PJAS 9-2

Jacek Gutorow, “That Possible Immunity in Things”: Melancholic Interiors and Secret Objects in Henry James’s The Ivory Tower
Polish Journal for American Studies, vol. 9, 2015, p. 21-33.

Abstract: Henry James’s inability to complete The Ivory Tower is one of the most regrettable failures in the history of the XX century American literature. This unfinished work might have become James’s great American novel: both a personal vision and an interpretation of his native land, its landscapes, its people, even its light and its textures. As it is, The Ivory Tower turns out to be an exorcism of the past and an attempt to discover in one’s memory something that would give sanction to the present moment. James achieves this by focusing on the novel’s objects and interiors and by showing how they evade our interpretive efforts and cognitive pursuits. What remains is the liberating mystery of the ordinary things as they resist the routine of our expectations and preconceptions.

Keywords: Henry James, The Ivory Tower, melancholy, the ordinary

DOI: 10.7311/PJAS.9/2015/2

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