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Title:"Money from elsewhere": Donorship and the romance form in the novels of Henry James
Author(s):Cupp, Jeffery Earnest
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Baym, Nina
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, American
Abstract:Most critics agree that Henry James's novels fit in the category of romance, but within certain limitations. While James constantly reverts back to the typical romance plot, occasionally with melodramatic details, he also displays dissatisfaction with the limits of such a plot, showing the typical romance ending to be mostly wish-fulfillment. The best way to deal with this contradictory representation is by locating and analyzing those details which are common to all of the novels, such as the presence of a donor figure and money, and to chart the development of these elements over the course of his career.
Most of James's novels feature a donor (using Vladimir Propp's terminology) who underwrites the protagonist's quest, usually with the gift of money. In each case the donor is a representation of a historical type, either a banker, capitalist, or inheritor of accumulated wealth. In the traditional romance plot donation liberates the protagonist, but in the Jamesian version the initial liberation is followed by entanglements which negate the freedom promised by money. In the middle novels onward the size of the gift and the power associated with money turns the donation into a purchase, making the recipient into an employee instead of a hero of romance. Finally James establishes in the later novels a category which he calls "energy" or "life," which includes the existential actions of the characters, and where the influence of the donation can be counteracted to some degree.
Issue Date:1988
Description:238 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1988.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8823114
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1988

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