Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Fellow in the Humanities
2012—2013 Forum on Peripheries
Peripheral Realisms: Supernatural Exiles in James Joyce and Henry James
James Joyce and Henry James are brought together by a set of well-explored aesthetic and biographical similarities, namely their commitment to an elliptical, ambiguous style; their cosmopolitan, émigré lifestyles; and their frequent returns to their homelands in writing. In both authors' work, the questions of exile and nationality are often explored through supernatural devices, with such stories as "The Jolly Corner" and "The Dead" reaching their narrative climax through the appearance of a ghost. This suggests that the natural experience of exile contains something beyond realist or 'natural' notation, something that poses a representational problem solved through supernatural means. The investigation of the stakes of this problem and effects of its resolution in the two authors' work will serve to illuminate the core problem of the representation of the movement between center and periphery exhibited by émigrés like themselves.