Henry James (April 15, 1843 – February 28, 1916) was a very prolific writer, and his narrative fiction is a voluminous case of reading. The work in his major phase, on which the present project mainly focuses, is formally and thematically quite complicated and eccentric, and seems almost bizarre. On the other hand, modern literary theory and criticism, in the context of which I have attempted to read James, is a huge network of complicated ideas of which every nodal point, every theory or style of reading and thinking, has a link to every other nodal point. Therefore, reading James in the context of modern literary theory is beyond the scope of a doctoral research project, and needs perhaps the whole lifetime of a scholar. However, I have taken to write a doctoral research project on his fiction, because I think it has opened new ways to the institution of literature and its affiliations. The work of James has changed the ways of English literature, and has added much to its potential. Thanks to his contribution, a literary work is no longer only a store of information for passive or submissive reading, but is a space for interactive interpretation and critical appreciation. That is, James used language not as a means of communication but as a space of signification, a realm of representation. I attempt to present the arguments of this conclusion in two lines: (I) James, (II) structuralism and its aftermath. Firstly, I will sketch the influence of James in modernizing the "house of fiction" in two phases: (A) his stylistic innovations and technical skills, (B) his ideas about reading and representation. After that, I will discuss the applicability of some theories of (A) structuralism and (B) post-structuralism to the fiction of James. In this research "structuralism" is discussed as a general term which also laid the ground for deconstructive and new-historical ideas. At a glance, the American Henry James and the Swiss Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913) may be found as having little in common. But the fact that they were contemporaneous is perhaps not accidental. When World War I ended in 1918 (two years after the death of James and five years after that of Saussure), their contributions to literature and linguistics had provided the ground for a new series of innovative approaches to language and fiction. In this context, in the second part of this conclusion I will argue that the application of new 356 Chapter Eight: Conclusion ideas of language in the fiction of James is complementary to the structural theories of Saussure about language as a system of signs and relations, and that his fiction can therefore be analyzed structurally and post-structurally. I. James A. James’s Stylistic Innovations and Technical Skills In the later style of James the reader is usually less concerned with meaning. Instead, his main concern is the narrative form and technique, that is, how the story works. The application of the following and other narrative strategies and representational techniques in the fiction of James turn it into a perpetual search not for "substance" or meaning but for style and method: an "absolute and absent" search, the unreliable narrator, the indirect presentation, the "misplaced middle," the strategy of silence, the high capacity of dialogism, the confidant character, the nature of suspense, the circular movement of discourse, the changing "community of vision," nominalization and abstraction, the ‘in-between’ mode of discourse, the role of relations in his discourse, the "as if" technique that undermines perception as an epistemological certainty, the use of the past participle that makes perception inaccessible, and the characters who remain unknown to the end of his story. Searching for something in the story that is "absolute and absent" implies, in short, that a narrative does not have any single exhaustive meaning but is a design or a map for searching, a blueprint for interpretation. It is assumed that there is neither a final reading nor a final meaning, because a narrative is a language construction with many hidden layers of meaning which can be revealed in different (individual) readings. Nevertheless, the forms of modern narrative perpetually hide the meaning, so that reading means searching for something that is always absent. What is present is the absence of a final meaning, and what is absolute or genuine is the act of searching. In this strategy of reading James, central roles should be considered both for the reader and language. Sometimes the author prefers to absent himself from the scene of discourse and speak, instead, through the mouth of a first-person or third- person character who is an unreliable deputy. One novelist may employ a drunkard person for this purpose, while James, Structuralism, and Poststructuralism 357 another one may use a mentally retarded guy who does not understand the relation between cause and effect, a negro slave on whom nobody may trust, a 12-year-old boy who is a first-class liar, a precocious daughter who looks at the things quite naively, a loner in whose mind nobody knows what is going on, or a dreamy person whose speech makes you even more