Henry James' Narrative Technique: Consciousness, Perception, by K. Boudreau

By K. Boudreau

Henry James Narrative process situates Henry James well-known process inside an rising modernist culture with roots in philosophical debates among rationalism and empiricism. This cogent examine considers James works within the context of nineteenth-century idea on cognizance, notion, and cognition. Kristin Boudreau makes the compelling argument that those philosophical discussions motivated James depictions of awareness and are critical to his narrative method.

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Henry James' Narrative Technique: Consciousness, Perception, and Cognition

Henry James Narrative process situates Henry James well-known approach inside of an rising modernist culture with roots in philosophical debates among rationalism and empiricism. This cogent research considers James works within the context of nineteenth-century inspiration on awareness, notion, and cognition.

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1 The result is a narrative voice that sometimes turns penitently against its earlier judgments. Miss Birdseye, the suffragist represented in an early chapter as a “confused, entangled, inconsequent, discursive old woman, whose charity began at home and ended nowhere, whose credulity kept pace with it, and who knew less about her fellow-creatures, if possible, after fifty years of humanitary zeal, than on the day she had gone into the field to testify against the iniquity of most arrangements” (55), assumes a more heroic presence in her final days, as she rests in a quiet fishing village awaiting her death.

It doesn’t matter that Miss Birdseye, in speaking of her long life and her many political accomplishments, offers the deathbed comment, “It has been a lovely time” (387), as if her life consisted of dances rather than temperance lectures to hostile Irish audiences, month-long passages in Georgia prisons, or the care of pestilential children (189). For Olive, the “frumpy little missionary was the last link in a tradition, and . . when she could be called away the heroic age of New England life—the age of plain living and high thinking, of pure ideals and earnest effort, of moral passion and noble experiment—would effectually be closed” (189).

Miss Birdseye, the suffragist represented in an early chapter as a “confused, entangled, inconsequent, discursive old woman, whose charity began at home and ended nowhere, whose credulity kept pace with it, and who knew less about her fellow-creatures, if possible, after fifty years of humanitary zeal, than on the day she had gone into the field to testify against the iniquity of most arrangements” (55), assumes a more heroic presence in her final days, as she rests in a quiet fishing village awaiting her death.

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