t , i t i s boundless?  Such i s the case w i t h Adam  V e r v e r , who has not m i l l i o n s b u t b i l l i o n s . With h i s b l a n d assumptions,  fabulous wealth, and g e n i a l  c h i l d l i k e manner, Adam Verver i s James's most ambiguous port r a i t o f the American businessman.  F. O. M a t t h i e s s e n  d e t e c t s i n him a " l a c k o f c o n g r u i t y between the environment which would have produced  a c h a r a c t e r and the t r a i t s which 13  the author has imputed t o him." is  a self-made  In o t h e r words, a man who  m u l t i - b i l l i o n a i r e i n the hard world o f Ameri-  can b u s i n e s s i s not normally the k i n d o f person who would claim, with a resigned sigh, i n p r i v a t e l i f e ,  "He had f a t a l l y  stamped h i m s e l f — i t was h i s own f a u l t — a man who c o u l d be i n t e r r u p t e d w i t h impunity"  (Bowl, I , 127). Again and again  James claims f o r Adam q u a l i t i e s o f t r u s t , c h i l d l i k e good faith, utter sincerity.  Yet t h i s i s the same man who remem-  bers h i s years o f a c q u i s i t i o n thus:  "he had b e l i e v e d he  l i k e d transcendent c a l c u l a t i o n and i m a g i n a t i v e gambling a l l for  themselves,  the c r e a t i o n o f ' i n t e r e s t s ' t h a t were the  e x t i n c t i o n o f other i n t e r e s t s , the l i v i d v u l g a r i t y , even, of  g e t t i n g i n , o r g e t t i n g out, f i r s t "  (Bowl, I , 144). These  -81-  —the  r u t h l e s s i n s t i n c t s of a sharp d e a l e r — i l l  accord w i t h  the ingenuous t r a i t s James a t t r i b u t e s t o Adam i n p r i v a t e life.  Verver"s b u s i n e s s d e a l s were l e s s r e s p e c t a b l e than  those of C h r i s t o p h e r Newman and made him i n f i n i t e l y richer."'"' While Newman's o n l y f a u l t was  a k i n d of breezy  forthright-  n e s s — a n d i t o n l y seemed a f a u l t i n the s t i l t e d salons o f the P a r i s a r i s t o c r a c y — A d a m man;  Verver i s a much more complex  h i s f a u l t s l e s s obvious but more s e r i o u s . What Adam V e r v e r does, very simply, i s buy a handsome  I t a l i a n P r i n c e to be h i s daughter's  husband, and a b e a u t i f u l  young American woman t o be h i s w i f e .  Verver's  son-in-law  muses very e a r l y i n the n o v e l about what w i l l be of  him i n h i s new  r e l a t i o n s h i p , wondering "Who  l i o n a i r e c o u l d say what was (Bowl, I, 24). marriage to  expected  but a  f a i r exchange f o r a b i l l i o n ? "  The day has been spent w i t h lawyers  c o n t r a c t s , and here the P r i n c e may  be l i t e r a l l y naming h i s p r i c e .  might w e l l make one  bil-  be  and  understood  So a s t r o n o m i c a l a f i g u r e  uneasy!  The whole q u e s t i o n of equating money w i t h l o v i n g s e r v i c e s rendered i s extremely prominent i n the n o v e l , as i s the p e r v a s i v e theme of f u s i n g or c o n f u s i n g the a e s t h e t i c moral senses.  and  Adam has t h i s l a t t e r f a u l t i n abundance, and  James comments on i t when Adam i s c o n s i d e r i n g C h a r l o t t e ' s c o n t r i b u t i o n s t o the f a m i l y group b e f o r e t h e i r  marriage;  "Nothing perhaps might a f f e c t us as queerer, had we  time t o  look i n t o i t , than t h i s a p p l i c a t i o n of the same measure of  -82-  value t o such d i f f e r e n t p i e c e s o f p r o p e r t y as o l d P e r s i a n c a r p e t s , say, and new human a c q u i s i t i o n s . . . .  I t was a l l ,  at bottom, i n him, the a e s t h e t i c p r i n c i p l e p l a n t e d where i t c o u l d burn w i t h a c o l d s t i l l  flame"  (Bowl, I , 196-97).  Adam  thus a p p r a i s e s C h a r l o t t e , and s i m i l a r l y judges Amerigo: Representative  precious objects  a number o f years him  . . . had f o r  so m u l t i p l i e d themselves around  . . . t h a t t h e i n s t i n c t , the p a r t i c u l a r  sharpened a p p e t i t e o f the c o l l e c t o r , had f a i r l y served as a b a s i s f o r h i s acceptance o f the Prince's  suit.  Over and above the s i g n a l f a c t o f the impress i o n made on Maggie h e r s e l f , the a s p i r a n t t o h i s daughter's hand showed somehow the g r e a t marks and  s i g n s , stood before him with the high authen-  t i c i t i e s , he had l e a r n t t o look f o r i n p i e c e s o f the f i r s t order  (Bowl, I , 140).  I t i s , t h e r e f o r e , as o b j e t s d ' a r t t h a t C h a r l o t t e and Amerigo are added t o the Verver  collection.  Adam's a c q u i s i t i v e a e s t h e t i c i n s t i n c t i s j u s t one manif e s t a t i o n o f h i s c o n t r o l over t h e l i v e s of those who l i v e w i t h him.  When he wants a f i n e o b j e c t o r a f i n e person he  simply buys i t . Yet he pretends t h a t h i s v a s t f o r t u n e makes him no d i f f e r e n t from other men:  "His g r e a t e s t  inconvenience  f  -83-  he would have admitted had he analyzed, was i n f i n d i n g i t so taken f o r granted t h a t as he had money he had f o r c e . pressed upon him hard a l l around of power.  Everyone  assuredly, this  It  attribution  had need o f one's power, whereas one's  own need, a t the b e s t , would have seemed t o be but some t r i c k o f not communicating i t " s e l f - d e p r e c a t i n g nonsense.  (Bowl, I , 130-31).  Adam i s extremely  This i s  powerful  because everyone wants h i s money and must p l e a s e him i n order t o get and keep i t . Adam has the power and, moreover, he knows how t o w i e l d it.  B l a i r G. Kenney c a l l s him one o f James's "Grand O l d Men  of b u s i n e s s , the i r o n i c and complex f i g u r e s  . . . who have  made t h e i r money and now wish t o atone f o r the making. T h e i r enormous and r u t h l e s s e f f o r t seems t o have d r a i n e d them o f l i f e ,  so t h a t although . . . they show a g e n e r a l i z e d  k i n d l i n e s s , they are a l s o i n e f f e c t u a l i n human r e l a t i o n 15 ships."  Kenney's a n a l y s i s i n inadequate:  Adam o n l y seems  g e n t l e and i n e f f e c t u a l as l o n g as he i s p l e a s e d w i t h the course o f events and the manner i n which o t h e r s themselves.  conduct  When Adam i s d i s p l e a s e d , those same r u t h l e s s  i n s t i n c t s which won him h i s f o r t u n e reawaken. Adam's c r i s i s occurs d u r i n g t h a t l a s t summer the f o u r spend a t Fawns, h i s r e n t e d country-house.  By some means and  at some time not s p e c i f i e d t o the reader Adam l e a r n s o f the a d u l t e r o u s r e l a t i o n s h i p between h i s w i f e and h i s daughter's husband.  H i s drama i s presented o n l y through Maggie's v i s i o n  -84-  of h e r f a t h e r ' s t r o u b l e reliable narrator).  (and Maggie i s by no means a t o t a l l y  However, Adam appears t o be t a k i n g a  long time r e v i e w i n g h i s a l t e r n a t i v e s :  "the l i t t l e medita-  t i v e man i n the straw h a t kept coming i n t o view w i t h h i s i n d e s c r i b a b l e a i r o f weaving h i s s p e l l , weaving i t o f f t h e r e by h i m s e l f .  In whatever q u a r t e r o f the h o r i z o n the  appearances were scanned he was t o be n o t i c e d as absorbed i n t h i s o c c u p a t i o n " (Bowl, I I , 284). Once he has d e c i d e d what t o do about h i s s t r a y i n g w i f e and the danger she poses to h i s daughter's happiness, Adam begins t o grow more and more s i n i s t e r .  Maggie looks a t him and imagines t h a t he  says t o her ( t h e i r i n t u i t i o n s b e i n g so p e r f e c t l y attuned t o one  another): "Yes, you s e e — I l e a d  jcharlottej  now by the neck,  I l e a d h e r t o her doom, and she doesn't so much as know what i t i s , though she has a f e a r i n h e r h e a r t which, i f you had the chances t o apply your ear there t h a t I , as a husband, have, you would hear i t thump and thump and thump.  She t h i n k s i t  may be, her doom, the awful p l a c e over t h e r e — awful f o r her, but she's a f r a i d t o ask, don't.you see?  j u s t as she's a f r a i d o f not asking; j u s t as  she's a f r a i d o f so many o t h e r t h i n g s t h a t she sees m u l t i p l i e d a l l about h e r now as p e r i l s and portents"  (Bowl, I I , 287-88).  -85-  Such smug i n f e r n a l g l e e and cold-blooded l o t t e ' s t e r r o r show how l i t t l e reference  a p p r a i s a l o f Char-  she means t o Adam; the s e x u a l  i s a p p a l l i n g (given i t s c o n t e x t ) .  thoroughly  Adam i s a  d i s i l l u s i o n e d man, but one cannot p i t y him  because he seems r e p r e h e n s i b l e  i n the d e l i g h t he takes i n  f o r c i n g C h a r l o t t e t o do h i s w i l l . * ' 1  Adam does what i s necessary when he takes C h a r l o t t e t o his  museum a t American C i t y ; he breaks up the e t e r n a l quad-  rangle. gie,  He does so only a t g r e a t c o s t t o h i m s e l f and Mag-  f o r they w i l l never meet again, and h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p 17  with Maggie was the most important t h i n g i n h i s  life.  American C i t y w i l l be e x i l e f o r him as w e l l as f o r C h a r l o t t e , but a t l e a s t he has the l u x u r y o f choosing conclusion—the  it.  breakup o f the q u a d r a n g l e - - i s  The novel's probably the  most c h i l l i n g and comprehensive r e n u n c i a t i o n scene i n a l l the James canon.  Everyone has l o s t something v i t a l , and  what each has salvaged  i s very q u a l i f i e d , indeed.  As f o r  Adam, the power o f h i s money as a b r i b e o r temptation far  went  t o cause the i n i t i a l t r o u b l e , but i t was a l s o e f f i c a 18  c i o u s i n ending i t .  I f , as so many c r i t i c s c l a i m ,  " l o v e " which r e s t o r e s order  a t the novel's  i ti s  conclusion,  r e t u r n i n g t o Maggie her husband and t o Adam h i s w i f e , i t i s love o f Adam's money.  Greed f o r a share i n Adam's  f o r t u n e i s u l t i m a t e l y s u f f i c i e n t t o ensure decorous on the p a r t o f the s t r a y i n g spouses.  fabulous behavior  -86-  The Golden Bowl r e v e a l s Adam Verver t o be a man a s t u t e in  economic matters but h o p e l e s s l y naive i n p r i v a t e l i f e .  He p r e f e r s t o enjoy  life  i n a vague, easy-going,  and benevo-  l e n t manner, b u t , when d r i v e n t o the w a l l , i s capable o f v i c i o u s and s k i l l f u l r e t a l i a t i o n . a e s t h e t i c questions  and n e g l e c t o f human ones makes him  detached, o t h e r - w o r l d l y . portrait  His t o t a l absorption i n  He i s not a c o n v i n c i n g o r r e a l i s t i c  o f the American businessman.  In h i s u n f i n i s h e d n o v e l , The Ivory Tower, James f i n a l l y and u n e q u i v o c a l l y admits t h a t money cannot buy happiness o r love o r even the i l l u s i o n s o f having them.  Furthermore, the  mere f a c t o f p o s s e s s i n g an enormous f o r t u n e i s demonstrably wearing on the human s p i r i t .  In The Ivory Tower money i s  l i t e r a l l y a legacy o f unhappiness.  Two o f the American b u s i -  nessmen i n the n o v e l , Abel Gaw and Horton V i n t , are t h e l o g i c a l products  o f a s o c i e t y i n which money i s the only god.  While Adam Verver  i s ambiguous and s i n i s t e r , there i s  n o t h i n g a t a l l ambiguous about Abel Gaw. c a t u r e , and B l a i r G. Kenney i s r i g h t "the man who i s l i t e r a l l y  He i s a. mere c a r i -  i n c l a s s i f y i n g him as  i d e n t i f i e d w i t h h i s money t o the 19  p o i n t t h a t he e x i s t s only i n r e l a t i o n  to i t . "  Gaw i s  s i n i s t e r too, but when we meet him he i s so shrunken, o l d , and  f r a g i l e t h a t he no longer w i e l d s the power o f h i s money  ( l i k e Adam Verver d i d , f o r example). portrait  of a m i l l i o n a i r e ,  But as James's l a s t  Abel Gaw i s e n l i g h t e n i n g .  He  has become monomaniacal about h i s money o r , r a t h e r , about  -87-  his  f i n a n c i a l r i v a l r y w i t h Mr. Betterman, h i s e r s t w h i l e  f r i e n d and business p a r t n e r . i s dying and Gaw i s perched  As the n o v e l opens, Betterman l i k e a v u l t u r e on Betterman's  verandah l o n g i n g f o r t h a t death.  Gaw p a s s i o n a t e l y wants t o  know how much money Betterman has bequeathed i n h i s w i l l so t h a t he can more a c c u r a t e l y c a l c u l a t e how much Betterman swindled  from him before the d i s s o l u t i o n o f t h e i r  association.  former  The n o v e l b e g i n s , then, w i t h a hard,  dry-eyed  look a t money; how i t can be accumulated and how a love o f i t can breed c o r r u p t i o n i n the human s p i r i t . Gaw's daughter Rosanna b e l i e v e s t h a t h i s money has destroyed him.  She e l a b o r a t e s :  "Having t o do w i t h i t con-  s i s t s , you know, o f the t h i n g s you do f o r i t — w h i c h are mostly very awful; and t h e r e a r e a l l kinds o f consequences t h a t they e v e n t u a l l y have. for  You pay by these consequences  what you have done, and my f a t h e r has been f o r a long  time paying.  . . .  The e f f e c t has been t o dry up h i s  20 life." d r i e d up.  