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Henry James Goes to War

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Edited By Miroslawa Buchholtz, Dorota Guttfeld and Grzegorz Koneczniak

Within the past decades, Henry James has been seen going to the movies and to Paris, both far more likely destinations for him than battlefields of the modern world. Sending him off to war seems to be a preposterous idea, but the exaggeration inscribed in the title of the present volume is meant to stress the historicity of wars and battles underlying James’s life and work, quite apart from conflict on which literature thrives at all times. The book consists of five parts devoted to various forms and aspects of conflict. It deals with both literal and metaphorical battles of which the author was aware or in which he was involved. Apart from addressing James’s attitude to two major conflicts, the Civil War and World War One, the articles range from critical discussions of James’s biography, criticism, and fiction, to studies of the intertextual connections between his œuvre and works of both past and present authors.
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Postcolonising Henry James: Confrontations

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Grzegorz Koneczniak, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń

Introduction

The following essay seeks to juxtapose critical discussions on Henry James and his works in the context of postcolonial studies. The very thought of the possible link between postcolonialism and Henry James, prior to any research into the writer’s life and work, results from a three-fold justification. First, it is British imperialism as well as its demise following the outbreak of World War I that serve as a background against which James’s works can be historically placed. On the one hand, the period was characterised by cultural hegemony, colonial discourse and the process of othering, and, on the other hand, it gave rise to national consciousness, counter-discursiveness and nationalism. The period itself is frequently analysed by postcolonial scholars; however, James’s works remain rather unexplored, as argued, for instance, by Annick Duperray and Jeremy Tambling (2012: 451), and which is the second reason for the present study. Finally, when I typed in the combination of words “Henry James” and “postcolonialism” on the Internet, I was directed to some conference programmes: namely, “Transforming Henry James,” the conference held in Rome (2011), and “The International Henry James Conference,” held in Ankara (2013).

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