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Henry James and the Poetics of Duplicity

Editor(s): Dennis Tredy, Annick Duperray and Adrian Harding

Book Description

Henry James and the Poetics of Duplicity aims to advance the field of studies on the life and work of Henry James by fully exploring the author’s use of duplicity, one of the key literary and rhetorical strategies within the author’s vast and infamous arsenal of techniques of ‘ambiguity’. The collection brings together essays by both long established and more recent Jamesian scholars from eleven different countries, the collective work of whom, through this publication, further enhances our grasp of the ever-elusive literary style of Henry James.

The prefatory section of this volume provides a general overview of the myriad uses of ‘duplicity’ in the writings of Henry James. The collected essays are then divided into five sections, each providing an in-depth study of a particular use of duplicity as a rhetorical strategy. The first three sections focus on duplicitous devices employed within James’s works of fiction – including the author’s often underhanded use of undisclosed literary sources (‘Duplicitous Subtexts’), his staging of characters who rely on subterfuge and outright lying (‘Duplicitous Characters’), and his creation of doubles and doppelgängers – another key connotation of the term ‘duplicity’ – both within a single work and throughout his literary career (‘Duplicitous Representation’). The two final sections then focus the poetics of duplicity employed in works of non-fiction by James, including his autobiographies and his reviews of other authors, as well as in his personal writings and correspondence. This includes James’s guileful use of duplicity in his representation of himself, particular attention being paid to James’s late works of self-assessment (‘Duplicitous Self-Representation’), as well as in his assessments of other writers in his reviews or of certain places in his travel writing (‘Duplicitous Judgements’).

Henry James and the Poetics of Duplicity would thus be a great asset to scholars of James at all levels, from the student grappling with James’s literary sleight of hand for the first time, to specialists in the field of James who have long studied the masterful art of James’s literary trickery.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-4417-8
ISBN-10: 1-4438-4417-9
Date of Publication: 01/03/2013
Pages / Size: 275 / A5
Price: £44.99


Dennis Tredy is an Associate Professor at the University of Paris III – Sorbonne Nouvelle, where he teaches American Literature and Creative Writing. He has published numerous articles on the works of Henry James, Truman Capote and Vladimir Nabokov, and his doctoral thesis of 2002 dealt with ‘The “Innocent Reflector” and Its Function in the Works of Henry James’s “Experimental Period”’. His most recent studies of Henry James have dealt with the reception of James’s work in Europe, with James’s reception of English and French authors, and with film adaptations of the works of James.

Annick Duperray is Emeritus Professor of American Literature at the Université of Provence (Aix-Marseille Université). She is volume editor for two of the four volumes of the critical edition of Henry James’s Nouvelles complètes (Editions Gallimard/Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, 2003). Her publications include an analytical study of Henry James’s tales, Echec et écriture: essai sur les nouvelles d’Henry James (1993) and a contribution to Henry James in Context (edited by David McWhirter, Cambridge University Press, 2010). She also edited The Reception of Henry James in Europe (Continuum Books, 2006).

Adrian Harding teaches Comparative Literature at the American University of Paris and American Literature at the University of Provence (Aix-Marseille Université). Besides poetry, his publications include Blinds, a Study of the Aesthetics of Fiction (Lebeer Hossmann, 1985) and A Survey of English Literature: The 20th Century (Dunod, 1992). He has written extensively on modern narrative, on poetics and on contemporary art, including articles on realism and narrative poetics in Henry James. His most recent book, with photographs by Alecio de Andrade and preface by Edgar Morin, is Louvre Blinds: Le Louvre et ses visiteurs (Le Passage, 2009).

The three volume editors are also the founding members of the European Society of Jamesian Studies, an international group of academics dedicated to furthering research on the work and influence of Henry James.