Gaw c e r t a i n l y i s presented as a man whose l i f e has A c c o r d i n g t o most outward m a n i f e s t a t i o n s he seems  a l r e a d y dead: he any inward  he i s wizened, grim, y e l l o w , s i l e n t . life  at a l l .  H i s mental landscape  Nor has  is a l l  monomania about the a n c i e n t feud w i t h Betterman r e l i e v e d by a s i n g l e patch o f c o l o u r :  Gaw l o v e s , a f t e r h i s inadequate  f a s h i o n , h i s huge, u n g a i n l y daughter Rosanna: . . . i t had come t o him t h a t she r e p r e s e n t e d q u a n t i t y and mass, t h a t there was a g r e a t d e a l  -88-  of her, so t h a t she would have pressed down even a balance  appointed  to weigh b u l l i o n ; and  there was  n o t h i n g he was  fonder of than  as  such  a t t e s t a t i o n s of v a l u e , he had r e a l l y ended by drawing c l o s e r t o her  • . . and by f i n d i n g coun-  tenance i n the breadth of p e r s o n a l and shadow t h a t she p r o j e c t e d Gaw The  i s a very o l d man  (Tower, p. 9).  whose mind t u r n s on money, but  Ivory Tower a l s o p r o v i d e s a glimpse  p a r t i n Horton V i n t . planned  of a younger  counter-  In h i s p o r t r a i t of the l a t t e r James  t o show e x a c t l y what one  tune, planned  social  d i d to gain a large f o r -  to demonstrate the t r u t h of Rosanna"s seemingly 21  extravagant  and n e a r - h y s t e r i c a l d e n u n c i a t i o n of money.  Horton V i n t i s , above a l l ,  a clear-headed  knows e x a c t l y what he wants and it.  He  i s d i r e c t i n h i s p u r s u i t of  Near the beginning o f the n o v e l , f o r example, Rosanna  r e f l e c t s on how  he once u n s u c c e s s f u l l y proposed marriage t o  her, knowing she was 58).  businessman.  her f a t h e r ' s o n l y h e i r  (Tower, pp.  55-  L i t t l e daunted, V i n t goes on to i n g r a t i a t e h i m s e l f  w i t h a much more credulous v i c t i m , Gray F i e l d e r , the t u a l h e i r to Betterman's f o r t u n e . Gray and Horton  I r o n i e s accumulate, f o r  ("Haughty") V i n t had been boyhood f r i e n d s ,  had h i k e d i n the Oberland, another's  ineffec-  l i v e s i n two  had on the same day  saved  successive climbing accidents.  one  -89-  In the p r o j e c t e d n o v e l , Horton V i n t gains power of a t t o r n e y over Gray F i e l d e r ' s f o r t u n e :  "Gray f a l l s i n t o the  p o s i t i o n , under a f e e l i n g insurmountably d i r e c t i n g him, o f s i g n i n g anything, e v e r y t h i n g , t h a t Horton b r i n g s to him f o r the p u r p o s e — b u t  o n l y what Horton b r i n g s "  Horton begins t o have money of h i s own  (Tower, p.  312).  from mysterious  sources; i t becomes apparent t h a t he i s s w i n d l i n g h i s o l d friend. Haul"  F i n a l l y , i n what James l i t e r a l l y  calls  "The B i g  (Tower, p. 34 3), V i n t l i e s t o Gray, c l a i m i n g t o have  l o s t Gray's f o r t u n e through investments i n which he, V i n t , was  swindled by unscrupulous  (unspecified) f i n a n c i a l  advisors.  Gray t a c i t l y permits t h i s crime, i s r e l i e v e d t o be r i d of the money, r e f u s e s t o q u e s t i o n V i n t , and even l i e s t o o t h e r s to save V i n t ' s good name. Thus Betterman's  legacy has brought b i t t e r knowledge to  Gray F i e l d e r , and has a l s o been the o c c a s i o n of V i n t ' s showi n g of what d e s p i c a b l e d e c e i t s he i s capable.  Betterman  gained the f o r t u n e i n i t i a l l y by s w i n d l i n g Gaw,  and  had  that  crime i s d u p l i c a t e d when the t a i n t e d money becomes Gray's inheritance. a man  James c l e a r l y d e s p i s e s V i n t and c o n s i d e r s him  of no honour.  Love of money has made him what he i s ,  d r i e d up every v i r t u e he may  once have had.  He i s thus no  d i f f e r e n t m o r a l l y from the unregenerate Abel Gaw.  Ruthless  i n s t i n c t s begotten i n the hard b u s i n e s s world have overwhelmed a l l more generous  impulses he may  once have possessed.  -90-  James's businessmen thus i l l u s t r a t e James's deepening d i s t r u s t of b i g b u s i n e s s and new his career. ceeded by men and  money over the l e n g t h of  Breezy, l i k e a b l e C h r i s t o p h e r Newman i s sucl i k e Adam Verver, whose money r e p r e s e n t s  sometimes s i n i s t e r power.  U l t i m a t e l y i n The  real  Ivory Tower  (with i t s added emphasis of a l l l a s t t h i n g s ) , James shows t h a t the American businessman i s u t t e r l y contemptible, maniacal  i n h i s p u r s u i t of the Yankee d o l l a r ,  roughshod over anyone who  gets i n h i s way.  mono-  climbing  Because of h i s  unassuageable greed he i s not happy, and he b r i n g s  misery  to others as w e l l . A l a s t group of men  p o r t r a y e d i n the f i c t i o n are q u i t e  as unhappy as the businessmen and o p p o r t u n i s t s but a  signifi-  cant e x c e p t i o n to the g e n e r a l i z a t i o n t h a t James's men  are  l e s s i n t e r e s t i n g , l e s s worthy, l e s s h i g h - p r i n c i p l e d than h i s women. dors .  Such an e x c e p t i o n i s Lambert S t r e t h e r of The He  i s the most remarkable of a group comprising  male c h a r a c t e r s as Ralph Touchett who  Ambassasuch  and Rowland M a l l e t t , and  have i n common t r a i t s of benevolence and an i n t e r e s t i n  the l i v e s of o t h e r s so i n t e n s e t h a t i t v i r t u a l l y amounts to l i v i n g v i c a r i o u s l y through them.  These c h a r a c t e r s are diam-  m e t r i c a l l y opposed to the o p p o r t u n i s t f i g u r e s l i k e Osmond and P r i n c e Amerigo, f o r they a c t u a l l y renounce the  glittering  o p p o r t u n i t i e s which seem to l i e almost w i t h i n t h e i r S t r e t h e r i s the most impressive of these f i g u r e s and  grasp. will  -91-  serve t o i l l u s t r a t e the p a r t i c u l a r k i n d of i n h e r e n t i n the l i v e s of such men  unhappiness  i n James's f i c t i o n .  S t r e t h e r begins h i s adventure i n P a r i s f u l l of the vaguely uneasy awareness t h a t he has never b e f o r e so r e l a x e d , enjoyed l i f e ,  taken i n such d e l i g h t f u l i m p r e s s i o n s , met  d a z z l i n g and i n t e r e s t i n g people. did  such  Such experiences simply  not b e f a l l him i n c u l t u r a l l y disadvantaged W o o l l e t t ,  Massachusetts, where he has h e r e t o f o r e spent h i s u n e v e n t f u l life  as the e d i t o r o f a modest l i t e r a r y review and where,  l a t e l y , he has begun a d i s c r e e t c o u r t s h i p of the mature, austere widow who  v i r t u a l l y owns the town.  has wasted h i s l i f e ,  The i d e a t h a t he  t h a t the v i s i o n has come but a l l too  l a t e f o r him a t f i f t y - f i v e grows i n him and reaches i t s f u l l e x p r e s s i o n i n h i s impassioned  speech t o L i t t l e  Bilham  22 at  G l o r i a n i ' s garden p a r t y . S t r e t h e r seeks t o ease h i s p e r s o n a l disappointment by  immersing  h i m s e l f s y m p a t h e t i c a l l y i n the concerns of o t h e r s  — m o s t e s p e c i a l l y i n those o f Chad. which he draws immense comfort: attachment"  He has a f i x e d i d e a from  t h a t i s i n the " v i r t u o u s  o f Chad and Madame de V i o n n e t .  S t r e t h e r sees  great improvements i n Chad and b e l i e v e s they are a l l a t t r i b u t a b l e t o the i n f l u e n c e of t h i s c u l t u r e d , a r i s t o c r a t i c enne.  Parisi-  Chad's f r i e n d s i n P a r i s t a c i t l y j o i n i n a c h a r i t a b l e  c o n s p i r a c y to r e i n f o r c e S t r e t h e r " s fond i l l u s i o n t h a t the relationship i s platonic.  For a time S t r e t h e r ' s  fostered  ignorance i s the b a s i s of h i s e n t h u s i a s t i c response to P a r i s .  -92-  In a c t u a l f a c t he i s f a l l i n g i n l o v e w i t h P a r i s and w i t h Marie de Vionnet. The reader p i t i e s S t r e t h e r f o r the narrowness o f h i s p a s t experience, and r e j o i c e s i n h i s modest f l i g h t s o f i m a g i n a t i o n i n France.  T h i s i s why the scene a t the r i v e r  i s so p o w e r f u l , and why the shock and i t s aftermath f o r S t r e t h e r are so moving.  S t r e t h e r has been having a h o l i d a y ,  roaming q u i t e alone i n the French c o u n t r y s i d e and r e j o i c i n g i n the s e n s a t i o n t h a t he i s l i v i n g i n s i d e the frame o f a sundappled p i c t u r e by Lambinet t h a t he had once longed t o buy years ago i n Boston  (Ambass., I I , 245 f f . ) .  He had been  unable t o buy the p i c t u r e f o r i t was too expensive, but he never f o r g o t i t .  And now e v e r y t h i n g on t h i s day o f days con-  t r i b u t e s t o h i s innocent p l e a s u r e , from the absurd  feeling  he has on a l i g h t i n g from the t r a i n a b s o l u t e l y a t whim ("the t r a i n p u l l e d up j u s t a t the r i g h t spot, and he found h i m s e l f g e t t i n g out as s e c u r e l y as i f t o keep an appointment"  [Ambass.,  I I , 246]), t o h i s d e l i g h t i n the c o m p o s i t i o n a l q u a l i t i e s o f the l i g h t s , shadows, and c o l o u r s around him. S t i l l i n t h i s e x a l t e d , a e s t h e t i c s t a t e o f mind he t u r n s h i s a t t e n t i o n t o the r i v e r : What he saw was e x a c t l y the r i g h t t h i n g — a boat advancing  round the bend and c o n t a i n i n g a man who  h e l d the paddles and a l a d y , a t the s t e r n , w i t h a pink p a r a s o l .  I t was suddenly  as i f these  figures,  -93-  or something  l i k e them, had been wanted i n the  p i c t u r e , had been wanted more o r l e s s a l l day, and had now d r i f t e d i n t o s i g h t , w i t h the slow c u r r e n t , on purpose  to f i l l  up the measure  (Ambass., I I , 256). These are t h e two people w i t h whom f a t e has decreed S t r e t h e r has an appointment,  that  f o r they are the very two who  can d e s t r o y h i s i l l u s i o n s and h i s happiness merely by d r i f t i n g i n t o view. The couple on t h e r i v e r are Chad and Marie de Vionnet. T h e i r circumstances make i t apparent, even t o innocent S t r e t h e r , t h a t they i n t e n d t o spend s e v e r a l days i n t h e country t o g e t h e r .  A l l t h r e e c h a t t e r t o cover t h e i r confu-  s i o n and S t r e t h e r maintains h i s composure u n t i l much l a t e r t h a t n i g h t when he i s a t l a s t alone i n h i s h o t e l room. Then he f i n a l l y  faces a l l t h e i m p l i c a t i o n s o f what he has  seen and f a c e s , most o f a l l ,  h i s own i s o l a t i o n , musing  "There was the element o f the awkward a l l round, b u t Chad and Madame de Vionnet had a t l e a s t the comfort t h a t they c o u l d t a l k i t over t o g e t h e r .  With whom c o u l d he t a l k o f  such t h i n g s ? " (Ambass., I I , 266). S t r e t h e r embraces t h i s sense o f i s o l a t i o n as i f i t were no more than he deserves. was  He f e e l s he has been a f o o l .  ("He  mixed up w i t h the t y p i c a l t a l e o f P a r i s " QVmbass., I I ,  27lJ.)  H i s gnawing American moral sense begins t o work i n  -94-  him and he r e a l i z e s he must g i v e up P a r i s , g i v e up a l l h i s e x c i t i n g f r i e n d s , r e t u r n t o d u l l W o o l l e t t and take up h i s l i f e there.  He embarks on a s e r i e s o f p a i n f u l l e a v e - t a k i n g s .  Madame de Vionnet seems t o him p i t i f u l ,  f r a g i l e , doomed.  Chad has a new swagger and seems sure t o d e s e r t Marie f o r a d v e r t i s i n g ventures i n W o o l l e t t .  In h i s l a s t i n t e r v i e w  w i t h M a r i a Gostrey S t r e t h e r makes the c l e a r e s t statement o f his renunciation. her "To be r i g h t .  He says he i s l e a v i n g P a r i s and l e a v i n g . . .  That, you see, i s my o n l y l o g i c .  Not, out o f the whole a f f a i r , t o have got anything f o r myself"  (Ambass., I I , 236). The cosy l i f e S t r e t h e r might have l i v e d w i t h Maria Gos-  t r e y and her D e l f t was not r e a l l y the temptation i t might seem.  M a r i a was comfortable and e n d l e s s l y  but only Marie de Vionnet enchanted  understanding,  Strether.  He c o u l d not  compromise h i s i d e a l by marrying a l e s s e r woman.  On the  o t h e r hand, Marie was now f o r him a flawed i d e a l , and S t r e t h e r c o u l d not s t e a d i l y contemplate  e i t h e r t h a t f a c t nor Marie's  impending b e t r a y a l by Chad and her d i s i n t e g r a t i o n sure t o f o l l o w upon i t .  G a l l a n t and humane t o the l a s t , S t r e t h e r  does what he c a n — r e a s s u r i n g Marie o f h i s r e g a r d f o r her ("You're wonderful!"  [*Ambass. , I I , 388]), t r y i n g t o i n f l u e n c e  Chad t o s t a y w i t h her, and b r e a k i n g g e n t l y w i t h Maria  Gostrey.  The r e a l temptation f o r S t r e t h e r i s not t o marry M a r i a Gost r e y , but t o shut h i s eyes t o t h e c o l d moral i m p l i c a t i o n s of Chad's s i t u a t i o n and t o stay on i n P a r i s e a t i n g l o t o s e s forever.  -95-  U n l i k e such g r a s p i n g e g o c e n t r i c c h a r a c t e r s as Osmond and P r i n c e Amerigo, S t r e t h e r charms by the u t t e r modesty of h i s requirements from l i f e . p l e a s e d so e a s i l y . is  He asks so l i t t l e  and i s  His d e l i g h t i n h i s impressions  of P a r i s  i n t e n s e , c h i l d l i k e and b i t t e r s w e e t with i t s constant  r e f r a i n of "Too  late!"  Nor,  f o r a time, does i t r e a l l y  seem to be too l a t e f o r S t r e t h e r ; i n f a c t P a r i s seems to f u n c t i o n f o r him Maria  as a f o u n t a i n of youth.  He  remarks to  Gostrey: "I  don't get drunk; I don't pursue the  ladies;  I don't spend money; I don't even w r i t e But n e v e r t h e l e s s  I'm  d i d n ' t have e a r l y . fit my one  i n my  own  way  making up l a t e f o r what I I c u l t i v a t e my  . . . i t ' s my  t r i b u t e , to youth. c a n - - i t has  sonnets.  One  little  bene-  surrender, i t ' s  puts t h a t i n where  to come i n somewhere, i f o n l y  out o f the l i v e s , the c o n d i t i o n s , the f e e l i n g s of o t h e r persons"  (Ambass., I I , 50-51).  Since h i s happiness i s based on h i s i l l u s i o n s about Chad Madame de Vionnet, utterly.  and  h i s enlightenment about them d e s t r o y s i t  His knowledge makes i t i m p o s s i b l e  to s t a y on i n  P a r i s and h i s r e n u n c i a t i o n i s i t s n a t u r a l consequence. S t r e t h e r ' s d i s i l l u s i o n m e n t makes a g r e a t d i f f e r e n c e i n his life  life  s i n c e i t compels him  at W o o l l e t t .  The  to r e t u r n to the s t e r i l i t y  unhappiness experienced  by James's  of  -96-  other male c h a r a c t e r s i s not as overwhelming.  A l s o , because  few of the other male c h a r a c t e r s are as engaging as S t r e t h e r , the reader does not sympathize w i t h t h e i r sorrows to the degree p o s s i b l e w i t h S t r e t h e r and the female c h a r a c t e r s . The American businessmen tend to be g r a s p i n g , narrow-minded and obsessed w i t h t h e i r money and power. i s the only example of such a man o t h er s have untenable standards  who  C h r i s t o p h e r Newman  i s admirable.  A l l the  of values which make them  unsympathetic c h a r a c t e r s :  Adam Verver  confuses  a e s t h e t i c v a l u e s ; Abel Gaw  i s u t t e r l y one  moral  and  dimensional  in his  monomaniacal regard f o r money; and Horton V i n t does not h e s i t a t e t o p e r p e t r a t e enormous frauds a g a i n s t an o l d to g a i n h i s f o r t u n e .  friend  Thus the v a r i o u s disappointments of  such men--for example, t h e i r sorrow a t the d i s c o v e r y t h a t money cannot buy reader.  love--evoke l i t t l e  Similarly  compassion from the  such o p p o r t u n i s t s as P r i n c e Amerigo  G i l b e r t Osmond cause more p a i n than they themselves  suffer.  James's c h i e f o b s e r v a t i o n about the l i v e s of such seems to be t h a t they are empty and meaningless.  and  men  They are  doomed to t h e i r v a r i o u s disappointments because of i n n e r promptings, l a c k of v i s i o n , and u n r e a l i s t i c g o a l s .  Their  l i v e s are s t e r i l e i n ways t h a t the women's l i v e s are James's women are t y p i c a l l y i n t e n s e , e f f u s i v e , sympathetic w h i l e h i s men taciturn.  are i n d o l e n t and  not.  v i b r a n t , and  comparatively  S t r e t h e r i s l i k e a b l e because he has  those  t i e s more commonly a s s o c i a t e d w i t h James's women:  quali-  a ready  -97-  sympathy, a l i v e l y i m a g i n a t i o n , and the a b i l i t y h i m s e l f whole-heartedly  i n t o experience.  to throw  I t might  ably be s a i d t h a t S t r e t h e r ' s i s a feminine  justifi-  consciousness.  However, the p o s s e s s i o n of a feminine consciousness i s no guarantee unhappiness. ing  of happiness  and,  indeed, tends t o produce  Such a person wrings more s e n s a t i o n and  feel-  out of d a i l y experience than does an o r d i n a r y person.  He f e e l s t h i n g s more keenly and s u f f e r s more i n t e n s e l y . Such i s the case w i t h S t r e t h e r and w i t h the female c h a r a c t e r s . But whichever type of consciousness James's c h a r a c t e r s poss e s s , whether austere and r e s e r v e d or open and  impression-  a b l e , most of them f a i l t o make anything of l a s t i n g v a l u e from t h e i r experiences; they can o n l y s u f f e r and Only James's a r t i s t f i g u r e s succeed they transmute everyday —into  triumphant a r t .  submit.  i n l i f e because o n l y  experience—even  painful  experience  -93-  Notes t o Chapter  Two  ''"Dorothea Krook, pp. 296-99, c a l l s t h i s  incontrovertible  evidence t h a t the r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h C h a r l o t t e was  "lust"  not  love. 2 Merle's e x t e n u a t i n g c i r c u m s t a n c e s — h e r concern f o r Pansy i s not r e l e v a n t here.  The p o i n t i s t h a t Merle knew  I s a b e l would be unhappy w i t h Osmond but d i d not c a r e .  Fanny  thought o n l y of her proteges' happiness. 3 Cf. Oscar C a r g i l l , The Novels of Henry James, pp. J . A. Ward, The Imagination of D i s a s t e r ; of Henry James ( L i n c o l n :  86-88;  E v i l i n the F i c t i o n  Univ. of Nebraska  Press,  1961),  pp. 51-53; and L y a l l H. Powers, "The P o r t r a i t o f a Lady," NCF,  14  (1959), r p t . i n Henry James's Major Novels:  i n C r i t i c i s m , ed. L y a l l H. Powers (East L a n s i n g : S t a t e Univ. P r e s s , 1973), pp.  5  p.  Michigan  76-78.  ^Charles Thomas Samuels, The Ambiguity (Urbana:  Essays  of Henry James  Univ. of I l l i n o i s P r e s s , 1971), pp. 109-12.  C f . a l s o Ross L a b r i e , " M o r a l i t y o f Consciousness," 417.  -99-  b  Manfred Mackenzie, " I r o n i c Melodrama i n The P o r t r a i t o f  a Lady," MFS,  12  (Spring, 1966), r p t . i n Twentieth Century  I n t e r p r e t a t i o n s o f "The P o r t r a i t o f a Lady": of C r i t i c a l Essays, ed. Peter B u i t e n h u i s N. J . :  A Collection  (Englewood  Cliffs,  P r e n t i c e - H a l l , 1968), pp. 84-90.  7 Cf. Dorothy Van Ghent, "From The E n g l i s h N o v e l : and F u n c t i o n "  (New York:  Form  H o l t , R i n e h a r t , Winston, 1953),  r p t . i n P e r s p e c t i v e s on "The P o r t r a i t o f a Lady," ed. W i l l i a m T. S t a f f o r d  (New York:  New  York Univ. P r e s s , 1967), p.  128.  Dorothea Krook, The O r d e a l of Consciousness, p. 51. 9 I b i d . , p. 52. 10  Henry  James, The American  Sons, 1907), pp. 123-24-  (New York:  Charles Scribner's  A l l f u r t h e r r e f e r e n c e s are t o t h i s  e d i t i o n of the n o v e l and w i l l be i n c l u d e d i n the t e x t . F . 0. M a t t h i e s s e n , Henry James:  1 1  York:  The Major Phase  (New  Oxford Univ. P r e s s , 1963), p. 88.  12 James u l t i m a t e l y came t o t h i n k i t an " a f f r o n t to v e r i s i m i l i t u d e " t h a t he d i d not p o r t r a y such a v a r i c i o u s c r e a t u r e s as the B e l l e g a r d e s as e n t h u s i a s t i c a l l y s e i z i n g any s t r a y American. 1 3  rich,  C f . "Preface t o The American," p. x i x - x x i .  F . 0. M a t t h i e s s e n , The Major Phase, p. 90.  -100-  14  Jan W.  D i e t r i c h s o n , "Part I I :  The Image o f Money i n the  Works of Henry James," i n The Image o f Money i n the American Novel of the G i l d e d Age York:  (Oslo:  U n i v e r s i t e t s f o r l g e t , and  New  Humanities P r e s s , 1969), pp. 87-88.  15 B l a i r G. Kenney, "Henry James's Businessmen,"  Colby  L i b r a r y Quart., 9 (March, 1970), 49. "^Cf. C a r o l i n e Gordon, p. 44.  Her " a r c h e t y p a l " r e a d i n g of  the s i l k e n h a l t e r scene, w i t h C h a r l o t t e as "harpy" and Adam as S t . George i s not t e n a b l e .  "Mr. Verver,.Our N a t i o n a l  Hero," Sewanee Review, 63 (1955). 17 Samuels, The Ambiguity o f Henry James, pp. 220-22, does not r e a l l y make a case f o r Adam's being t r u l y i n t e r e s t e d i n Charlotte. 18 C a r o l i n e Gordon, Dorothea Krook, Munro B e a t t i e , e t c . 19 B l a i r G. Kenney, "Henry James's Businessmen," p. 49. 20 Henry James, The Ivory Tower (New York: ner's Sons, 1917), p. 141.  Charles S c r i b -  A l l f u r t h e r r e f e r e n c e s are to  t h i s e d i t i o n of the novel and w i l l be i n c l u d e d i n the t e x t . 21 The n o v e l was u n f i n i s h e d , but James's notes f o r i t s u r v i v e and are p u b l i s h e d , along w i t h the incomplete n o v e l , i n the New  York E d i t i o n , V o l . 25.  -101-  Henry James, The Ambassadors, S c r i b n e r ' s Sons, 1909), I , 217-18. are  2 vols.  (New York:  A l l further  references  t o t h i s e d i t i o n o f the novel and w i l l be i n c l u d e d  text.  Charles  i n the  -102-  Chapter Three The A r t i s t i n the James was was  convinced  the most v a l i d one,  Fiction  t h a t the a r t i s t ' s response to i n the sense t h a t i t transforms  nary and even p a i n f u l experience  i n t o serene,  T h i s i s t r u e f u l f i l m e n t and happiness, sort that l a s t s .  ordi-  eternal art.  f o r i t i s the  only  James's women seek happiness i n marriage,  but f i n d i t a t r a p ; they  seek to f u l f i l themselves as wives  but d i s c o v e r t h a t they must a c t u a l l y s a c r i f i c e t h e i r viduality.  life  James's men  are g e n e r a l l y more m a t e r i a l i s t i c .  They seek the luxury and ease t h a t the p o s s e s s i o n f o r t u n e makes p o s s i b l e .  indi-  of a g r e a t  Each l e a r n s t h a t money cannot  e v e r y t h i n g — n e i t h e r happiness nor l o v e , f o r example. James sees i t , t r u e happiness can only be achieved the c r e a t i o n of a r t .  buy As  through  Only the a r t i s t can be t r u l y happy,  and i n order t o a t t a i n t o t h a t e l u s i v e s t a t e , he must do the very b e s t work of which he i s capable. But the i d e a l c o n d i t i o n s under which the a r t i s t produces his is  best work are not e a s i l y secured. fraught with p e r i l s .  and,  Ordinary  The  l i f e of the  l i f e i s a mindless  artist  flux,  i f the a r t i s t i s to impose order on t h i s chaos, he must  i s o l a t e h i m s e l f from o r d i n a r y e x p e r i e n c e . h i m s e l f wholly  to a r t as an i d e a l .  He must commit  Yet the a r t i s t must  l i v e i n the r e a l world, and thus the c o n f l i c t  arises.  James's a r t i s t s are c o n t i n u a l l y t o r n by the demands made  -103-  upon them by t h e i r a r t and those made by l i f e ; in  some p e r i s h  the s t r u g g l e . The demands made on the a r t i s t by what one can l o o s e l y  term " L i f e " are of s e v e r a l k i n d s , and always presented as p e r s u a s i v e appeals t o him t o s t e a l some time from h i s e a s e l or  h i s desk.  The most common d i s t r a c t i o n s e x p e r i e n c e d by  James's a r t i s t s , the f o r c e s which l u r e them away from the s t u d i o or desk, or which tempt them t o produce  l e s s than  t h e i r very b e s t work are those which b e d e v i l n o n - a r t i s t s as well.  They f a l l  i n l o v e and are wracked by doubts as t o  whether the beloved r e t u r n s t h e i r a f f e c t i o n ; they marry and have wives and c h i l d r e n f o r whom p r o v i s i o n must be made; they must make money; and they must accept or evade the demands o f t h e i r p u b l i c , must contend w i t h those who to  meet them, who  want t o study greatness at f i r s t hand f o r  s e r i o u s or f r i v o l o u s reasons. in  A l l of these are v o r a c i o u s  t h e i r demands upon the a r t i s t ' s time and energy;  can overwhelm the consciousness and sap the of  want  a l l but the most wary a r t i s t .  they  creativity  The a r t i s t must make  c h o i c e s and s a c r i f i c e s , f o r some of these t h i n g s have g r e a t i n t r i n s i c worth; of  some l i t t l e  or none.  Outright rejection  the values of l o v e and marriage, f o r example, may  well  d i m i n i s h the a r t i s t as a person, but t o embrace them without thought of h i s work may  be d i s a s t r o u s .  lems which i n t e r e s t James.  These are the prob-  -104-  Roderick Hudson was  J a m e s ' s . f i r s t novel length t r e a t -  ment o f the problems o f the a r t i s t as he i s t o r n by demands of l i f e and a r t .  the  Roderick's problems are t w o f o l d .  F i r s t of a l l , he has the p r i v a t e demon o f a r e c u r r e n t f e a r t h a t h i s t a l e n t w i l l run dry. monition of  and time proves  T h i s f e a r i s l i k e a grim p r e -  i t justified.  1  However, the theme  the p r i v a t e s t r u g g l e of the a r t i s t w i t h h i s muse i s out-  s i d e the scope of t h i s study, and i s taken up again by James i n such d i v e r s e works as "The "The  Real  Madonna of the Future"  Thing."  Roderick's self-discipline.  other and more s e r i o u s problem i s a l a c k o f Thus even w h i l e h i s p e r i o d of a r t i s t i c  f e r t i l i t y l a s t s , he cannot d r i v e h i m s e l f to work as should.  and  he  He i s consumed by a p a s s i o n f o r the complex and  beautiful Christina Light.  She  i s a m u l t i f a c e t e d woman  whose nature i s so complicated t h a t i t c o n s t i t u t e s something of  an a r t i s t i c flaw i n a n o v e l t h a t i s otherwise  romance w i t h s t e r e o t y p e d c h a r a c t e r s  a stock  (The B y r o n i c Hero,  S e n s i b l e F r i e n d , The P l a i n But V i r t u o u s T r u e l o v e ,  The  etc.).  