1st Edition

Henry James and the Media Arts of Modernity Commercial Cosmopolitanism

By June Hee Chung Copyright 2019
    260 Pages
    by Routledge

    258 Pages
    by Routledge

    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.

    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



    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.