confused, etc. One of James’s unreliable narrators is the un-named fallible critic in "The Figure in the Carpet." After he accepts to review Hugh Vereker’s recently published story, he racks his mind to understand the meaning of it, but he never understands it. Another Jamesian unreliable narrator is the young governess who tells "The Turn of the Screw" and whose feelings about the children, Flora and Miles, nobody knows. When she speaks about the "corruption" of these children, the reader cannot understand if she means they are corrupted by the ghosts of Quint and Jessel or by her own sickly imaginations. However, at the end of the story one thing becomes clear: the desire to possess the human soul has led to a deadly result. In this story James illustrates the two opposing forces of generation and destruction perhaps better than anywhere else. The scenario of an unreliable narrator is a major characteristic of modern fiction that challenges reading to become a serious act of critical appreciation by casting doubt in the reader about the legitimacy and rightness of the talks of such characters. It is also a policy for dispossessing literary discourse of its previously unique rank and bringing it more into the context of real life. In this way, it guarantees the dramatic effect of the story, and its essential verisimilitude. Wayne C. Booth argues that an unreliable narrator offers three advantages in modern fiction. The first advantage is "the pleasure of secret communication" (Booth, 1961: 301). In the course of story-telling, when the author is silent and out of sight, or when he is sharing his ideas with the narrator, the reader has the occasion to start a hidden communication with the narrator. The author sits in the back and observes the narrator who is in the fore, and the reader is licensed to accept or reject what he hears from the narrator. The next advantage of unreliable narrator is "the pleasure of deciphering" (Booth, 1961: 301). A piece of fiction is a cultural package, and the absence of the author implies that for understanding it the reader and/or narrator should decode its data in the contexts both of its production and its reading. This is a 358 Chapter Eight: Conclusion hermeneutic activity the outcome of which is the possibility of new horizons of knowledge through criticism and interpretation. And the last advantage of an unreliable narrator is "the pleasure of collaboration" (ibid: 302) which guarantees making readers. Different people may read a same story differently. However, the use of a certain set of norms and conventions makes the story into a field of communication in which the users develop new modes of perception and promote their capacity of mutual understanding. Another technique in the fiction of James is indirect presentation. When the author disappears from discourse and renounces the privilege of direct intervention, the story on the one hand baffles the reader so that he may get confused what he should search and what is the right path to it. On the other hand, it enriches the associations of the story to a large extent. In "The Figure in the Carpet," when it becomes clear that the fallible narrator-critic is deficient to do his job, the relation between the author, the character, and the reader becomes more complicated, and the responsibility of the reader gets enlarged, because the story is presented to him without any authorial evaluation or interpretation. However, in The Ambassadors such indirection is more amply beneficial. It frees the narrator from the stronghold of literary conventions and helps him to control the story from the outside. Percy Lubbock argues that indirect presentation allows James to compress discourse while he loses no important detail of it. In this way, the narrator controls the story better than in direct presentation, and the reader activates his senses and shares the ideas of the story with the narrator and characters. Lubbock comments that indirect presentation makes Strether and Raskolnikov1 able to project their view of the world, to picture it for the reader, as they might be if they spoke in person. The difference is in the fact that we now see the very sources of the activity within them; we not only share their vision, we watch them absorbing it. Strether in particular, with a mind working so diligently upon every grain of his experience, is a most luminous painter of the world in which he moves—a small circle, but nothing in it escapes him, and he imparts his summary of a thousand matters to the reader; the view that he opens is as panoramic, often enough, as any of Thackeray’s sweeping surveys, only the scale is different, with a word barely 1 Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov is the major character in Feodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. James, Structuralism, and Poststructuralism 359 breathed in space of a dialogue, minutes for months, a turn of hand or an intercepted glance for a chronicle of crime or adulterous intrigue. That liberty, therefore, of standing above the story and taking a broad view of many things, of transcending the limits of the immediate scene— nothing of this is sacrificed by the author’s steady