The n o v e l would have been more coherent had James been cont e n t to p o r t r a y C h r i s t i n a as e i t h e r a c y n i c a l , p r o f e s s i o n a l h e a r t b r e a k e r or a coarse and w o r t h l e s s c r e a t u r e i d e a l i z e d and worshipped t o h i s damnation.  Roderick  As i t i s ,  C h r i s t i n a seems legendary, and w e l l worth what she c o s t s 2 Roderick.  -105-  Roderick l o v e s C h r i s t i n a L i g h t and f o l l o w s her everywhere.  She i s l i k e an o b s e s s i o n , and the thought of her  d r i v e s a l l o t h e r s from h i s head.  Leon E d e l observes:  Roderick allows h i s t e r r i b l e p a s s i o n t o d e s t r o y his art.  One  of James's o t h e r heroes had won-  dered "whether i t i s b e t t e r t o c u l t i v a t e an a r t than t o c u l t i v a t e a p a s s i o n . "  The  possibility  o f both i s excluded from the Jamesian  world.  Roderick Hudson i s the s t o r y of an a r t i s t  who  3 c u l t i v a t e d a passion. I m p l i c i t i n such statements  i s the i d e a t h a t Roderick  origi-  n a l l y had a c h o i c e , t h a t he c o u l d have chosen not t o f a l l i n love w i t h C h r i s t i n a .  However, Roderick's temperament i s  such t h a t r a t i o n a l i n n e r debate on such a q u e s t i o n would be u t t e r l y f o r e i g n t o him. blame him,  In o t h e r words, i t i s not f a i r t o  s i n c e Roderick i s a person o f the s o r t who  always  a c t s a c c o r d i n g t o i n s t i n c t , not reason. Roderick Hudson i s James's p o r t r a i t o f what i s convent i o n a l l y c o n s i d e r e d t o be the a r t i s t i c temperament.  Roderick  i s handsome, w i t h abundant c u r l y h a i r and a n a t u r a l l y flam4 boyant  s t y l e of d r e s s .  tudes and g e s t u r e s .  He i s given t o p i c t u r e s q u e a t t i -  Roderick i s extravagant i n a l l t h i n g s :  h i s happiness i s always e l a t i o n ; h i s disappointment the b l a c k e s t d e s p a i r .  For example, the news t h a t  i s always  Christina  has broken her engagement t o the p r i n c e induces Roderick t o  -106-  lounge h i s t r i o n i c a l l y on a couch i n h i s darkened  bedroom,  s m e l l i n g a l a r g e white r o s e w h i l e o t h e r r o s e s and c a r p e t the f l o o r .  violets  Rowland's o b s e r v a t i o n about h i s f r i e n d  i n t h i s s t a t e i s t h a t he looks l i k e l e c t u a l swoon" (Rod., p.  "a Buddhist i n an  intel-  394).  Roderick t r i e s t o be k i n d t o d u l l people, but the e f f o r t c l e a r l y goes a g a i n s t the g r a i n .  His r e a c t i o n t o the  a r r i v a l of h i s mother and h i s fiance*e i n Europe i s charact e r i s t i c o f t h i s s t r a i n i n him.  He i s f r a n k about i t t o  Rowland: "They bore me of them; I'm  to death  . . . I'm  not  simply s t a t i n g a f a c t .  s o r r y f o r them . . .  complaining I'm  very  Another week of i t and I  s h a l l begin to hate them.  I s h a l l want to p o i s o n  them . . . they mean no more to me means to a p i g " (Rod., pp.  than a piano  355-56).  The people around Roderick seem t o t o l e r a t e h i s arrogant and f a n c i f u l behavior f o r s e v e r a l reasons.  He adds t h e a t r e t o  t h e i r l i v e s and i s , i n c e r t a i n moods, most d i v e r t i n g . everyone  Also,  b e l i e v e s i n h i s genius and s u f f e r s a c e r t a i n amount  of e c c e n t r i c b e h a v i o r because of i t .  As f o r Mrs. Hudson and  Mary Garland, they l o v e him and thus f o r g i v e a l l h i s t r e s passes . In h i s a t t i t u d e toward  h i s a r t Roderick most o f t e n resem-  b l e s Pegasus h i t c h e d t o the plow.  As long as h i s i n s p i r a t i o n s  -107-  l a s t he works e x u b e r a n t l y , but when they f l a g he g i v e s up. The c y n i c a l but s u c c e s s f u l G l o r i a n i t r i e s t o warn him a g a i n s t such p a s s i o n a t e excesses, but t o no a v a i l  (Rod.,  p. 124).  inextric-  S i n c e Roderick's c r e a t i v e a b i l i t y i s so  ably bound up w i t h h i s emotional s t a t e , i t i s not  surprising  t h a t h i s p a s s i o n f o r C h r i s t i n a L i g h t should a f f e c t i t so radically.  I t i s e n t i r e l y reasonable t h a t h i s t a l e n t  has been waning and f l a r i n g so e r r a t i c a l l y throughout  (which the  novel) should be e x t i n g u i s h e d f o r e v e r at the news t h a t C h r i s t i n a has married  another.  Roderick Hudson never achieves what James c o n s i d e r e d to be t h a t transcendent happiness a v a i l a b l e o n l y to the —the  sense of having done the b e s t c r e a t i v e work of which  he i s capable.  The demands of l i f e ,  presented t o him  love f o r C h r i s t i n a L i g h t , are too s t r o n g .  genius was  But  Roderick's  always so u n s t a b l e t h a t i t seems probable t h a t he  would have surrendered t o some o t h e r s i r e n had he not Christina.  The  industrious,  modest, and single-minded i n h i s w o r s h i p f u l a t t i t u d e Thus though Roderick's t a l e n t was  a b i l i t y t o n o u r i s h and safeguard i t was was  d e s t i n e d to  Sam  former i s c y n i c a l l y content t o work without  i n s p i r a t i o n ; the l a t t e r i s almost i r r i t a t i n g l y  craft.  met  Throughout the n o v e l Roderick's s p e c t a c u l a r but  f i t f u l a b i l i t y i s c o n t r a s t e d to t h a t of G l o r i a n i and Singleton.  as  He cannot w i t h -  stand them and thus l o s e s h i s p r e c i o u s g i f t .  his  artist  fail.  toward  great h i s  s l i g h t , and so he  -108-  James was  always  i n t e r e s t e d i n examining  i s drawn t o l i f e  the problems  of  the a r t i s t who  of  l o v e , marriage, p u b l i c i t y , money-making) but who  wishes t o do j u s t i c e t o h i s a r t .  (and the myriad demands  Roderick Hudson  yet was  destroyed by h i s i n a b i l i t y to w i t h s t a n d the f o r c e s of He was  life.  swept i n t o the f a t a l w h i r l p o o l of hopeless l o v e .  C e r t a i n o t h e r of James's a r t i s t f i g u r e s meet the c h a l l e n g e of lar  life  i n the o r d i n a r y world more s u c c e s s f u l l y .  In p a r t i c u -  James c o n s i d e r s t h i s c l a s s i c dilemma i n two t a l e s  a r t i s t s who  are w r i t e r s — " T h e Lesson of the Master"  about  and  "The Death of the L i o n . " In  these two t a l e s "the a r t i s t ' s problem c u r i o u s l y min-  g l e s i t s e l f w i t h a p e r s o n a l and p r i v a t e dilemma having to do . . . w i t h marriage.  A p r i n c i p l e of plot-making so p e r s i s -  t e n t almost i n v i t e s us t o seek out a s i g n i f i c a n c e . " ^ s i g n i f i c a n c e i s t h a t James's a r t i s t s are always  The  faced with  an " e i t h e r - o r " s i t u a t i o n ; e i t h e r they can choose t o l e a d a f u l l , r i c h l i f e w i t h marriage, c h i l d r e n and  financial  o b l i g a t i o n s , or they can g i v e a l l t h e i r a t t e n t i o n and devot i o n to t h e i r a r t . The c h o i c e i s always one of a b s o l u t e s , and i s formul a t e d by Henry S t . George i n "The Lesson o f the Master" f o r the b e n e f i t o f P a u l Overt, the young w r i t e r i n whom S t . George sees so much promise.  The t a l k has been o f the e f f e c t  t h a t marriage and d o m e s t i c a t i o n can have on the a r t i s t . George says:  St.  -109-  "I've made a g r e a t d e a l o f money:  my w i f e has  known how t o take care o f i t , t o use i t without wasting it  i t , t o put a good b i t o f i t by, t o make  fructify.  I've g o t a l o a f on the s h e l f , I've  got e v e r y t h i n g i n f a c t but the g r e a t t h i n g . " "The  great thing?"  Paul kept  echoing.  "The  sense o f having done the b e s t - - t h e  sense which i s the r e a l l i f e o f the a r t i s t and the absence o f which i s h i s death, o f having drawn from h i s i n t e l l e c t u a l instrument est  music t h a t nature has hidden  ing  p l a y e d i t as i t should be p l a y e d .  the f i n -  i n i t , o f havHe e i t h e r  does t h a t o r he d o e s n ' t — a n d i f he doesn't he i s n ' t worth speaking o f . " "The  great t h i n g " i s o f paramount importance t o James,  and t h i s account  o f i t g i v e n by St. George can be c o n s i d e r e d  James's own o p i n i o n as w e l l . in  There are i r o n i c i m p l i c a t i o n s  the p l o t o f "The Lesson o f the Master", e s p e c i a l l y i n  St.  George's marrying  the g i r l  off  d e v o t i n g h i m s e l f t o h i s a r t i n accordance  George's e a r n e s t a d v i c e . t h i s i d e a l i s t i c account  Overt loves w h i l e Overt i s with St.  Yet the i r o n y does not q u a l i f y o f the a r t i s t ' s purpose i n l i f e .  Paul Overt p r o t e s t s a g a i n s t S t . George's b i t t e r criticism, declaring:  self-  -110-  "You've had the f u l l r i c h masculine human g e n e r a l l i f e , w i t h a l l the r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s and d u t i e s and burdens  and sorrows and j o y s — a l l the  domestic and s o c i a l i n i t i a t i o n s and c o m p l i c a t i o n s " ("The Lesson o f the Master", p. 72). But S t . George i s determined t o make h i s p o i n t : "They've g i v e n me s u b j e c t s without number, i f t h a t ' s what you mean; but they've taken away at  the same time the power t o use them.  I've  touched a thousand t h i n g s , but which one of them have I turned t o gold?  The a r t i s t has o n l y t o  do w i t h t h a t — h e knows n o t h i n g of any baser metal. I've l e d the l i f e o f the world, w i t h my w i f e and my progeny; the clumsy, c o n v e n t i o n a l expensive m a t e r i a l i s e d v u l g a r i s e d b r u t a l i s e d l i f e o f London. We've got e v e r y t h i n g handsome, even a c a r r i a g e — w e ' r e p e r f e c t P h i l i s t i n e s and prosperous hosp i t a b l e eminent people.  But, my dear  fellow,  don't t r y t o s t u l t i f y y o u r s e l f and pretend you don't know what we haven't got. a l l the r e s t . wound up.  I t ' s b i g g e r than  Between a r t i s t s — c o m e ! " the Master  "You know as w e l l as you s i t t h e r e  t h a t you'd put a p i s t o l b a l l i n t o your b r a i n i f you had w r i t t e n my books!" Master", p. 72).  ("The Lesson o f the  -111-  St.  George has made h i s c h o i c e between a r t and the  world, and he knows how f a r he has f a l l e n s i n c e h i s f i r s t t h r e e good n o v e l s .  He has d e l i b e r a t e l y w r i t t e n f o r the  popular market, wholly p r o s t i t u t e d h i s a r t t o make money and p r o v i d e f o r h i s f a m i l y . life,  He has enjoyed h i s w o r l d l y  but i n no way c o n s i d e r s t h a t i t compensates him f o r  not having achieved "the g r e a t t h i n g " . in  t e l l i n g Overt t h a t marriage  He i s very emphatic  and a r t do not mix.  He stub-  b o r n l y maintains t h a t the a r t i s t ' s o n l y b u s i n e s s i s w i t h the p e r f e c t i o n of h i s a r t .  "He has n o t h i n g t o do w i t h the r e l a -  t i v e — h e has o n l y t o do w i t h the a b s o l u t e ; and a dear  little  7  f a m i l y may r e p r e s e n t a dozen r e l a t i v e s " Master",  ("The Lesson o f the  p. 76).  James f e e l s t h a t the t r u e a r t i s t must choose t o be alone. T h i s c h o i c e i s l a r g e l y a matter  o f temperament.  The p r e d i s -  p o s i t i o n t o make r e n u n c i a t i o n s i s u l t i m a t e l y something the a r t i s t e i t h e r possesses o r l a c k s .  In the i n t e r e s t s o f  v a r i e t y and v e r i s i m i l i t u d e some o f James's a r t i s t s  incline  more toward the one c h o i c e o r the o t h e r from the b e g i n n i n g , - some have a l r e a d y made t h e i r c h o i c e s when the s t o r y begins, and f o r some the d i f f i c u l t y o f making the c h o i c e c o n s t i t u t e s the i n t e r e s t o f t h e i r s t o r y .  Henry S t . George chose  life  g and i t s many demands (perhaps u n w i t t i n g l y ) when he contracted h i s f i r s t life  marriage,  and then d e l i b e r a t e l y chooses  again when he m a r r i e s Marian Fancourt.  Paul Overt  has h i s c h o i c e made f o r him by the more warm-blooded S t .  -112-  George, but s u r e l y he should know t h a t such a r i p e p r i z e Marian w i l l not keep i n d e f i n i t e l y without from him.  Overt  any  i s too p a s s i v e to deserve  assurances  such a woman,  and there i s some j u s t i c e i n Munro B e a t t i e ' s abuse of "The  as  him:  l e s s o n of the master i s t h a t f o r an a r t i s t there can  be  no l e s s o n where the h e a r t and the s e n s i b i l i t i e s are concerned.  I f you haven't the gumption to l o v e a woman, don't 9  t r y to make an a r t i s t i c p r i n c i p l e out o f your d e f i c i e n c y . " N e i l Paraday i s an i n t e r e s t i n g case of the a r t i s t whose choice was tale. day  made ten years p r e v i o u s to the t e l l i n g o f h i s  When the young, w o r s h i p f u l n a r r a t o r meets him,  i s f i f t y years o l d and c o n v a l e s c i n g a f t e r a long  The n a r r a t o r r e p o r t s t h a t Paraday, "once t o l d me  r a t e s f u r t h e r , "He whom he had legend.  