Henry James and the Media Arts of Modernity: Commercial Cosmopolitanism, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Henry James and the Media Arts of Modernity

Commercial Cosmopolitanism, 1st Edition

By June Hee Chung


246 pages

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pub: 2019-03-21
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Henry James and the Media Arts of Modernity: Commercial Cosmopolitanism turns to the author’s late fiction, letters, and essays to investigate his contribution to the development of an American cosmopolitan culture, both in popular and high art. The book contextualizes James’s writing within a broader cultural and social history to uncover relationships among increasingly sensory-focused media technologies, mass-consumer practices, and developments in literary style when they spread to Europe at the inception of the era of big business. Combining cultural studies with neoclassical Marxism and postcolonial theory, the study addresses a gap in scholarship concerning the rise of literary modernism as a cosmopolitan phenomenon. Although scholars have traditionally acknowledged the international character of artists’ participation in this movement, when analyzing the contributions of American expatriate writers in Europe, they generally assume an unequal degree of reciprocity in transatlantic cultural exchange with European artists being more influential than American ones. This book argues that James identifies a cultural form of American imperialism that emerged out of a commercialized version of cosmopolitanism. Yet the author appropriates the arts of modernity when he realizes that art generated with the mechanized principles of mass-production spurred a diverse range of aesthetic responses to other early-twentieth century technological and organizational innovations.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations


Introduction Henry James, Commercial Cosmopolitanism, and the Historical Formation of Mass Culture

Chapter 1 Traditional Cosmopolitanism and Mass Culture in James’s Early Fiction

Chapter 2 The Anglo-American Newspaper Industry, Commercialized Celebrity, and the New Journalistic Style

Chapter 3 Writing Machines: The Question of Cosmopolitan Opportunities for

Mass-Produced Short Fiction

Chapter 4 Getting the Picture: American Corporate Advertising and the Rise of a

Cosmopolitan Visual Culture in The Ambassadors

Chapter 5 The Sacred in the Profane: "The Old Things" and Spiritual Realism in

Summersoft and The Wings of the Dove

Chapter 6 That "Rare Power of Purchase:" The Material Advantage of Acquiring

Cosmopolitan Skills in The Golden Bowl

Epilogue Art Consumption in James’s Last Writings


About the Author

June Hee Chung is Associate Professor of late-19th and early-20th Century American literature at DePaul University in Chicago. Her work centers on the intersections of commercial practices and cosmopolitanism in the arts. She has published essays on Henry James and economic history for American Literature, Cambridge University Press, and Routledge Press, and she is completing a book on American Orientalism and decorative material culture in early-20th century women’s fiction.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Twentieth-Century Literature

From Joyce to Rushdie, Modernism to Food Writing, Routledge Studies in Twentieth Century Literature looks at both the literature and culture of the 20th century. This series is our home for cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections. Considering literature alongside religion, popular culture, race, gender, ecology, travel, class, space, and other subjects, titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.

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