Eric Haralson examines the far-reaching alterations in gender politics and the emergence of recent male homosexuality in writings of Henry James and 3 authors vastly prompted by means of him: Willa Cather, Gertrude Stein, and Ernest Hemingway. Emphasizing American masculinity portrayed in fiction among 1875 and 1935, Haralson strains James' engagement with sexual politics from his first novels of the 1870s to his "major section" on the flip of the century.
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Additional info for Henry James and Queer Modernity (Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture)
Of God is familiar with what” – is the presence of captivating younger masculinity (N 393). even supposing Strether, back approximating James, owes his own development to ladies up to Chad does, that marks the restrict in their conceivable “service” to him (A 332). Importantly, he belongs to an more and more noticeable kind of American manhood, as defined in a latest magazine: “able to take pleasure in to the whole the esoteric sights of womankind – the sympathetic intelligence, the grace, the wit,” but “holding himself within the innermost sanctuary of his middle. ”59 If Marie de Vionnet inspires superlatives, that's, she captivates Strether as a rule because the one that has produced the “miracle” of Chad by way of an articulate ardour of wish that he can merely “dumbly,” vaguely, and ineffectively mimic. As this displacement indicates, Strether is such a lot emotionally aware of Chad or to Bilham, now not in contrast to the writer who continuously sought to “add the deeper observe to our harmony”60 together with his personal appealing younger males: “[Strether and Chad] had by no means been so by myself jointly . . . that they had remained at the balcony, the place . . . the middle of the night air used to be scrumptious; and so they leaned again . . . opposed to the balustrade, all in concord with the chairs and the ﬂower-pots, the cigarettes and the starlight” (A 282–4). The charisma of male–male romance is unmistakable right here (the scene might be replayed usually in Cather), even if, back, libidinal task will get subtle, and within the technique pressured, by way of the very mechanics of masculine envy and symbolic substitution that time towards queer identiﬁcation and motivation within the ﬁrst position. whereas expecting Chad to come to his condo, Strether had felt “in ownership as he by no means but had been,” and but this emotion indicates extra of a romantic-vicarious reference to Bilham than with Chad, as emphasised within the reminder (already quoted) that Strether Masculinity within the Ambassadors 131 “hung over [Chad’s balcony] as he had visible little Bilham cling the day of his ﬁrst process” (A 281). Recalling that previous scene, although, the reader also will keep in mind that Strether have been lured to make his ﬁrst technique via the prospect that Bilham was once no longer Bilham yet “perhaps Chad altered” and that, in any occasion, Strether’s “rejoicing” on the time had much less to do with Bilham or with Chad than with the possibility of his personal ascent to get better the kingdom of feeling that either younger males emblematize, “youth [itself] within the hand over to the balcony” (A 69–70). therefore Strether may perhaps turn out to be intensely “alone jointly” with Chad at the balcony – that high Jamesian website for staging wish and tool as points of imaginative and prescient, as readers from Leo Bersani to Tom Lutz to Jonathan Levin have variously explicated61 – however the cumulative impact of his transferring recognition and the “queer” displacements of narrative standpoint is to name into query no matter if the “other” with whom Strether harmonizes is admittedly Chad, or as a substitute Chad as now a surrogate for Bilham (a neat reversal in their traditional relation), or maybe Chad as a simulacrum for the Strether who could have been: the main to be had embodiment, simply then, of the “queer concrete presence” that he had conjured up “at the witching hour” to symbolize “the substance of his loss” (A 281–2).