advance in the direction of drama. The man’s mind has become visible, phenomenal, dramatic; but in acting its part it still lends us eyes, is still an opportunity of extended vision (Lubbock: 1954: 148-149). A further facet of the fiction of James is that he seldom employs an omniscient narrator but uses precarious and unstable point of views that make reading even more challenging. Although the Jamesian story may occasionally show us the path along which we should search, the collision of different perspectives in the story makes the act of reading greatly risky. Joseph Warren Beach remarks that "The stories of James are records of seeing rather than of doing. ... The process of the story is always more or less what Mr. James himself calls in one case a ‘process of vision’" (Beach, 1954: 56). Thus, in such stories the point of view has ample significance. However, in the selection of a point of view James has two criteria at least. One is what Beach calls, "a steady consistency of effect" (ibid: 60). In the opening of the story, the main character usually has a general design or plan in his mind, and the selection and modification of the point of view by the author is so that the selected plan has the most consistent effect upon the reader. Another criterion is the possibility for the reader to closely trace the character’s thoughts and feelings. James likes his readers to talk about life with his characters and to live their lives with them. When the story has more than one commentator or observer, James uses "the device of alternating points of view" (ibid: 66), for he thinks that it helps him to add to the ‘unity’ and ‘intensity’ of the work. In The Golden Bowl, the first part of the story is given mainly from the perspective of the Prince Amerigo while the second part is given from that of the Princess Maggie. But Maggie has more than one function. As the wife of the Prince, when she understands about his liaison with her step-mother, she performs a series of (speech) acts and regenerates their endangered lives. Meantime, as she is the commentator of the story also, the reader and other characters see everything from her point of view. And in The Wings of the Dove the story is (objectively) exposed to the reader from the perspectives of Kate and Milly and 360 Chapter Eight: Conclusion Densher. However, in The Ambassadors the principle of composition allows the story to have only one center, and this one center is placed in the consciousness of Strether the hero. This means that the reader is required to see every thing from the eye and mind of this character. In stories like this, the consciousness of the observer is the whole field of which the author provides his materials. In addition, due to the law of "the integrity of the objects represented" (Beach, 1954: 62) in What Maisie Knew, the author inevitably represents some of his materials from outside of the consciousness of Maisie the main character, because she is only a very young and naive girl who does not understand the meaning of many happenings. Another type of point of view in James is the confidant character. He uses it as a technique for crediting the reader and other characters with the privilege to share the ideas of the story more freely and daringly. The reader and characters of James may not be able to contribute effectively in the making of the discourse, because in the immediate presence of the all- knowing author they may feel frightened or humiliated. But intervening in the author-character negotiations, the confidant character, who is often a woman (Mrs. Stringham in The Wings of the Dove, Maria Gostrey in The Ambassadors, Fanny Assingham in The Golden Bowl), defines a secure realm into which the author does not allow himself to enter, and the character can therefore more confidently participate in manufacturing the narrative. In addition, and along with James’s commitment to help in the development of the (cultural) relations between Europe and America, the confidant character faithfully advises the hero as he attempts to understand the new situations and expand his cultural consciousness. Miss. Gostrey, who would like to welcome the new comers to European culture, takes the honorary position of a guide in Paris. When Strether talks about his realization of the new situations, she patiently listens to him and encourages him to expand his links with Parisian culture. And Fanny Assingham not only adds a lot to the complication of the story, but also helps the characters to handle their predicaments in their own ways. In this way, the confidant character takes a double role. On the one hand, she is a useful device for the author to engineer his story as a language construction. On the other hand, she helps the hero to convey the idea of the story from his mind to his tongue, to dramatize his perspectives, to realize them and make them ready for the James, Structuralism, and Poststructuralism 361 purpose of the story. The use of such precarious and alternating point of views in the fiction of James has more than one result. One is that his reader must always be a discriminating watcher, critic, interpreter. Another one is the relativity of the presented