Using Freudian and post-Freudian theories, Henry James's fiction is reinterpreted as an arena of linguistic and sexual interaction. Through readings of novels including
The American and
TheGolden Bowl, it is argued that James's work, like Freud's itself, can be read as representative and revealing of social and psychological forces, and then reread as a product of these same forces. The emphasis is not biographical but, through employing such theorists as Lacan and Kristeva, textual, wherein textuality becomes the field of disclosure for sexuality. The traditional Jamesian narrative of the passage from innocence is reformulated as both the characterized virgins' and the texts' entrance into the complexities of the sociosexual order.