good f o r him b e f o r e . "  year, He  elabo-  redundancy of  a g e n e r a l f a i t h i n h i s having behaved w e l l ,  and I had once, i n London, taken Mrs. ("The  1 0  had  allowed h a l f h i s income to h i s w i f e , from  succeeded i n s e p a r a t i n g without  I had  illness.  t h a t he  had no p e r s o n a l l i f e to speak of s i n c e h i s f o r t i e t h but had had more than was  Para-  Death of the L i o n " , p. 109).  Paraday down to d i n n e r "  In o t h e r words, Paraday  has d i v e s t e d h i m s e l f of h i s w i f e and h i s o b l i g a t i o n s to her as honourably as p o s s i b l e i n order to devote a l l h i s e n e r g i e s to h i s work. was  worth to  Presumably the lady was  more t r o u b l e than  she  him.  As the t a l e begins Paraday i s c o n s i d e r i n g the scheme of a new  book which he o b l i g i n g l y reads  to the n a r r a t o r .  The  -113-  l a t t e r exclaims i n r a p t u r e , "My are you going to do i t ?  dear master, how,  after  all,  I t ' s i n f i n i t e l y noble, but what  time i t w i l l take, what p a t i e n c e and independence, what assured, what p e r f e c t c o n d i t i o n s ! t e p i d sea!"  ("The  Oh  f o r a lone i s l e i n a  Death of the L i o n " , p. 107).  This i s  what the n a r r a t o r f i g h t s t o keep f o r h i s i d o l — a space i n the midst of a tumultuous world.  serene  He s t r u g g l e s  a g a i n s t hopeless odds f o r Paraday's most r e c e n t book proves a p o p u l a r success.  I t i s a success o n l y i n the sense t h a t  i t c a t a p u l t s i t s author i n t o i n s t a n t c e l e b r i t y . s o l d but moderately,  "His book  . . . but he c i r c u l a t e d i n person t o a  measure t h a t the l i b r a r i e s might w e l l have e n v i e d " Death of the L i o n " , p. 122).  Mr. Paraday has very  ("The little  stamina,  and the n a r r a t o r watches w i t h h o r r o r h i s t r a g i c ,  headlong  d i s i n t e g r a t i o n i n the g l a r e o f p u b l i c i t y and a t  the hands o f s t u p i d , demanding people. His sudden l i o n i z a t i o n i s Paraday's second c o n f r o n t a t i o n w i t h the a b s o l u t e c h o i c e .  To s t e a d f a s t l y i g n o r e the  clamour of p u b l i c i n t e r e s t i n h i s person would r e q u i r e more energy  than Paraday possesses.  Even the n a r r a t o r , Paraday's  protector, i s i n e f f e c t u a l against i t , robust man.  though h i m s e l f a  Despite o c c a s i o n a l premonitions of d i s a s t e r ,  Paraday succeeds  i n r a t i o n a l i z i n g h i s new  situation.  He  begins h i s dance o f death f o r t i f i e d w i t h " p o r t a b l e s o p h i s t r i e s about the nature of the a r t i s t ' s t a s k . too was  Observation  a k i n d of work and experience a k i n d of success;  -114-  London d i n n e r s were a l l m a t e r i a l and London l a d i e s were fruitful  toil  . . . the f a t i g u e had the m e r i t o f b e i n g o f  a new s o r t , w h i l e the phantasmagoric town was probably a f t e r a l l less of a b a t t l e f i e l d  than the haunted  study"  ("The Death o f the L i o n " , p. 122). Paraday sounds very l i k e James h i m s e l f here, f o r whom i t was c e r t a i n l y t r u e t h a t "London d i n n e r s were a l l m a t e r i a l and London l a d i e s were f r u i t f u l for  toil."  Ever on the a l e r t  "germs" f o r h i s s t o r i e s , James d i d what Paraday o n l y  deluded h i m s e l f i n t o b e l i e v i n g he c o u l d do; James a c t u a l l y turned h i s s o c i a l experiences i n t o novels and t a l e s .  James  was a b l e t o succeed where Paraday f a i l e d because he had a great deal of s e l f - d i s c i p l i n e . popular.  L i k e Paraday, James was very  "During the w i n t e r o f 1878-1879 James, by h i s own  account, d i n e d out 107 times.""'""'"  U n l i k e Paraday, James was  p e r f e c t l y capable o f d e c l i n i n g an i n v i t a t i o n , as when he wrote t o S. C o l v i n on December t w e n t y - s i x t h , 1895: The g r e a t d i n i n g - o u t b u s i n e s s has l a t e l y  reached  a p o i n t w i t h me a t which I have f e l t t h a t somet h i n g must be d o n e — t h a t p u l l up. 1st.,  I must i n o t h e r words  I have been doing i t n i g h t l y s i n c e Nov.  and i t has l e f t me w i t h such a r r e a r s o f  o c c u p a t i o n on my hands t h a t i t i s i m p e r a t i v e f o r 12 me t o t r y and use a few evenings  t o c a t c h up.  Paraday was too weak t o remove h i m s e l f from the maelstrom o f  -115-  the London season, and thus h i s work p e r i s h e d . day h i m s e l f l i t e r a l l y p e r i s h e d i s something  That Para-  i n the nature o f  a grim reminder t h a t James wrote t o h i m s e l f . James b e l i e v e s t h a t the t r u e a r t i s t w i l l overcome the temptations t h a t b e d e v i l him; but t o the a r t i s t who waver, who  does s e l l h i s b i r t h r i g h t , James i s u n f a i l i n g l y  understanding. to  does  He knows the path of pure a r t i s as p a i n f u l  t r a v e l as the k n i f e - i n f e s t e d pathway to t r u t h d i s c o v e r e d  by Stephen Crane's wayfarer, and he commiserates w i t h those who  say, "Doubtless there are o t h e r roads".  Extremely  a t t r a c t i v e compensations are showered on those who to  embrace l i f e .  In responding t o l i f e  be making the o n l y n a t u r a l c h o i c e . l a t e h i m s e l f and  Who  choose  they o f t e n seem t o would choose t o i s o -  "hammer out head-achy f a n c i e s w i t h a bent  back on an i n k - s t a i n e d t a b l e "  ("The  Lesson o f the  Master",  p. 19), when he c o u l d have i n s t e a d the v i b r a n c e of Marian Fancourt, the g i r l who  expressed h e r s e l f i n t h a t  extraordi-  nary and most unJamesian p a r l o u r , the room where Paul Overt fell  i n love?: She was  i n a l a r g e b r i g h t f r i e n d l y occupied room,  which was  p a i n t e d r e d a l l over, draped w i t h . . .  q u a i n t cheap f l o r i d s t u f f s  . . . and bedecked  w i t h p o t t e r y of v i v i d hues, ranged on c a s u a l s h e l v e s , and w i t h many w a t e r - c o l o u r drawings from the hand . . .  of the young lady h e r s e l f ,  -116-  commemorating . . . the sunsets, the mountains, the temples and p a l a c e s of I n d i a ("The the Master",  p.  The a r t i s t s who  Lesson  of  50). choose l i f e renounce one  they do not have c l e a r c o n s c i e n c e s .  happiness:  They do not bask i n  the knowledge of having done the very b e s t work p o s s i b l e ; they have not done, i n S t . George's phrase, thing."  Paul Overt has t h i s peace but a t the c o s t of  happiness it  "the g r e a t  in his private l i f e .  any  N e i l Paraday's p o s s e s s i o n of  i s threatened by h i s i n a b i l i t y t o safeguard h i s p r i v a c y ,  and thus the c o n d i t i o n s under which he can continue t o p r o duce h i s b e s t work are e v e n t u a l l y d e s t r o y e d .  To James him-  s e l f the knowledge of having done "the g r e a t t h i n g " must have been very sweet indeed. crown o f h i s l i f e ' s  To him h i s New  York E d i t i o n was  achievements.  James's most extended  and ambitious  f i c t i o n a l considera-  t i o n o f the problems o f the a r t i s t and the demands made on him by l i f e The T r a g i c Muse.  conflicting  and by h i s a r t i s s e t f o r t h i n  Miriam Rooth and Nick Dormer are the  a r t i s t s around whom James sought  to c r e a t e a n o v e l .  p r e f a c e he e x p l a i n s : I  the  . . . must i n f a c t p r a c t i c a l l y have always had  the happy thought of some dramatic p i c t u r e of the " a r t i s t - l i f e "  and of the d i f f i c u l t terms on  which i t i s a t the b e s t secured and enjoyed,  the  two  In the  -117-  g e n e r a l q u e s t i o n of i t s having e a s i l y paid for. art,  To "do  to be not  something about  altogether art"—  t h a t i s , as a human c o m p l i c a t i o n and a s o c i a l  s t u m b l i n g - b l o c k — m u s t have been f o r me good d e a l of a nursed i n t e n t i o n , the between a r t and betimes as one motives  conflict  "the world" s t r i k i n g me o f the h a l f - d o z e n  early a  thus  g r e a t primary  (Muse, I, v . ) .  In the c h a r a c t e r of Nick Dormer James p o r t r a y s the conf l i c t between a r t and  "the world" i n a l l i t s i n t e n s i t y .  Nick's  i s the great world  case the world  p u b l i c acclaim. to  As the n o v e l begins  h i s long term goals i n l i f e .  about t o become a candidate  of p o l i t i c s  In  and  he i s very d i v i d e d as  On the one  hand he i s  f o r a seat i n the B r i t i s h  par-  liament, and he shows a l l the s i g n s o f being a b r i l l i a n t successor t o h i s l a t e f a t h e r , a gentleman knighted public service.  S i m i l a r l y he i s i n love w i t h the  for his wilful  J u l i a Dallow, a b e a u t i f u l young widow of g r e a t means, is  f i e r c e l y ambitious  who  i n her p o l i t i c a l a s p i r a t i o n s f o r him.  Yet Nick i s a l s o very drawn to the i d e a of being a c a r e e r a r t i s t , and  i f he had only h i m s e l f to c o n s i d e r t h a t i s what  he would do w i t h h i s l i f e . not o n l y o f h i s two  support  unmarried s i s t e r s but of h i s widowed  mother whose e x p e c t a t i o n s J u l i a Dallow.  However he i s the s o l e  of Nick are e x a c t l y l i k e those  of  -118-  A c a r e e r as a member of p a r l i a m e n t  means not  only  r e s p e c t and a c c l a i m to Nick, but a l s o i n v o l v e s a g r e a t of money.  Burdened w i t h h i s f a m i l y ' s e x p e c t a t i o n s  deal  of  him,  and w i t h t h e i r l i v e l i h o o d t o g a i n , Nick doubts t h a t he a f f o r d t o forego the l a v i s h s a l a r y of a member of on the chance t h a t the f i c k l e p u b l i c w i l l buy of an unknown p a i n t e r l i k e h i m s e l f .  can  parliament  the canvases  There are a l s o two  more  f o r t u n e s beckoning Nick t o assume the yoke o f p u b l i c o f f i c e . Mr.  C a r t e r e t , a l i f e l o n g f r i e n d and  admirer of Nick's  late  f a t h e r , r e v e a l s h i s i n t e n t i o n o f s e t t l i n g a handsome f o r t u n e on Nick when he demonstrates h i s i n t e n t i o n of f o l l o w i n g i n his father's footsteps.  F i n a l l y , there i s J u l i a — l o v e l y  J u l i a — t o whom Nick has but t o say the word and he can have her, her e s t a t e s , her g r e a t f o r t u n e , and extravagant f o r the r e s t of h i s l i f e .  Was  ever the path o f duty more  c l e a r l y and a t t r a c t i v e l y l a i d out b e f o r e a man? time Nick s t r i v e s to content  security  And  for a  himself with i t ,  campaigning  f o r and winning the s e a t , making a thoroughly  respectable  maiden speech, p l e a s i n g h i s s t a r c h e d V i c t o r i a n mother. But e v e n t u a l l y Nick decides he can no l o n g e r the charade.  continue  He g i v e s up the s e a t , takes a s t u d i o , makes  a c l e a n break w i t h the world  of p o l i t i c s .  Such a  startling  change causes J u l i a to break t h e i r engagement, Lady Agnes (Nick's mother) to v i r t u a l l y stop l o v i n g him, t e r e t t o cut him o f f without  a cent.  and Mr.  From such a w i l d  Car-  -119-  b o n f i r e o f hopes one expects a t l e a s t a phoenix.  But Nick  disappoints. When Nick t a l k s t o Biddy about her a r t i s t i c a s p i r a t i o n s as they s t r o l l through the s t a t u a r y i n the garden o f the P a l a i s de 1 ' I n d u s t r i e , he i s r e a l l y t h i n k i n g out l o u d , engaging i n self-mockery  at h i s inner struggle:  "Don't you t h i n k I've any c a p a c i t y f o r i d e a s ? " the g i r l continued  ruefully.  "Lots o f them, no doubt.  But the c a p a c i t y  f o r a p p l y i n g them, f o r p u t t i n g them i n t o p r a c t i c e , how much o f t h a t have you?"  (Muse, I , 17).  He t e l l s h e r t h a t h i s canvases have been " f u t i l e  . . . ill-  s t a r r e d endeavours", and when she asks i f he then intends t o "give up" h i s "work" h i s r e p l y sounds weary, " I t has never been my work a l l t h a t b u s i n e s s , Biddy. be d i f f e r e n t .  I f i t had i t would  I should s t i c k t o i t " (Muse, I , 20). He has  a l r e a d y lamented h i s mother's a t t i t u d e :  "She has i n h e r i t e d  the f i n e o l d s u p e r s t i t i o n t h a t a r t ' s pardonable only so long as i t ' s b a d — s o l o n g as i t ' s done a t odd hours, f o r a l i t t l e d i s t r a c t i o n , l i k e a game o f t e n n i s o r o f w h i s t .  The only  t h i n g t h a t can j u s t i f y i t , the e f f o r t t o c a r r y i t as f a r as one  can (which you can't do without  purpose) she regards element"  time and s i n g l e n e s s o f  as j u s t the dangerous, t h e c r i m i n a l  (Muse, I , 18). Thus a r t , t o Nick i s a formidable  undertaking,  extremely demanding, r e q u i r i n g a l l o f the  -120-  a r t i s t ' s e n e r g i e s "to c a r r y i t as f a r as one can." c e p t i o n of the d i s c i p l i n e r e q u i r e d i s strenuous  His  con-  indeed.  