ideas, so that the right in the story is inextricably interwoven with the wrong. Therefore, the reader of James often feels as if on a precipice, that is, he feels that he is at the risk of falling, making deadly mistakes. In the later style of James, there is a high degree of conflict among his characters. However, the conflict is of a certain kind, because representing the members of the higher middle classes of the London society, they make polite communities and are eager to follow the requirements of etiquette. The characters who take part in a dialogue do not interrupt each other. Instead, the listener politely and patiently listens to the speaker both to encourage him to talk and to find a way to reject him. The stronger side in the talk does not attempt to disgrace the weaker side. Instead, he rejects him critically but apologetically, and tries to show the superiority of his own speech and the inferiority of the speech of the other party. In this way, it seems that dialogue in James is not for humor or for dramatization, but is mainly for weaving the text of the story and revealing the facts of it. Many of his characters are almost equal in personality, intelligence, and in social rank. They speak in the (pure) tongue of the London artists, they are not showy in their speech, they do not blunder in talk, and their English is standard rather than colloquial. They can speak in long parenthetical sentences which are in need of analysis and which are occasionally left unfinished. For weaving the text of the story, the Jamesian dialogue is organic and systematic. He uses dialogue to admit his characters into different scenes of the story, and to help them tell their tales. Dialogue is also used for exchanging ideas about these facts. Such a dialogue is held often in questions and answers. Firstly, a participant asks a question. Then, the other participant answers it in the form of another question which should be answered in its turn, or in the form of a tentative explanation of facts. When a participant says something, the other one takes it and passes it back to the first participant with some changes or without any change. And before a series of talks yields a result, it has produced enough energy for a next series. The dialogue continues in this way, and the 362 Chapter Eight: Conclusion reader often mistakes which pronoun refers to which name. He often doubts, he reads again, and he goes forward while he is still vague about many things in the story. Or if the system of references is clear enough, by intentionally changing the reference of a pronoun, the other side of the talk renders it the space of a new interesting interpretation. B. James’s Ideas about Reading and Representation It seems that James sees a relation between life and representational art. Outside of art, life is as natural as it comes to us. It is an organism of which every thing is naturally arranged and bestowed upon us. There we feel that the truth is with us, that we are witnessing it, touching it. But what does art do with life? What happens to life in a story? The life in a story is not natural. The story re- arranges life and offers it in a new form, so that many aspects of it are highlighted while many others are eliminated. It fabricates or constructs life in such a way that it is more inclined to the cultural, to the beautiful. In this process, the ugliness of life is dominated by the aesthetic, and life gets more virility, more vibration. In this way, the natural real is changed to illusion, imagination, internalized regularity. On the other side, representation in James depends not only on the author, but on the reader also. The life portrayed in a literary work is not more than a halfrepresentation. It is incomplete, dead in actual fact. However, in the act of reading, this half-represented life keeps its soul alive and gets respiration. Now, a condition for the concretization of such a virtually manufactured life is that the reader compromises with the laws of representation. On the one hand, the reader knows that the life illustrated in the story is fictitious, illusory. On the other hand, the story induces a belief in him about the reality of the illusion. This is due to a selective process that works in representation which has its roots in consciousness, in human perception. In this context, it is argued that James "makes his readers" (Booth, 1961: 397), because each of his stories is a task for the reader to accomplish. And as he reads and recreates the story, his consciousness develops. In The Ambassadors, identification takes place between the consciousness of Strether and that of the reader, and the transcendence of the hero’s mind guarantees the transcendence of the reader’s also. James, Structuralism, and Poststructuralism 363 But what is the function of language in the fabrication of life in a novel? Does it duplicate life? Does it make a new life different from the life outside of the book? It seems that language is incapable to show all the complexities of human life. However, language helps us to perceive life as a sequence of affairs, a series of aspects connected to each other. This kind of life perceived as a series of connections