Aesthetic Persuasion: Henry James, the Jews, and Race

University Press of America, 1996 - 252 páginas
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This book offers a multi-disciplinary approach to Jewish imagery in the writings of Henry James. To date, it is the first and only full-length book devoted entirely to a consideration of the ethnic, especially Jewish, matter in the work of Henry James. The book's central concern is to show that James presented a particular aesthetic perception of the Jews. The author does this by tracing James's ideas about Jews in childhood impressions, in personal and intellectual contacts and in notions presented in his writings. This highly analytical and insightful study will appeal to a broad audience, from literary and intellectual historians concerned with anti-Semitism and racism, to courses on anti-Semitism and racism in departments of history and English or, more broadly, social studies and humanities. Contents: Preface; Acknowledgements; Introduction; Chapter 1: Impressionable Years; Chapter 2: Imaginary Jews; Chapter 3: Jews Real and Imagined; Chapter 4: A Peek at Obsession; Chapter 5: The Best His Tales Could Tell; Chapter 6: The Diffident Democrat; Chapter 7: Jews in the Master's Mind; Chapter 8: Return of the Native; Chapter 9: Final Observations; Notes; Bibliography; Index.

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The importance of this book is the author's use of multiple factors, e.g. James's writings on Jews, psychological profiles of anti-Semites, historical context of anti-Semitism in the US in the 19th- and early 20th-century, to present James's polite but insidious perception of Jews. Although the matter of race as discussed in this book has been superseded by current knowledge of the human genome, this book anticipates the genome's proof against race theories dating back to the nineteenth century. One critic has said that this book is the most complete catalogue of Henry James's Jewish imagery. 


Impressionable Years
Imaginary Jews
Jews Real and Imagined
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Acerca del autor (1996)

Eli Ben-Joseph, Ph.D. is Coordinator in the English Department of Western Galilee College in Israel.

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