Thus when Nick f i n a l l y does: make h i s d e c i s i o n and  sacrifices  a l l t o a r t , one expects t o f i n d him engaged i n marathon bouts at h i s e a s e l .  Since a r t c o u l d then p r o p e r l y be s t y l e d h i s  "work" one expects t o see him he would.  "He  " s t i c k to i t " as he had vowed  had not thrown up the House of Commons t o  amuse h i m s e l f ; he had thrown i t up t o work, to s i t q u i e t l y down and bend over h i s task"  (Muse, I I , 186).  Nick i s very a r t i c u l a t e about h i s a r t , but h i s s u b j e c t i s a r t i n general  (not h i s own  in particular).  It is in  f a i l i n g t o r e i n i n h i s enthusiasms t h a t , i n p a r t , he pates h i s e n e r g i e s . seminates  dissi-  He i n t e l l e c t u a l i z e s about a r t and  dis-  h i s a e s t h e t i c o p i n i o n s t o G a b r i e l Nash, to Biddy,  and t o Sherringham.  His c h i e f premise  seems t o be t h a t a l l  forms of a r t ( p a i n t i n g , t h e a t r e , s c u l p t u r e , l i t e r a t u r e ) one.  " I t ' s the same g r e a t many-headed e f f o r t , and any  are ground  t h a t ' s gained by an i n d i v i d u a l , any spark t h a t ' s s t r u c k i n any p r o v i n c e , i s o f use and of suggestion t o a l l the o t h e r s . We're a l l i n the same boat"  (Muse, I , 14).  Thus Nick's a t t e n t i o n p a i d t o others i n the same boat should be f r u i t f u l and p r o d u c t i v e .  His f r i e n d s h i p w i t h  Miriam should g i v e him i d e a s he can use, j u s t as her t i o n s i n the world at l a r g e g i v e her ideas But such i s not the case.  observa-  (Muse, I I , 132-33).  The time Nick spends w i t h her  w i t h o t h e r s , even though they o f t e n t a l k of a r t , does not  and  -121-  f i r e him t o g r e a t e r e f f o r t s a t h i s e a s e l .  H i s s o c i a l but  not h i s a e s t h e t i c s e n s i b i l i t i e s are r e f r e s h e d . time Nick spends away from h i s s t u d i o d e a l of time) i s wasted.  In f a c t ,  the  (and i t i s a g r e a t  I t i s time s t o l e n from h i s "peg-  ging away" i n the s t u d i o , and i t does not improve  the q u a l i t y  o f h i s work when he r e t u r n s . The n o v e l ends l e s s than two years a f t e r Nick has "thrown up" the House of Commons. accomplished very l i t t l e . never completed  In a l l t h a t time he  has  The second p o r t r a i t of Miriam i s  t o our knowledge.  Miriam abandons the  t i n g s , c i t i n g " c a p r i c e " as her reason but a c t u a l l y t h a t Nick w i l l never love her no matter how  sit-  realizing  o f t e n they meet.  Nick says h e ' l l f i n i s h the p o r t r a i t and send i t t o P e t e r (but i f he ever d i d complete  i t i t i s u n l i k e l y that Peter's  w i f e would welcome t h a t a d d i t i o n to t h e i r p r i v a t e  collection).  The p o r t r a i t o f G a b r i e l Nash i s not o n l y u n f i n i s h e d too, abandoned s i t t i n g ) , but seems t o be g r a d u a l l y from the canvas. verbose  (Nash, fading  I t seems a p p r o p r i a t e t h a t Nash, the n o v e l ' s  (but o f t e n amusing) token aesthete should thus fade  away. James i s f a i r l y c r y p t i c i n h i s comments about N i c k ' s p o r t r a i t of J u l i a :  "everyone w i l l remember i n how  e x h i b i t i o n g e n e r a l a t t e n t i o n was  r e c e n t an  a t t r a c t e d , as the news-  papers s a i d i n d e s c r i b i n g the p r i v a t e view, t o the noble port r a i t of a l a d y " (Muse, I I , 440). papers was  James's o p i n i o n of news-  never very h i g h , but here one f e e l s t h e r e i s a  -122-  r e a l r e s t r a i n t i n the newspaper's use a t t e n t i o n was  attracted."  i s a l s o very moderate and sounds very c h i c  of the phrase  "general  "Noble" as an a d j e c t i v e of almost dry.  The  " p r i v a t e view"  (and J u l i a would never have agreed t o have  her p o r t r a i t exposed t o the v u l g a r u l t r a c o r r e c t delaut may  w e l l be  eye  i n any  c a s e ) , but  r a t h e r a r i d atmos-  phere, t h a t he w i l l become a mere s o c i e t y p a i n t e r — a nolds on a diminished  regard  t o Nick:  this  an i n d i c a t i o n t h a t N i c k ' s  c a r e e r w i l l continue i n t h a t decorous and  James leaves  praise  Rey-  s c a l e , never a M i c h e l a n g e l o .  the novel's c o n c l u s i o n "I may  ambiguous w i t h  f i n a l l y say t h a t h i s f r i e n d Nash's  p r e d i c t i o n s about h i s reunion w i t h Mrs.  Dallow have not  up  13 to t h i s time been j u s t i f i e d "  (Muse, I I , 441).  However,  the l a c k of d i r e c t i o n i n Nick's p r o f e s s i o n a l h i s t o r y does not  suggest he w i l l go on to do great  things.  It i s alto-  gether p o s s i b l e t h a t G a b r i e l Nash's c y n i c a l prophecy about Nick has  begun to come t r u e , at l e a s t i n i t s e s s e n t i a l s :  "Mrs.  Dallow w i l l send f o r you  p o r t r a i t ; s h e ' l l r e c a p t u r e you S h e ' l l get you and  down to one  ...  To p a i n t  on t h a t b a s i s .  of the  country-houses,  i t w i l l a l l go o f f c h a r m i n g l y — w i t h  i n the morning, on days you t h i n g you  sketching  can't hunt, and  l i k e i n the afternoon,  i n the evening. . . .  her  and  fifteen  Your d i f f e r e n c e s w i t h  b e a u t i f u l lady w i l l be patched up and  anycourses the  y o u ' l l each  -123-  come round a l i t t l e The  and meet the other  halfway.  b e a u t i f u l lady w i l l swallow your p r o f e s s i o n i f  y o u ' l l swallow hers.  S h e ' l l put up w i t h the p a l e t t e  i f y o u ' l l put up w i t h the country-house.  It will  be a v e r y unusual one i n which you won't f i n d a good n o r t h room where you can p a i n t .  Y o u ' l l go  about w i t h her and do a l l her f r i e n d s . . . and y o u ' l l e a t your cake and have i t " (Muse, I I , 406). 14 As Ross L a b r i e p o i n t s out,  though Nash presents  this vision  as one o f compromise, he r e a l l y t h i n k s i t base surrender Nick's p a r t . trait  on  I t i s s i g n i f i c a n t , t o o , t h a t when J u l i a ' s p o r -  i s e x h i b i t e d , "Nash had been a t many a p r i v a t e view,  but he was not a t t h i s one" (Muse, I I , 440). G a b r i e l Nash t h i n k s he has l o s t Nick, t h a t Nick has gone over t o the enemy and abandoned a l l a r t worthy of the name. Nick i s thus reduced t o something resembling a g i g o l o by h i s surrender her  fortune  t o J u l i a Dallow's charms.  The abundance o f  and her p e r f e c t w i l l i n g n e s s t o provide  handsomely  f o r h i s mother and s i s t e r s appear as something o f a b r i b e . J u l i a , N i c k ' s mother and two s i s t e r s f u n c t i o n as a p e t t i c o a t conspiracy  throughout the n o v e l , a l l a r d e n t l y d e s i r i n g N i c k ' s  marriage t o J u l i a .  Furthermore, even a f t e r Nick and J u l i a  break t h e i r engagement, she continues  to i n s i s t that h i s  f a m i l y l i v e i n one o f her houses, thus making c e r t a i n t h a t he i s o b l i g a t e d t o her.  J u l i a i s a s t u t e , stubborn, ambitious,  -124-  and managerial.  I t i s her beauty, however, t h a t  draws Nick back t o her. s o r t which Nick f i n d s  ultimately  I t i s of t h a t h i g h , proud,  cold  irresistible.  There i s a f a t e d q u a l i t y t o t h e i r romance—though they are  o p p o s i t e s , though  she hates h i s a r t .  he had doubts t h a t were acute a n x i e t i e s : i n J u l i a was  t h a t her mind was  From the b e g i n n i n g "What he suspected  l e s s p l e a s i n g than her person;  an u g l y , a r e a l l y b l i g h t i n g i d e a , which as y e t he had but h a l f accepted.  I t was  a case i n which she was  e n t i t l e d to  the b e n e f i t of every doubt and oughtn't t o be judged without a complete  trial.  . . . because  Nick meanwhile was  he was  a f r a i d of the  a f r a i d of the sentence, a f r a i d of any-  t h i n g t h a t might work t o l e s s e n the charm i t was in  trial  the power of her beauty to shed"  actually  (Muse, I, 90).  Nick's l o v e f o r t h i s s t r o n g - w i l l e d woman who  regards  his  a r t w i t h such a n t i p a t h y i s d e s t r u c t i v e t o h i s g i f t ,  are  h i s mother's a t t i t u d e , the grim n e c e s s i t y o f making a  l i v i n g f o r h i s f a m i l y , and some of h i s own  as  f e e l i n g s of g u i l t  about d i s a p p o i n t i n g so many people and f a i l i n g to l i v e up t o his  f a t h e r ' s example.  will.  Having  But c h i e f l y Nick's f a i l u r e i s one of  "thrown up the House of Commons" he d i d not  then " s i t q u i e t l y down and bend over h i s t a s k " as he vowed he would do.  had  His i r r e s o l u t i o n c o s t s him h i s t a l e n t .  Having chosen a r t over the demands of l i f e and the world he was  unable t o c l e a v e to i t .  -125-  The l e s s o n o f The T r a g i c Muse i s t h a t a r t demands the a r t i s t ' s complete  devotion.  Nick Dormer i s unable t o make  t h i s v i t a l commitment and h i s t a l e n t d e t e r i o r a t e s .  However  the n o v e l r e l a t e s the s t o r y o f another a r t i s t , one whose commitment i s p e r f e c t and f o r m i d a b l e . flamboyant umphant.  Miriam Rooth, the  a c t r e s s , i s James's p o r t r a i t of the a r t i s t  tri-  That p e r f e c t happiness and sense o f peace which  comes o n l y t o the a r t i s t who  has done f u l l j u s t i c e t o h i s  t a l e n t i s hers t o enjoy because she earns i t . Miriam has a very h i g h e s t i m a t i o n o f her own  powers  from which she never wavers; an a t t i t u d e which as the n o v e l begins seems f a n t a s t i c , d i s p r o p o r t i o n a t e , and g r o t e s q u e l y e g o t i s t i c a l but which i s more and more j u s t i f i e d by her dramatic successes as the n o v e l p r o g r e s s e s u n t i l , when we l a s t see Miriam on her opening n i g h t as J u l i e t , her ance moves the c r i t i c s t o use words l i k e 'incarnation,' to  "'revelation,'  'acclamation,' 'demonstration,'  'ovation'—  name o n l y a few, and a l l accompanied by the word  ordinary'"  (Muse, I I , 430).  perform-  She i s buoyed up by  'extra-  self-confi-  dence throughout the n o v e l ; u n l i k e Nick she never doubts ability.  T h i s v i s i o n o f what she can do, o f what a r t can  accomplish Miriam holds s t e a d i l y b e f o r e her. important t h i n g i n her l i f e . thoroughly t e s t s her d e v o t i o n . of  her  On the o t h e r hand, James never There i s never any q u e s t i o n  s a c r i f i c i n g her a r t f o r the man  because the man  I t i s the most  she l o v e s , f o r example,  she l o v e s , Nick Dormer, i s completely  -126-  o b l i v i o u s t o her.  One s u s p e c t s , n e v e r t h e l e s s , t h a t a r t  would have won out even over Nick, had he cared t o frame 15 her such a p a x n f u l  choice.  Miriam's single-mindedness, her d e t e r m i n a t i o n i s h e r most a r r e s t i n g q u a l i t y .  to excel  I t i s the o r i g i n o f an  u n f a i l i n g h a b i t which proves d i s c o n c e r t i n g t o others i n the n o v e l , e s p e c i a l l y t o Peter Sherringham, and which g i v e s the reader pause as w e l l . infinite variety.  Peter f e e l s t h a t she i s a c r e a t u r e o f To say she was always a c t i n g  would too much convey t h a t she was o f t e n f a t i g u i n g ; s i n c e her changing f a c e a f f e c t e d t h i s  particular  admirer a t l e a s t not as a s e r i e s o f masks, but as a response t o p e r c e i v e d d i f f e r e n c e s . . . o r . . . l i k e the s h i f t i n g o f the scene i n a p l a y or l i k e a room with many windows.  The image she  was t o p r o j e c t was always i n c a l c u l a b l e . . . . T h i s time . . . a b r i g h t g e n t l e g r a c e f u l s m i l i n g young woman i n a new d r e s s , eager t o go o u t , drawing on f r e s h g l o v e s , who looked as i f she were about t o step i n t o a c a r r i a g e a n d — i t was G a b r i e l Nash who thus formulated l o t o f London t h i n g s  her physiognomy—do a  (Muse, I I , 209).  T h i s i s P e t e r ' s view o f her, and w h i l e there i s a c e r t a i n p r o p r i e t y i n h i s being bedazzled,  he i s not alone.  Miriam  i s f o r e v e r sweeping i n t o a room i n some grand a t t i t u d e o r  -127-  another.  Much o f t h i s flamboyance  can be accounted f o r by  her n a t u r a l h i g h s p i r i t and by the f a c t t h a t she i s p e r p e t u a l l y surrounded by her d o t i n g mother and a r e t i n u e o f admiring  friends  ("Lord, she's good today.'  JMuse, I I , 6 0 - 6 l ] ) .  I s n ' t she good today?"  Why should she not p l a y t o the g a l l e r y ?  But though e v e r y t h i n g she does seems n a t u r a l , f r e e , and o f t e n n e g l i g e n t , one seems t o see a p a r t o f Miriam c o n s t a n t l y performing f o r an audience o f o n e — h e r s e l f .  There i s a c e r -  t a i n c o l d egotism about Miriam t h a t i s , i n a sense, p r a i s e worthy.  She i s always working, always t r y i n g on a t t i t u d e s ;  her mind i s almost always i n the t h e a t r e .  