is vague and indeterminate. It is an in-between space, a quality that always moves to and fro. Such indeterminacy is compatible with the representation of life in great detail in realistic fiction, for it is in the space of its indeterminacies or gaps that language makes the reader use his imagination in the act of reading. Thus, language is the possibility of life to be regenerated in reading. Earlier it was argued that out of art it is as if life is brass: devoid from vividness and vibration. It was also argued that the author promotes the qualifications of life by adding to the dimensions of the aesthetic. And the role of the reader is to concretize the aesthetic, that is illusory, and create a happy life. Therefore, it seems that it is in language, and not in story, that the reader makes life; and the story is a space for the service of language, because out of story language is not applicable enough. Out of story is not life-like or domestic, but wild and far-fetched. The Jamesian ‘real’ is different from the ordinary real, from what is surrounding us or what we feel in our day-by-day lives. For him the real is the product of language, the outcome of representation; and it originates from signification. Such a reality is no essence, but is a phenomenon that has reflected upon our consciousness via the activity of the mind in the realm of the sign. Therefore, it is not commonplace or material but is phenomenological, transcendental. Albeit it is perhaps the sequel of the ordinary or concrete real, it starts where the ordinary real ends, since however in logic it is like the ordinary real, in nature it is quite different from that. This implies that in the fiction of James we surpass the level of the commonplace real to study it on a higher and more complicated level. Thus, the real in James is a craft of language and representation. A feature of the Jamesian transcendental reality is that it originates from a void, an absence, or an unavailability. For example, at the end of The Wings of the Dove we understand that Merton Densher can "never, never know what had been in Milly’s 364 Chapter Eight: Conclusion letter" (James, 2004: 702) that she has sent to him, because he gives the letter to Kate with its seal unbroken, and she tosses it over to the fire before reading it. Densher also cannot know the "turn" of Milly’s act which can stand both for her death and for her decision to make a bequest for him. Kate’s act causes him to miss the opportunity to grasp Milly’s feelings at the moment of her death. Now, if we can propose that Milly’s bequest embodies her experience, then Kate’s act makes it wholesale unavailable or unattainable. However, there is a double tendency in Densher toward Milly’s experience. On the one hand, he would like to recognize it. But he also never takes use of his privileged grasp of her experience. And the unattainability of her experience makes it capable to move toward the aesthetic. Thus, in James the real is the same as the aesthetic. We will always see Densher longing to be related with Milly. Such a desire guarantees the promotion of cultural status too. II. Structuralism and Post-structuralism in James A. Structuralism Before Saussure theories of language were mimetic. The people believed that language has no structure of its own and therefore it takes its structure from the world. The philology before him used to study the language diachronically, that is, to study its changes over long spans of time. Language was something given, something the reality of which should be taken for granted. Although the philologists used to study the etymology, morphology, phonology, etc. of a given language, their investigations were limited to the performed or written documents of language, perhaps because no connection was yet discovered between mind and language. But Saussure changed the direction and subject matter of language studies, and structuralist theories of narrative originate from his studies of language. He did not reject the synchronic studies of language, but started to study it diachronically also, that is, to study its nature and functioning in certain time situations. For Saussure language is a system. He investigated it at the two different levels of ‘langue’ and ‘parole’: langue is the deep structure of a language which is available in the mind of all its users and which all of them share. It is the blueprint of all language productions. Parole is the performed language, the language that is made and used by James, Structuralism, and Poststructuralism 365 the members of any certain language community. Saussure coined the term ‘sign’ also which is a meeting point of the signifier and the signified. The signifier is the written mark or spoken utterance, while the signified is the concept or meaning for which the signifier is standing. The sign is not a symbol that is identical with meaning, but is a mark which stands for a meaning. Thus, meaning is not inherent in the word, but is the result of the relations of the signs and their differences. It is arbitrary, conventional, and relational. In this way, if before Saussure language was structured on the basis of the world, after him it is in language, in