THE MODERNIST DIMENSIONS OF HENRY JAMES? TWO MASTERWORKS: THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY (1881) AND THE AMBASSADORS (1903)

Abstract

Author(s): Shirzad AL?POUR Hasan NASS?R

The early twentieth century is usually dubbed the starting-point of modern literature, but prior to the 1900s a string of novels was written by Henry James in which a slight break with the previous narrative tradition can be starkly observed. The most significant elements which separate modern tradition from the conventional one include: “point of view, interior monologue, stream-ofconsciousness, fragmented narratives, extreme subjectivity and broken chronology” (Professor Grant Voth). In this study, I want to deal with these elements as developed by Henry James in the late 1880s to the last stages of his career. The first part of this essay will take into account why Henry James is usually seen as the major discoverer of modern novel (or at least the one whose roots can be traced back to him) and his main contribution to the genre and the second part would survey the characteristics described above at play within the two eponymous novels of this essay. At the end I would sum up the framework of my essay in a unified conspectus

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