Category Archives: Literary Criticism

Dissertation

Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem

Bölcsészettudományi Kar

DOKTORI DISSZERTÁCIÓ

Pokol Ágnes

A RECIPROCITÁS MEGJELENÉSI FORMÁI HENRY JAMES MŰVEIBEN: SZOCIOLÓGIAI SZEMPONTÚ ELEMZÉSEK

THE CONCEPT OF RECIPROCITY IN HENRY JAMES’S FICTION:

A SOCIOLOGICAL APPROACH

 

Irodalomtudományi Doktori Iskola

A doktori iskola vezetője: Kulcsár Szabó Ernő akadémikus

Modern angol és amerikai irodalom program

A program vezetője: Péter Ágnes CSc, habilitált egyetemi tanár

A bizottság tagjai és tudományos fokozatuk:

Elnök: Kállay Géza PhD, habilitált egyetemi tanár

Hivatalosan felkért bírálók: Dr. Takács Ferenc PhD, Kovács Ágnes Zsófia PhD

Titkár: Friedrich Judit CSc

További tagok: Juhász Tamás PhD

Kállay G. Katalin PhD

Komáromy Zsolt PhD

A témavezető és tudományos fokozata: Sarbu Aladár DSc

Budapest, 2010

DOKTORI DISSZERTÁCIÓ

THE CONCEPT OF RECIPROCITY IN HENRY JAMES’S FICTION:

A SOCIOLOGICAL APPROACH

POKOL ÁGNES

2010

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Part I. introduction11

PART II. “CAPITAL” BEGINNINGS40

1. Looking Ralph Touchett’s gift-horse in the mouth40

2. Putting Ralph in context: The evolution of the “benefactor” in James’s early fiction43

3. Patronage in exchange for entertainment: Mr. Sloane, the benefactor

in “A Light Man”44

4. “The fashioning of a wife to order”: Ward as “losing investment”

or the successful kindling of “passionate gratitude” to form an

eternal bond?47

5. “Hammering away at it”: The creative benefactor’s abortive attempt at

an artwork, namely the formation of his beneficiary into a successful

artist—Rowland and Roderick52

6. Wanted: The “best article in the market,” a “first-class wife” embodying

all the best in Europe, so as to “perch on the pile” of Christopher Newman62

7. The dying Longstaff’s proposal of marriage: An attempt at living by proxy

or the coveting of a moment’s happiness?72

PART III. THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY75

1. Benefactor and/or collector: A question of disposition and/or means?75

2. Isabel the beneficiary84

3. Emerson’s daughter put to the test87

4. Isabel the “new individualist” á la Wilde90

5. A gilded or a coveted cage?96

6. To return or not to return?110

7. Indisposed Isabel: A tentative conclusion115

PART IV. THE WINGS OF THE DOVE117

1. The return of the American girl: A “very young/old motif” resurfaces117

2. James’s “Theorys” prior to The Wings: Mildred Theory as the Ur-Milly

Theale and further presagements119

3. The riddle of the point(s) of view and some enigmas thereof125

4. Lancaster Gate revisited: The “workers” and/are the “worked”136

5. Do ut des (“I give so that you may give”)140

6. The central “vessel of sensibility”: Milly in focus152

i. Á la recherche de soi-même: Mademoiselle Theale and

Monsieur Lacan155

ii. The Bronzino picture as mirror: Milly’s misrecognition160

iii. “Pre-Susan” Milly in the flowing robes of the Pre-Raphaelite woman….166

iv. Another Wildean: Milly the (aesthetic) critic169

v. Milly—La belle dame sans/avec merci175

7. But what about the biblical allusions?—A very short chapter180

8. Milly the “beatus artifex“: Yet another tentative conclusion183

PART V. THE GOLDEN BOWL186

1. Intro186

2. Gifts: Quantity and quality192

3. The gratitude issue196

4. An inquiry into the issue of humans as gifts and what they think

(/how they feel) about it203

i. Passive Prince placing himself in the lurch203

ii. Charlotte as the embodiment of the “force of circumstances”209

5. A brief excursus on erotic capital213

6. “Human acquisitions”: The point of view of the giver—Ververian monism,

reification, solipsism215

7. Simply phenomenal: Maggie’s hermeneutical quest211

8. And the winner is… : Maggie’s (Lacanian) mission completed229

9. “Outro”236

PART VI. STOCK-TAKING (CONCLUSION)241

PART VII. WORKS CONSULTED245

 

For Robert

Do ut des

(Latin for “I give so that you may give”)

[…] everyone who had anything to give […] made the sharpest possible bargain for it, got at least its value in return. The strangest thing furthermore was that this might be in cases a happy understanding. The worker in connexion was the worked in another; it was as broad as it was long—with the wheels of the system, as might be seen, wonderfully oiled. People could quite like each other in the midst of it.” (The Wings of the Dove)

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Nothing could be more in key with the topic of this dissertation than the manifestation of heartfelt gratitude to all of those who have helped me complete it. My family, the sine qua non of my existence, I sincerely hope that every member of it similarly feels the indescribable happiness that stems from being surrounded, helped, and loved by such a group of individuals. Robert, I thank you for everything; your love, your support (spiritual and financial), and not least of all your role as “the native” who has made sure that my style of writing has not taken me beyond the bounds of the English language (grazie infinite per il miglior fabbro). Professor Aladár Sarbu, my intellectual guide and mentor not only on this project, but also during the whole of my university life. He introduced me to James and assisted me in going deeply into the intricate but inimitable world of our shared favorite. Ágnes Kovács, who has given me helpful tips concerning the structure and the theoretical framework of this study; Ágnes, I thank you for the “invaluable trio” of Martha Nussbaum, Lionel Trilling, and Winfried Fluck. Tamás Juhász, whose dissertation on the exchange mechanisms in Joseph Conrad’s work has given me inspiration and has been my exemplar as to a multidisciplinary analysis. Ildikó Simon, my patient and resourceful helper in laying hold of, photocopying, and sending a large part of the material needed for this work.

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