Henry James and the Philosophical Novel breaks fresh ground by examining James's unique position as a philosophical novelist, closely associated with the climate of ideas generated by his brother, William, and his father, the elder Henry. The book offers a detailed consideration of story-telling as a mode of philosophical enquiry, showing how a range of distinguished thinkers have relied on fictional narrative as a vital technique for formulating and clarifying their ideas. At the same time, it investigates (with close reference to his novels) the affiliations between James's practice as a novelist and the epistemological, moral, and linguistic concerns pursued by members of the Phenomenological Movement. The study brings to light striking similarities between James's later works and the philosophical project of Merleau-Pony; and emphasises James's growing attraction to, and versatility with, deconstructive strategies such as those later employed by Jacques Derrida.
"Merle A. Williams's book is a welcome addition to the growing library on James and philosophy." Jonathan Levin, The Henry James Review