narrative, that we structure our world. This world- making power of literature stems mainly from the way it uses language. Structuralism does not intend to describe the meaning of a story, because the arbitrary and conventional relations between the signifier and signified implies that no certain meaning is already invested in any literary text. A literary text is a space only for the play of the sign, for the maneuver of language. Therefore, however the story gives no certain meaning; it is the space for the production of several different meanings. The meaning is an agreement between the text and the reader who is the agent of meaning, while the author is often absent from the text and has therefore almost no role in meaning. Therefore, the job of a structuralist reader of a text is to analyze the structures in it that make the meaning possible. Structuralism is also not interested to investigate individual literary texts. It searches in the institution of literature for a grammar (of it), for the overall structures on the basis of which the meaning of literary texts develops. However, structuralism started to develop in anthropology perhaps sooner than in literature, because firstly it was Claude Levi-Strauss who discovered significant similarities between the structure of myth and that of language. A phoneme, which is the smallest unit of meaningful sound in a language, takes its meanings in and through its relationships with the structure of language. Likewise, a mytheme, which is the smallest unit in a myth that is shared with other related mythemes, gains meaning within the mythic structure. Therefore, the meaning of a story is dependent on the interaction of its mythemes. And as we can master the structure of language, we can master the structure of a myth also. And both language and myth provide us with spaces to translate our experiences into communicable meanings. 366 Chapter Eight: Conclusion For Tzvetan Todorov, the grammatical model of a sentence can be applied to a narrative also. By applying the grammar of a sentence, the grammatical clause for instance or the subject and verb, we can discover the syntax of narrative. An aspect of his structuralism is a search for a "universal grammar" that is "the same for all men" (Todorov, 1977: 108). Todorov believed that grammar is not limited in language, but is a "psychological reality" which is at work in all symbolic activities of man. He described the minimal complete plot of a narrative as a movement from one equilibrium to another, and illustrated the working of this narrative grammar in some tales of the Decameron. Todorov argued that James’s ghost stories, "De Grey: A Romance" for example, which came out in 1868 and "The Jolly Corner," which he wrote 40 years later in 1908, are typically the space of a non-homogenous "fantastic hesitation" which is particularly Jamesian. Other things that Todorov’s structuralism highlights in James are the state of the real and its relation with our imagination, and the function of a thorough search which not only makes the structure of the story but also expands the consciousness of the reader. In Poetics of Prose he describes the work of James in this way: This author grants no importance to the raw event but concentrates all his attention on the relation between the character and the event. Further, the core of a story will often be an absence (the hidden, the dead, the work of art) and its quest will be the only possible presence. Absence is an ideal and intangible goal; the prosaic presence is all we have to work with. Objects, "things" do not exist (or if they exist, do not interest James); what intrigues him is the experience his characters can have of objects. There is no "reality" except a psychic one; the material and physical fact is normally absent, and we never know anything about it except the way in which various persons can experience it. The fantastic narrative is necessarily centered upon a perception, and as such it serves Henry James, especially since the object of perception always has a phantasmal existence for him. But what interests James is the exploration of this "psychic reality," the scrutiny of every variety of the possible relations between subject and object. ... Here James makes a fundamental thematic choice: he prefers perception to action, relation with the object to the object itself, circular temporality to linear time, repetition to difference. ... for James, on the contrary, the only reality is imaginary, there are no facts but psychic ones. Truth is always a special case, someone’s truth; ... We never reach absolute truth, the gold standard is lost, we are doomed to abide by James, Structuralism, and Poststructuralism 367 our perceptions and by our imagination—which moreover is not much different (Todorov, 1977: 184-185). Roland Barthes believed that a narrative is a pure system. He tried to describe an identity between language and narrative (sentence and discourse), and believed that whatever structures language also structures narrative. He discussed the structure of narrative in three levels of functions, actions, and narration. On the level of functions, and perhaps for a better possibility of dealing with the narrative, it is divided into some units on the basis of their meaning. On the level of actions, a structural analyst should focus mainly on the definition of characters. Structuralism does not regard the character as a being or a psychological essence, but as a participant in the sphere of action. In this way, the character is defined not in what he is or was, but in what he does, in how he interacts with the people or the situation around him. However, on the level of narration, the narrative should be considered as a transaction between its giver and its taker. No narrative is formed unless someone gives it and someone else takes it. But who is the giver of narrative? Whether it is the author, an impersonal consciousness, or a character, Barthes notifies that the narrator of a story should not be mistaken with its real author. He also believes that in any narrative there are five codes at work to form a space of meaning through which the text runs: the proairetic code deals with the actions and behaviors, the hermeneutic code governs the disclosure of truth, the symbolic code controls the architecture of language, the semic code deals with the connotations of signifiers, and the cultural code deals with the social knowledge that the text discloses. Jonathan Culler changed the direction of structuralism in the 1970s, for he mainly attempted to analyze the act of interpretation itself. He based his studies on an investigation of the text’s language which he believed should be undertaken by the reader. Thus, shifting the attention from the text to the reader, he attempted to analyze the act of reading and interpretation to describe how readers read. Still another method of structural analysis of a literary text is the application of binary oppositions to it. For example, in the two binaries mind/body and light/darkness, there is a tendency in our mind to regard mind and light as superior to body and darkness. Some structuralists 368 Chapter Eight: Conclusion assert that by devising a series of such binary operations in any literary text the reader can understand how it works. For example, one can consider whatever the protagonist does and says as connected with mind or light, and whatever the antagonist does and says as connected with body or darkness. B. Post-structuralism "Post-structuralism" includes deconstructive approaches, feministic approaches, psychoanalytic theories, Marxisms, new historicisms, etc. after the twentieth-century linguistic turn. However, in the present research, it comprises mainly the Derridean deconstruction and Foucauldian new historicism. Post-structuralism was inaugurated as a reaction against structuralist rules for creating meaning, against the narrow conception of language and literature that it had adopted. Instead, post- structuralism considered language and literature as signifying systems in which the meaning was the outcome of the play (or relations) of the signs. Post-structuralism accepted neither the character as a psychological essence nor any function for the character in the production of meaning. However, post-structuralists believe that language and literature are not complete or closed signifying systems because, as systems, they are always changing. In addition, they search for a subject position that is able to know itself through signification, for if there is no subject position, there is no signification also. Post-structuralists see language and knowledge as problematic questions which the subject must resolve. For a transfer from structuralism to deconstructionism, it suffices to mention how the studies of Todorov and Rimmon-Kenan on the fiction of James, on "The Figure in the Carpet" for example, differ from those of J. Hillis Miller. For Todorov, the Jamesian narrative is a quest for an "absolute and absent cause." Although this cause is not named, in the general movement of the story it has a significant role. It controls the author, the character, and the reader, and sets them forth on a close contribution. Rimmon-Kenan also approaches the story "scientifically." She argues that the ambiguity in the fiction of James makes it unreadable because every reading on it produces a series of meanings while at the same time it somehow rejects or nullifies those meanings. To say it another way, Rimmon-Kenan believes that the fiction of James, Structuralism, and Poststructuralism 369 James is unreadable because each reading on it is at the same time both true and false. On the other hand, what Todorov calls the absolute and absent cause in Jamesian narrative, Miller calls a "non-existence" or a "phantom projection." Miller argues that in the fiction of James the ground and figure are so integrally interwoven that the text perpetually deconstructs itself and demolishes its own discourse, so that a major concern of the reader is the undecidability or unreadablity of the text. Miller terms this feature of James’s fiction "catachresis." Rimmon- Kenan’s approach (to the fiction of James) is so logical or rational that it does not allow the imagination to play freely in the interpretation of literature. Todorov’s and Rimmon-Kenan’s structuralisms are (objective) attempts to propose a science of literature, while Miller’s deconstruction is an endeavor to see how in the realm of the imaginary scientific analysis demolishes itself.2 Structuralism is not only rule-based, but is also time- restricted. It regards the relation between the signifier and the signified as differential, arbitrary, and conventional. Nevertheless, after all these considerations, it considers a restricted oneto- one correspondence between a signifier and a signified. In structuralism there is no play (of the sign), and it is not able to justify itself with passage of the time. This is why it is often said that structuralism is not dynamic enough, that it is, like a skeleton, already out of date. However, post-structuralism is fully dynamic, for it works mainly by play. And it is more culturally inclined than structuralism, since as we pass from deconstruction to new historicism it destroys the prison-house of language and takes root from culture. Post- structuralists struggle against any rule-based logic of narrative, and search for a self-improving mechanism in which the play of the sign guarantees our exemption from stasis. They believe that the privilege in a binary opposition of one element over the other is not logical but is only a cultural construction. In this way, they claim that the binary opposition can be turned upside down so that the superior element becomes inferior and the inferior one becomes superior. If the play 2 Another discussion on "The Figure in the Carpet" is by Wolfgang Iser. Miller says that Iser "uses James’s story as an opening illustration of the way readers have expected narratives to have kernel meanings which, once reached, will allow the reader to throw away the husk, so to speak, dismiss the surface details as superficial, mere means of access to the deeper significance. Once that is found, the story can be dispensed with as the vehicle of a separable meaning. Iser, of course, wants to argue that the meaning is in the details, but this too, as I have claimed, is part of the metaphysical paradigm" (Miller, 1980: 112, n.). 370 Chapter Eight: Conclusion of the sign guarantees our freedom from stasis, we can adopt ourselves with new life systems through the formation of new experiences. In the second page of "The Preface to the 25th Anniversary Edition" of On Deconstruction: Theory and Practice after Structuralism, Jonathan Culler writes Deconstruction is never simple, however; it is not, Derrida insists, a school or a method, a philosophy or a practice, but something that happens, as when the arguments of a text undercut the presuppositions on which it relies or … . 3 In this way, deconstruction is the space where a text is set against itself to see how it can transform its renovation. The purpose of the text in negotiation with its countertext is not, of course, to destroy itself, but is to eradicate its previous institutions and develop itself with the work of new agencies. In other words, in a deconstructive reading, the text decontextualizes and recontextualizes itself. Deconstruction is a mode of reading in which a text unties and re-situates itself. But what does it mean for a text to re-situate itself? It is the economy of its rebirth: the sign plays in it differently, it becomes the space for the activity of a different consciousness, and as new norms of language conform in it, it opens new horizons and resolves new conflicts and problems. The text analyzes its own structures, and in an exchange of discourses with its countertext, it repeats some of its previous structures and eliminates some others. A deconstructive strategy of reading is reversing the hierarchy which Derrida called "metaphysics of presence." From the Aristotelian era, western thought has expressed itself hierarchically in the form of a series of binary oppositions. However, Derrida says that such hierarchies are neither given (natural), nor do they show the natural inclination of the mind. They are only constructions, the result of conventions that have been taken for granted. Therefore, they can and should be reversed, for they show no innate or natural privilege of one element over the other. For example, in the binary speech/writing, neither "speech" is innately superior to "writing" nor vice 3 This preface is in 14 pages. However, in this edition of the book, which was published in 2007 by Cornell University Press, it has received no pagination. Therefore, for easy referencing, the reader is informed that this citation has been extracted from the second page of this preface. James, Structuralism, and Poststructuralism 371 versa. In such a context, a deconstructive reader attempts to reverse such binaries, and show that not only is "speech" not privileged over "writing" for example, but also that "speech" originates from "writing." To give another example, in the later style of James, it is the metaphorical, the imaginary, that is a permanent subject of investigation, while the concrete real is perhaps too trivial to be regarded as a major subject of narrative. Therefore, it is not the concrete reality but the perceptions of the characters of reality that is the subject of investigation. Likewise, in the later style of James ