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The Wings of the Dove and the Morbid

  • Andrew Cutting

Abstract

What, for a novelist or a novel reader, is a proper degree of interest in mortality? Is The Wings of the Dove, with its protracted and convoluted story of Milly Theale’s death, an unhealthy novel — one that only morbid readers would choose as their favourite among James’s works? By what techniques does this novel aim to fascinate readers in its heroine’s demise?

Keywords

Final Chapter Mass Readership Late Style Affective Ambivalence Modernist Narrative 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Susan Sontag, Illness and Metaphor (New York: Farrar, 1977), pp. 30–5Google Scholar
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  3. 2.
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  4. 3.
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  5. 5.
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  8. 8.
    William Greenslade, Degeneration, Culture and the Novel (Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press, 1994), pp. 211–19.Google Scholar
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    Henry James, The Bostonians in Novels 1881–1886 (New York: Library of America, 1985), p. 810.Google Scholar
  10. 14.
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    Henry James, Preface to The Altar of the Dead, The Beast in the Jungle, The Birthplace, and Other Tales (New York: Scribner’s, 1909), p. ix.Google Scholar
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    Henry James, Washington Square in Novels 1881–1886 (New York: Library of America, 1985), p. 177; hereafter cited as WS.Google Scholar
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    See, for example, Martha Banta, Taylorised Lives: Narrative Productions in the Age of Taylor, Vehlen, and Ford (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), p. 75.Google Scholar
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    See, for example, Michael Anesko, ‘Friction with the Market’: Henry James and the Profession of Authorship (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986), p. 143Google Scholar
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  22. 33.
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  23. 34.
    Gert Buelens, Introduction to Enacting History in Henry James: Narrative, Power, and Ethics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), p. 8. Reinhard takes a similar view of the reader’s responsibility for mourning Milly.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 35.
    Dorothea Krook, The Ordeal of Consciousness in Henry James (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1962), pp. 220–1.Google Scholar
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  27. 38.
    Robert Pippin, Henry James and Modern Moral Life (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), p. 177.Google Scholar

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© Andrew Cutting 2005

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  • Andrew Cutting

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