By J. Bradley
Henry James remained all through his existence fascinated with his boyhood and early manhood, and correspondingly on more youthful boys and males, and John R. Bradley illustrates the way it is within the context of such narcissism that James always handled male hope in his fiction. He additionally strains a extra refined yet comparable trajectory in James's writing from a Classical to a Modernist homosexual discourse, which in flip is proven to were paralleled by way of a shift in James's fiction from naturalistic beginnings to later stylistic evasion and obscurity. This radical e-book, which covers the complete of James's occupation, will quick be famous as a defining textual content during this rising box of James stories.
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Additional resources for Henry James's Permanent Adolescence
From a postgay liberation perspective it seems hardly surprising – given what were then profoundly inhibiting external pressures of law and society – that homosexuals such as James slipped into a voluntary kind of self-suppression, and that there was a shared feeling amongst homosexuals of his generation that it was perhaps inevitable that opportunities for sexual and emotional fulfilment might not be granted. In such circumstances, glimpses of happiness could easily necessitate a return, psychologically, to a period of adolescent homosexuality and male camaraderie, before a differentiation brought about by the realisation of sexual individuation was complicated by an unsuccessful initiation into adult heterosexuality.
The principal literary source of James’s knowledge of homosexuality in America was Walt Whitman, and his espousal of male camaraderie. 29 So it appears that James learned the rule that if there was no perceived threat to established notions of masculinity, there was unlikely to be any focus on the potentially subversive homosexual feelings. 30 Novick has shown that James remained hostile to effeminate men, whether homosexual or not, for the rest of his life,31 and this dislike of effeminacy in men would be as important an influence on him as his admiration of masculine homosexuality would be.
James and Aristodemo, who led us on serenely, a young Hermes in the transfiguring light. One almost looked for the winged feet and helmet of the messenger God! Mr. James paused – his eyes first on the boy, then on the surrounding scene. 54 In the first extract, James’s casually referred to but intense involvement is qualified by a universalising reference to art, and the boy undergoes an apotheosis into Eros. Aristodemo is said by Mrs Ward to be ‘like to a God in form and stature’, and her reference to him as a young Hermes similarly creates a refined, classical context.