Henry James and the Second Empire

Angus Wrenn

Studies In Comparative Literature 14

Legenda

23 December 2008  •  210pp

ISBN: 978-1-906540-07-4 (hardback)  •  RRP £75, $99, €85

ISBN: 978-1-351194-39-6 (Taylor & Francis ebook)

ModernEnglishFiction


Three years spent in France, during the 'Second Empire' of Napoleon III, gave Henry James an early mastery of the French language and its literature. When he settled in Europe, as an adult, it was not in Britain but, briefly yet crucially, in Paris. This study identifies the 'missing link' in the history of James's literary engagement with France, between Balzac, revered throughout his career, and later French writers. It was Second Empire writers who spurred James's own contribution to the novel. While realism courted official displeasure, culminating in the prosecution of Flaubert's Madame Bovary, and closure of the radical Revue de Paris which serialized it, the conservative Revue des Deux Mondes (to which James subscribed) enjoyed imperial approval. James remained indebted to the authors published in its pages - Edmond About, Victor Cherbuliez, and Octave Feuillet - to his close friend Paul Bourget, and to the era's greatest playwright, Alexandre Dumas fils.

Angus Wrenn teaches Comparative Literature at the London School of Economics.

Reviews:

  • ‘The first sustained account of what are now regarded, fairly, as lesser writers of the Second Empire... and of their significance for James’s developing art. Wrenn offers an excellent analysis of the house journal for these writers, the Revue des deux mondes, a publication enthusiastically read by James.’ — unsigned notice, Forum for Modern Language Studies 47.1, January 2011

Bibliography entry:

Wrenn, Angus, Henry James and the Second Empire, Studies In Comparative Literature, 14 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2008)

First footnote reference: 35 Angus Wrenn, Henry James and the Second Empire, Studies In Comparative Literature, 14 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2008), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Wrenn, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Wrenn, Angus. 2008. Henry James and the Second Empire, Studies In Comparative Literature, 14 (Cambridge: Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Wrenn 2008: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Wrenn 2008: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)


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