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American Literature

Confidence by Henry James

By Henry James

Retail caliber AZW3.

Confidence, considered one of Henry James’s early and lesser-known novels, is the captivating tale of a couple of yankee expatriates—an artist and a scientist—traveling during the nice towns of Europe.

Romantic problems happen whilst the 2 previous associates come across very diverse ladies on their travels, proposals and rejections persist with, yet all ends fortunately for everyone.

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EL 60–1) This passage—energized by lurching perspectives, fleeting tropes, the masterful use of halting phrasal rhythms that compel us forward even as we have to read and reread in order to fully absorb the content, and the variations on a theme of rebirth or metamorphosis—may stand as an exemplary sample of Emerson’s aesthetic, informed to some extent by Coleridgean organicism but by no means susceptible to the modernist pressures for closure that would later make his writings so troubling to midcentury aestheticians.

And our awareness that we are not what we have always been . . and not what we are inevitably becoming . . ”40 The always quixotic effort to create a literary text may be of such compelling interest because it is so analogous to the always vulnerable process of forming a self, a personality, a viable subjectivity within a history that often seems disappointing. The experience of constructing such a self—the experience of chance-andparticularity, of metonymy and metaphor—may be precisely what leads the critic to adopt its inverse: those grand explanatory narratives that buffer the psyche made anxious by contingency and uncertainty.

A decade later, the Essays were voted the nation’s greatest literary treasure in the Critic’s 1893 poll, and in 1903 an authoritative edition of Emerson’s works, edited and annotated in a gesture of filiopiety by his son Edward Waldo Emerson, would commemorate the centenary of his birth. Tracing the widespread sanctification of Emerson in the Gilded Age challenges schematic versions of canonicity that have arisen in the past two decades. For in fact the process of canonization as it was exerted on Emerson cannot properly be described either as monolithic or even consistently interested in enshrining the dominant culture.

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