A Strategy of Delusion: A Confused and Confusing Perspective (pp.62-63)

Christian Gutleben

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Abstract :
International audience
This essay attempts to analyse the complex strategy at work in the passage presenting Densher' s discovery of Aunt Maud' s rich quarters. Narrated in internai focalisation, this descriptive excerpt apparently reveals an opposition between a world of things and a world of thoughts, between Aunt Maud's materialism and Densher's intellectualism. However, such a dualistic opposition appears fundamentally misleading and the focaliser's oxymoronic perception of the place's splendid vulgarity betrays as much fascination as repulsion, as much temptation as rejection. What this scene of the protagonist' s initiation to the world of wealth eventually shows is, partly, his ambiguous entanglement or inclusion in such unlofty considerations and, mainly,his axiological divergence from his beloved Kate' s unmitigated adherence to this world of things. The strong sense of epiphanic drive and the numerous metatextual hints strewn throughout this passage with both metonymic and metaphoric devices essentially illustrate James's precursory modernist art.
Published : 2020
Document Type : Journal articles


Christian Gutleben, « A Strategy of Delusion: A Confused and Confusing Perspective (pp.62-63) », Cycnos, 2020. URL : https://hal.science/hal-04146810