From Daisy Miller to Isabel Archer to Maisie, female characters dominate the work of Henry James and, often, critical discussion of James's work. Donatella Izzo shifts that discussion to a different, more revealing, plane in this original interpretation of James's short fiction. By redirecting criticism from a biographical emphasis to a focus on James's engagement with the issues of representation, Izzo shows how these short stories actually question and investigate the cultural and ideological practices that produced women, both in literature and in society."" "Portraying the Lady" brings to light the experimental quality and inherent consistency of stories that have received little critical attention, all of which revolve around ideas at the core of the cultural representation of femininity at the time. Izzo shows how James, by testing and stretching these ideas in his imagery and plots, exposed and exploded the perverse logic and the ultimate implications of such culturally shared versions of femininity, thus revealing their oppressive quality for women and laying bare literature's complicity in reproducing and circulating them. Exposing James's texts as sensitive registers of women's roles during the Victorian-Edwardian era, this book demonstrates that his texts make readers aware of how those stereotypes operated. Blending literary, art, and feminist criticism with narratological analysis and postmodern theory, this groundbreaking work restores a formal awareness to James studies within the wider theoretical concerns of feminist, gender, and cultural critiques.
"In this thoughtful and incisive analysis, Donatella Izzo explores and elucidates James's treatment of the feminine and his dramatization of the attitudes and views toward women in his day. . . . Reading Portraying the Lady was rather like the experience of traveling by rail to a destination with which one is familiar, but by a route that was totally new and remarkably insightful. Izzo's itinerary was extremely interesting and significant, and example of how a journey of intellectual adventure can illuminate and inspire even though the point of arrival at journey's end is already known."-Richard P. Gage, Studies in the Novel -- Richard P. Gage * Studies in the Novel *
"Donatella Izzo's multi-layered, methodologically complex approach to Henry James's short stories makes a provocative and satisfying study. . . . Izzo's wide ranging, eclectic use of critics and theorists, combined with her own prodigious knowledge of and attention to James's fiction, produces a wealth of insight and prodigality of spirited readings. Even Jamesians not concerned with the short fiction under scrutiny here will find Izzo's book of interest." -- Sara deSaussure Davis * South Atlantic Review *
Contents:AcknowledgmentsIntroduction: The Manifold Arts of Re-visionPart 1. The Gaze: In the Museum of WomenConfrontations1. Women, Portraits, and Painters: "The Madonna of the Future" and "The Sweetheart of M. Briseux"2. Women, Statues, and Lovers: "The Last of the Valerii" and "Adina"Substitutions3. Woman as Object: "Rose-Agathe"4. Woman as Image: "Glasses"Epilogue 1. Woman as Museum: "Maud-Evelyn"Epilogue 2. The Memoirs of an Objectified Woman: "Julia Bride"Part 2. The Voice: Discourses of SilenceThe Regime of Confession5. Of Shame and Horror: "A London Life" and the Theatricals of Femininity6. Dying to Speak: "The Visits"The Regime of Secrecy7. Gender Trouble: "Georgina's Reasons"8. The Word Not to Say It: "The Story in It"Epilogue 3. The Silence of the Sphinx: "The Beast in the Jungle"The End of the Story, or Telling a Different Story: "Mora Montravers"NotesIndex