When P e t e r denies  to h i m s e l f the p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t she might always be a c t i n g , it his  i s because, unbidden, the thought has worked i t s way i n t o consciousness and s t i c k s l i k e a b u r r .  Miriam i s v e r y  e f f u s i v e i n her g r e e t i n g t o P e t e r on h i s r e t u r n from P a r i s : She c a l l e d him "Dear master" and s t i l l  again and a g a i n ,  o f t e n e r "Cher majStre", and appeared t o  express g r a t i t u d e and reverence by every i n t o n a t i o n . "You're doing the humble dependent  now," he  said:  "You do i t b e a u t i f u l l y , as you do every-  thing"  (Muse, I I , 131). c  Miriam's mimicry i s a v e r y d i f f e r e n t t h i n g from the commonp l a c e s o c i a l d i s s e m b l i n g t h a t goes on throughout the n o v e l — Biddy t r y i n g t o pretend she i s u n a f f e c t e d by P e t e r ' s nearness, P e t e r t r y i n g t o assume nonchalance when t o l d Miriam  -128-  loves another, and so on. weapon too.  Her remarkable t a l e n t can be a  In the heat o f her angry midnight  w i t h P e t e r , she d i s m i s s e s  interview  the l i f e he o f f e r s her as " t o s s i n g  up my head as the f i n e lady o f a l i t t l e c o t e r i e . . . .  A  big  prim  c o t e r i e then!  I t ' s o n l y t h a t a t the b e s t .  A nasty  ' o f f i c i a l ' woman who's perched on her l i t t l e l o c a l  pedestal  and t h i n k s she's a queen f o r ever because she's r i d i c u l o u s for  an hour!  Oh you needn't t e l l me.  I've seen them abroad  — t h e d r e a r i e s t f e m a l e s — a n d c o u l d i m i t a t e them here.  I  c o u l d do one f o r you on the spot i f I weren't so t i r e d " (Muse, I I , 347). Miriam's " p l a s t i c " q u a l i t y (Muse, I , 212) was one o f the f i r s t is  t h i n g s Sherringham n o t i c e d about her.  the one who urged her t o develop a p e r s o n a l  "All  In f a c t , he style  saying,  r e f l e x i o n i s a f f e c t a t i o n and a l l a c t i n g ' s r e f l e x i o n "  (Muse, I , 206). She was a p u z z l e t o him even then i n what 16 Dorothea Krook c a l l s Miriam's " e a r l y u g l y - d u c k l i n g  period."  Peter f r e e l y expressed these doubts t o Miriam then.  Later  when he had grown t o love her he c o u l d not a f f o r d t o b e l i e v e 17 she had no p e r s o n a l depth, but i n i t i a l l y he was very f r a n k : "What's r a r e i n you i s t h a t you h a v e — a s I suspect  a t l e a s t — n o nature o f your own. . . .  You're always a t c o n c e r t p i t c h o r on your horse; there are no i n t e r v a l s "  (Muse, I I , 210).  -129-  "Your f e i g n i n g may  be honest i n the sense  t h a t your o n l y f e e l i n g i s your f e i g n e d  one,"  P e t e r pursued.  . . .  "Were you r e a l l y so f r i g h t -  ened the f i r s t  day you went t o Madame Carrey's?"  She s t a r e d , then w i t h a f l u s h threw back her head. "I  "Do you t h i n k I was p r e t e n d i n g ? "  t h i n k you always are" (Muse, I, 211).  P e t e r ' s judgment of Miriam i s a l i t t l e harsh, but he i s wrong o n l y i n the degree o f a f f e c t a t i o n which he a t t r i b u t e s to  her.  Of course she has emotions o f her own,  very s k i l l e d at h i d i n g them. to  Also,, when they do not  the grand d e s i g n she has made f o r her l i f e  smother them w i t h comparative ease. ble" for  but she i s conform  she manages t o  For example, her  "sensi-  a t t i t u d e on s e n s i n g the f u t i l i t y i n her u n r e q u i t e d love Nick Dormer i l l u s t r a t e s t h i s p r a c t i c a l s t r a i n i n Miriam.  However, the primary reason t h a t Miriam seems a f f e c t e d i s her t o t a l a b s o r p t i o n i n her a r t . the  Nothing e l s e matters to her t o  degree t h a t becoming the g r e a t e s t a c t r e s s a l i v e matters,  so a l l her e n e r g i e s are channeled toward t h a t one g o a l .  Thus  i f her o r d i n a r y manner seems p r e o c c u p i e d , e x c e s s i v e l y express i v e , or even h i s t r i o n i c , i t i s because she i s an a r t i s t to the  core. At  some p o i n t i n her l i f e Miriam was  c o n f r o n t e d by the  same c h o i c e a l l James's a r t i s t f a c e — w h e t h e r common p a t t e r n of f a m i l y l i f e  t o choose the  and i t s r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s or t o  -130-  devote her l i f e to a r t . her a r t i s the way i s completely  In Miriam's case, the substance  she p r e s e n t s h e r s e l f to the world,  the product  of c a l c u l a t i o n .  warned her e a r l y i n t h e i r acquaintance l u t e c h o i c e , s a y i n g , "You  and i t  P e t e r Sherringham  t h a t hers was  an abso-  can't be e v e r y t h i n g , both a consum-  mate a c t r e s s and a flower of the f i e l d . (Muse, I ,  of  You've got t o choose"  211).  I t i s i r o n i c t h a t P e t e r gave t h i s advice y e t u l t i m a t e l y comes t o wish Miriam were "a flower of the a r t l e s s , passive. Miriam one  He  i s wrong i n one  field"—natural,  r e s p e c t , however:  had made her c h o i c e long b e f o r e he met  her.  Nor  does  f e e l she found the c h o i c e d i f f i c u l t , nor perhaps even  r e c o g n i z e d i t as a c h o i c e . beginning  Miriam was  compelled  to become a consummate a c t r e s s .  a c u t e l y aware of the dramatic  from the  She  i s always  p o t e n t i a l of any  situation  (thus her a i r of c a l c u l a t i o n , and even a f f e c t a t i o n ) .  Miriam's  a r t i s a matter of i n s t i n c t ; she i s a n a t u r a l a c t r e s s . t h i s sense she i s indeed  "The  T r a g i c Muse."  She  i s theatre  p e r s o n i f i e d , a c r e a t u r e "who's a b s o l u t e l y a l l an  artist."  P e t e r had p r o f e s s e d h i m s e l f " c u r i o u s to see t h a t " 212), but f i n d s the r e a l i t y something he cannot  In  (Muse, I ,  accept.  Because Miriam's t a l e n t i s so g r e a t , and because she i s w i l l i n g to devote a l l her thought, a l l her e n e r g i e s to perf e c t i n g and e x p r e s s i n g i t , the a r t i s t triumphant.  She  she shines as James's p o r t r a i t of i s her own  s t a n t l y s i t s i n judgment on her work.  b e s t c r i t i c and Her d i l i g e n c e i s  con-  -131-  astonishing.  Her p h i l o s o p h y of l i f e and a r t as she  expresses  i t to Peter Sherringham i s fundamental to her success.  She  b e l i e v e s , l i k e Nick Dormer does, t h a t a l l o b s e r v a t i o n benefits  the a r t i s t .  But, u n l i k e N i c k ' s , Miriam's o b s e r v a t i o n s  are a c t u a l l y transformed his,  i n t o the s t u f f of her a r t .  her f o r a y s i n t o the world are p r o d u c t i v e and  Unlike  fertile.  Miriam's p h i l i s o p h y o f l i f e and a r t sounds ingenuous on first  r e a d i n g but i s a c t u a l l y a c u t e l y p e r c e p t i v e .  possesses  Since  the s e l f - d i s c i p l i n e to approach a l l l i f e ' s e x p e r i -  ences as a study i n t h e a t r e , she can but g a i n : She was  d e l i g h t e d to f i n d t h a t s e e i n g more o f the  world suggested  t h i n g s to her;  . . . she was  thus  convinced more than ever t h a t the a r t i s t ought to l i v e so as to get on w i t h h i s b u s i n e s s , g a t h e r i n g ideas and l i g h t s from experience. of  course was  l i f e t h a t was  ...  But work  experience, and e v e r y t h i n g i n one's good was  work£;J. . . i f you  only  kept your eyes open n o t h i n g c o u l d happen t o you t h a t wouldn't be food f o r o b s e r v a t i o n and to  she  your m i l l , showing you how  people  grist  looked  and  moved and spoke, c r i e d and grimaced, w r i t h e d dissimulated, i n given s i t u a t i o n s . f i e r c e to know why  . . .  and  She  was  people d i d n ' t take them up,  put them i n t o p l a y s and p a r t s , g i v e one w i t h them; she expressed  a chance  her sharp impatience  of  the g e n e r a l l i t e r a r y b e t i s e (Muse, I I , 132-33).  -132-  Miriam has chosen  to devote her l i f e t o her a r t .  With  her thoroughly p r o f e s s i o n a l a t t i t u d e of r i g o r o u s s e l f - d i s c i p l i n e , she wrings  the essence from every experience  s t u d i e s i t f o r elements  she can use i n her  performances.  Her hard work combines w i t h her t a l e n t to produce thea/tre l i k e her incandescent J u l i e t ,  and  coups de  "an e x q u i s i t e image of  young p a s s i o n and young d e s p a i r , expressed i n the t r u e s t d i v i n e s t music t h a t had ever poured II,  from t r a g i c l i p s "  (Muse,  430). T h i s was  James's c o n c e p t i o n of the most b l e s s e d happiness  an a r t i s t c o u l d know. "the g r e a t t h i n g .  I t i s what Henry St. George c a l l e d  . . .  The  sense of having done the b e s t —  the sense which i s the r e a l l i f e of the a r t i s t and the absence of  which i s h i s death, of having drawn from h i s i n t e l l e c t u a l  instrument the f i n e s t music t h a t nature has hidden i n i t , of having p l a y e d i t as i t should be p l a y e d " Master," her a r t .  p. 69).  Miriam knew t h i s peace,  ("The  Lesson of the  f o r she gave a l l t o  Nick Dormer, on the o t h e r hand, compromised h i s  i d e a l , had t r a f f i c w i t h the world, spread h i s l o y a l t i e s  too  t h i n , and l o s t h i s p r e c i o u s a b i l i t y . James c o n s i d e r e d the a r t i s t ' s t a l e n t t o be an  infinitely  p r e c i o u s g i f t , an e x t r a o r d i n a r y t r u s t t o be t r e a s u r e d and e x p l o i t e d f o r good.  But the a r t i s t must choose e i t h e r t o  be t r u e t o the b e s t t h a t i s i n him and make a l l the  sacri-  f i c e s t h a t e n t a i l s , or t o allow h i m s e l f to become i n v o l v e d in  the concerns of o r d i n a r y d a i l y l i f e , probably t o the  -133-  detriment o f h i s a r t .  He must d e f e r t o the world no more  than i s a b s o l u t e l y necessary f o r him to l i v e .  It is a peril-  ous balance t o m a i n t a i n — l i v i n g f o r a r t but i n the world. Throughout  much of the f i c t i o n , James examines w i t h i n t e r e s t  the manner i n which h i s a r t i s t s meet t h i s c h a l l e n g e .  For  most, the l u r e of the world i s too s t r o n g ; e s p e c i a l l y when i t o f f e r s not o n l y f l a t t e r y and a c c l a i m (as i t does to Henry S t . George and N e i l Paraday), but l o v e , the most dangenous s i r e n of them a l l .  Roderick Hudson p e r i s h e d f o r l o v e  and, i n another sense, so d i d N i c k Dormer. The rewards t o the a r t i s t who and who  remains  t r u e to h i s a r t  does "The g r e a t t h i n g " are heady indeed.  That  sense o f e x a l t a t i o n which i s c r e a t i v e e c s t a s y i s worth any p r i c e t o those who l i f e around i t , study.  know i t .  James knew i t and ordered h i s  s a f e g u a r d i n g the s a n c t i t y o f h i s i s o l a t e d  However h i s t a l e s and novels about a r t i s t s demon-  s t r a t e t h a t , though he had r e s o l v e d h i s own d i d r e a l i z e they s t i l l  conflicts,  existed f o r other a r t i s t s .  he  His  i m a g i n a t i v e and sympathetic treatments of the p o s s i b l e temptations and c o n f l i c t i n g i n t e r e s t s they experience a l l r e s o l v e themselves  into a single principle:  James b e l i e v e d  the a r t i s t had t o make an a b s o l u t e c h o i c e between the demands of h i s a r t and those of the world.  He was  a l s o con-  f i d e n t t h a t f o r r e a l l y g r e a t a r t i s t s , l i k e Miriam Rooth, t h e r e was  no c o n f l i c t a t a l l ,  f o r r e a l l y great a r t i s t s  i n v a r i a b l y choose t o do "the g r e a t thing.!  1  -134-  Notes to Chapter Three '''Kenneth Graham, Henry James "The Drama o f F u l f i l m e n t : An Approach t o the Novels" (Oxford:  Clarendon P r e s s , 1975),  pp. 29-57 t r e a t s t h i s aspect o f the n o v e l a t l e n g t h . 2 Cf.  L o u i s A u c h i n c l o s s , Reading Henry James  (Minneapolis:  Univ. o f Minnesota P r e s s , 1975), p. 43, whose remarks on her r o l e i n the novel are s i m i l a r . 3 Leon E d e l , " I n t r o d u c t i o n , " i n Henry James's Roderick Hudson (New York: 4 Cf.  Harper and Row,  1961), p.  Henry James, Roderick Hudson  S c r i b n e r ' s Sons, 1907), pp. 23-24.  vii-viii.  (New York:  Charles  A l l f u r t h e r r e f e r e n c e s are  to t h i s e d i t i o n of the n o v e l and w i l l be i n c l u d e d i n the t e x t . Munro B e a t t i e , "The Many Marriages of Henry James," i n P a t t e r n s o f Commitment i n American L i t e r a t u r e , ed. Marston La  France (Toronto:  Univ. o f Toronto P r e s s , 1967), p. 93.  Henry James, "The Lesson of the Master," i n The Novels and T a l e s o f Henry James, V o l 15 ner's Sons, 1909), 69.  (New York:  Charles  Scrib-  A l l f u r t h e r r e f e r e n c e s w i l l be t o  t h i s e d i t i o n o f the t a l e and i n c l u d e d i n the t e x t .  -135-  7Gwen Matheson, " P o r t r a i t s of the A r t i s t and the Lady i n the S h o r t e r F i c t i o n o f Henry James," Dalhousie Review, 4 8 (Slimmer, 1968), 224, c o n s i d e r s how James b e l i e v e d "the a r t i s t i s opposed by h i s w i f e ' s maternal f u n c t i o n ; " p Ross L a b r i e , " S i r e n s o f L i f e and A r t i n Henry James," Lakehead Univ. Review, 2 ( F a l l ,  1969), 156.  q  Munro B e a t t i e , "The Many M a r r i a g e s o f Henry James," p. 99. 1 0  H e n r y James, "The Death o f the L i o n , " i n The Novels and  T a l e s o f Henry James, V o l . 15 Sons, 1909), 123.  (New York:  Charles Scribner's  A l l f u r t h e r r e f e r e n c e s are t o t h i s  edition  o f the t a l e and i n c l u d e d i n the t e x t . 11  S i m o n Nowell-Smith, The Legend o f the Master (New York:  C h a r l e s S c r i b n e r ' s Sons, 1948), p. 27. 12  Q u o t e d by Nowell-Smith, p. 27.  13 Cf. a l s o Ross L a b r i e , " S i r e n s of L i f e and A r t , " p. 153. 1 4  I b i d . , p. 153.  15 G a b r i e l Nash seems t o concur (Muse, I I , 204). Dorothea Krook, The Ordeal o f Consciousness, p. 92. 1 7  C f . Muse, I I , 209.  -136-  Conclusion In h i s f i c t i o n James concentrates  on unhappiness  and  d i s i l l u s i o n m e n t , c o n s i d e r i n g these t o be the most common responses to the experiences out c o n f i d e n t , ambitious, ignorant.  of l i f e .  and,  His c h a r a c t e r s s e t  f o r the most p a r t , w o e f u l l y  Most of t h e i r unhappiness d e r i v e s from the  t i o n s between the sexes.  rela-  James shows the u n r e m i t t i n g  pres-  sure to marry w e l l which i s exerted upon the young g i r l s c o n t i n e n t a l , E n g l i s h , and American s o c i e t i e s and t h e i r p a i n , f r u s t r a t i o n , and marriage.  The  jeune f i l l e may  ignorance  as they  of  studies  approach  convent-bred d o c i l i t y of the c o n t i n e n t a l make her a p a s s i v e v i c t i m , l i k e Pansy Osmond,  or an accomplished h y p o c r i t e l i k e L i t t l e Aggie of The Awkward Age.  What James c a l l e d the  "incoherence"  of the E n g l i s h sys-  tem  o f r e a r i n g i t s young g i r l s f o r c e s them t o d e v i s e  own  codes o f conduct, producing  thwarted Nanda Brookenham, who at  once.  openly  their  complex young women l i k e i s knowing and  the  innocent a l l  S i m i l a r l y the E n g l i s h Biddy Dormer yearns too  a f t e r the man  she  l o v e s and her p i t i f u l attempts a t  the d i s s i m u l a t i v e a r t s make her appear r i d i c u l o u s .  At  the  o p p o s i t e extreme to c o n t i n e n t a l i s American s o c i e t y , which allows i t s young g i r l s too much l i b e r t y and  g i v e s them an  u n r e a l i s t i c a l l y h i g h o p i n i o n of t h e i r r e l a t i v e  importance.  -137-  The l a z y f l i r t a t i o u s grace and arrogance o f Daisy M i l l e r J u l i a B r i d e are the l o g i c a l consequence their failures inevitable.  of such  and  liberty;  None of the t h r e e s o c i e t i e s  q u e s t i o n s the v a l i d i t y of marriage b e i n g the o n l y c o n c e i v a b l e f a t e f o r i t s young g i r l s , y e t none prepares her f o r i t . Thus a l l a t t e n t i o n i s d i r e c t e d toward the chase i t s e l f ,  and  none toward the r a t i o n a l s e l e c t i o n o f the quarry o r even toward the b a s i c q u e s t i o n o f the comparative wisdom o f the hunt  itself. James's married women never l i v e h a p p i l y ever a f t e r .  Some o f the more s u p e r f i c i a l ones d e v i s e s o l u t i o n s o f a s o r t ; thus the f r i v o l o u s Countess Gemini o f The P o r t r a i t o f a Lady works around her husband as i f he were an inanimate o b s t a c l e , scheming  t o get as many p r e t t y d r e s s e s and as much  v a c a t i o n time i n Rome as she can.  L y d i a Touchett  ( i n the  same novel) i s so w i l l f u l t h a t she has v i r t u a l l y separated from her husband, v i s i t i n g him o n l y one month o f the y e a r , and t h a t e n t i r e l y on her own  terms.  But f o r the e a r n e s t  i d e a l i s t s l i k e I s a b e l Archer marriage i s an enormous r e s p o n s i bility,  and even when i t proves t o be a hideous mistake  cannot b r i n g h e r s e l f t o d i s s o l v e i t .  she  James i s p r e o c c u p i e d  w i t h the i r o n c l a d aspects of the marriage c o n t r a c t and shows i n The Golden Bowl what s a c r i f i c e s and compromises must be made i f c e r t a i n marriages o f q u e s t i o n a b l e q u a l i t y are to be preserved i n t a c t .  The s a c r i f i c e s u s u a l l y i n v o l v e the woman's  r e l i n q u i s h i n g her i n d i v i d u a l i t y , as C h a r l o t t e does, o r  -138-  a c c e p t i n g , as Maggie does, a flawed human mate i n s t e a d o f the golden god she thought she had secured.  Marriage i s  never synonymous w i t h s e c u r i t y , and f o r James the a l t a r i s the b e g i n n i n g , not t h e end, o f the s t o r y . L i k e h i s women, James's men a r e n o t happy e i t h e r . of  little  Men  c h a r a c t e r , l i k e P r i n c e Amerigo o f The Golden Bowl  and G i l b e r t Osmond o f The P o r t r a i t o f a Lady begin f u l l o f c y n i c a l c o n f i d e n c e t h a t a r i c h w i f e i s a l l they need t o make life  easy, t o open up g l i t t e r i n g realms o f p o s s i b i l i t i e s .  They l e a r n , however, t h a t n o t h i n g i s as simple as i t appears, and t h a t every commitment, however l i g h t l y involves obligations.  undertaken,  Amerigo must forego a d i v e r t i n g  affair  w i t h another woman and become a domesticated f a m i l y man; Osmond l e a r n s t h a t h i s i n t e n s e young b r i d e can be broken i n s p i r i t and s t i l l  not submit, s t i l l  not s u b s c r i b e t o h i s  bleak, c o r r u p t view of the u n i v e r s e . James's businessmen  e x p e r i e n c e f a i l u r e and d i s a p p o i n t -  ment as w e l l , most o f t e n when they attempt t o use t h e i r tunes t o buy happiness and l o v e . of  The American  G a l l a n t C h r i s t o p h e r Newman  i s doomed i n h i s naive wish t o marry the  daughter o f haughty French a r i s t o c r a t s . of his  Powerful Adam Verver  The Golden Bowl uses h i s money t o c o n t r o l the b e h a v i o r o f w i f e and son-in-law, though he cannot c o n t r o l t h e i r  tions. for  for-  affec  A b e l Gaw and Horton V i n t o f The Ivory Tower l i v e o n l y  money and t h e i r human a f f e c t i o n s w i t h e r i n consequence.  -139-  The most s e n s i t i v e group of male c h a r a c t e r s i n James's f i c t i o n i s admirably Ambassadors. istic,  represented  by Lambert S t r e t h e r of  Strether i s altogether admirable—modest,  e n t h u s i a s t i c and  r e l a t i o n s h i p e x i s t i n g between two  of the  Thus h i s k i n d  i s no more a guarantee of happiness  success  i n l i f e than are the more r u t h l e s s and  natures  of h i s f e l l o w males i n James's f i c t i o n .  James b e l i e v e d t h a t r e a l and  real  of h i s f r i e n d s , i t i s e a s i l y  destroyed when h i s i l l u s i o n i s s h a t t e r e d . s e n s i t i v e nature  altru-  c h i l d - l i k e i n h i s response to P a r i s .  But s i n c e h i s happiness i s based on h i s ignorance  ble  The  and  and  egotistical  l a s t i n g happiness i s p o s s i -  only to the a r t i s t , and p o s s i b l e o n l y under c e r t a i n c o n d i -  tions.  The  a r t i s t can o n l y experience  l a s t i n g happiness when  he r e a l i z e s t h a t he has  done "the great t h i n g , " produced the  very b e s t work he can.  T h i s r e a l i z a t i o n of the i d e a l  can  o n l y take p l a c e i f the a r t i s t turns a l l h i s a t t e n t i o n to h i s art.  He must l i v e i n the r e a l world  l u t e l y necessary  i n order t o earn a l i v i n g and d e a l w i t h  p r a c t i c a l problems of l i f e who in  no more than i s abso-  i n a cursory fashion.  hopes to achieve h i s i d e a l must eschew any  The  the  artist  involvement  the d e l u s o r y , t r a n s i t o r y happiness t h a t presents  itself  as l o v e and marriage. James's a r t i s t s a l l have a v i s i o n of the i d e a l , but of them are w i l l i n g o r able to make the necessary to tor  attain i t .  Roderick  sacrifices  Hudson i s a flamboyant B r y o n i c  d r i v e n to d e s p a i r and r u i n by h i s hopeless  few  love f o r  sculp-  -140-  Christina Light.  Urbane Henry S t . George of "The Lesson o f  the Master" p r o s t i t u t e s h i s a r t by d e v o t i n g h i m s e l f t o m a t e r i a l comforts f o r h i m s e l f and h i s f a m i l y , but he i s always aware of j u s t how  f a r he has f a l l e n from h i s o r i g i n a l  g r e a t n e s s , and t h a t awareness i s a hollow ache i n h i s s o u l . Paul Overt, i n the same t a l e , r a i l s b i t t e r l y at S t . George's dictum t h a t the a r t i s t can e i t h e r be g r e a t or be the one or the o t h e r — b u t s u p p l i e s a p r a c t i c a l of  i t s truth.  married—  demonstration  P i t i f u l N e i l Paraday of "The Death of the  L i o n " i s l i t e r a l l y l i o n i z e d t o death by s t u p i d , t h o u g h t l e s s people to  (notably London H o s t e s s e s ) , d e s p i t e the f u t i l e  efforts  s h i e l d him made by h i s more p e r c e p t i v e f r i e n d . In  The T r a g i c Muse, h i s most extended  and  ambitious  study of the p o s s i b l e c o n f l i c t s the a r t i s t experiences when he i s drawn to l i f e art,  and y e t wishes  t o do f u l l  j u s t i c e to his  James p o r t r a y s Nick Dormer and Miriam Rooth.  the blandishments  For Dormer  of the g r e a t world are money, p e r s o n a l  r e c o g n i t i o n and fame as a member of p a r l i a m e n t , and the s a t i s f a c t i o n of p l e a s i n g h i s demanding mother and He renounces  a l l t h i s to p a i n t p o r t r a i t s but i s unable t o  hold f a s t to h i s r e s o l u t i o n . to  fiancee.  Nick i s g r a d u a l l y drawn back  h i s o l d i n t e r e s t s and r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s  l i a m e n t a r y one)  ( a l l save h i s par-  and h i s a r t l a n g u i s h e s f o r want of a t t e n t i o n .  On the o t h e r hand Miriam Rooth i s an i n t r i g u i n g study of a r t i s t i c ambition t h a t d e f e r s t o no-one and n o t h i n g . is  Miriam  so c e r t a i n she can do g r e a t work t h a t she o r i g i n a l l y seems  -141-  u t t e r l y immodest, g r o t e s q u e l y e g o t i s t i c a l . right.  But Miriam i s  As o p p o r t u n i t i e s a r i s e and h e r g r e a t t a l e n t i s nour-  i s h e d by h e r i n d e f a t i g a b l e e f f o r t s , the e f f e c t s she produces on the stage j u s t i f y h e r o r i g i n a l extravagant c l a i m s . Miriam does not swerve f o r l o v e ; she marries o n l y t o secure an a s t u t e b u s i n e s s manager whose i n t e r e s t i n h e r c a r e e r i s e q u a l l y as i n t e n s e as hers Miriam's  ( a l b e i t r a t h e r more a v a r i c i o u s ) .  success i s p e r s o n a l and d a z z l i n g because she i s  wholly committed t o h e r a r t . In  James's f i c t i o n there i s no l a s t i n g happiness, no  sense o f achievement o r f u l f i l m e n t t o be found i n the scramble  t o marry w e l l which c o n s t i t u t e s the l i f e  g i r l s o f Europe, England and America.  o f the young  Marriage i t s e l f i s  the most inhumane o f i n s t i t u t i o n s i n which women immure themselves, s a c r i f i c i n g a l l t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l i t y .  Men cannot be  happy e i t h e r i n marriage o r i n b u s i n e s s , f o r i n marriage they tend t o be b r u t a l o r i n s e n s i t i v e , w h i l e i n b u s i n e s s they subjugate t h e i r moral and a e s t h e t i c senses t o a c q u i s i t i v e ones, t o the detriment o f the man h i m s e l f and a l l those w i t h whom he l i v e s . successful i n l i f e ,  Nor a r e the r a r e , g e n t l e , s e n s i t i v e men f o r they tend t o base t h e i r own h a p p i -  ness on the a c t i o n s o f o t h e r people, a p r e c a r i o u s f o u n d a t i o n . C r e a t i v e happiness o f the s o r t known by the a r t i s t i s the only k i n d one can depend upon, but i t r e q u i r e s a b s o l u t e commitment.  The a r t i s t who would achieve greatness  cannot  permit h i m s e l f t o be overwhelmed by the o r d i n a r y concerns o f  -142-  daily l i f e .  He cannot a f f o r d t o l o v e , he cannot a f f o r d t o  marry, f o r he cannot g i v e hostages t o f o r t u n e .  Similarly  he  cannot pay too much a t t e n t i o n to f l a t t e r e r s and t o q u e s t i o n s of h i s m a t e r i a l wealth.  The a r t i s t must be a man  or woman  u n l i k e o t h e r s , s a c r i f i c i n g a l l e a r t h l y v a n i t i e s to h i s one ideal vision.  Only by making t h i s a b s o l u t e commitment can  he achieve the happiness which c o n s i s t s o f knowing t h a t he has done the b e s t work t h a t i s i n him.  -143-  Bibliography Auchincloss, Louis.  Reading Henry James.  Minneapolis:  Univ. o f Minnesota P r e s s , 1975. B e a t t i e , Munro.  "The Many Marriages o f Henry James."  P a t t e r n s of Commitment Marston La France.  i n American  Toronto:  Literature.  In Ed.  Univ. of Toronto P r e s s ,  1967, pp. 93-112. Buitenhuis, Peter.  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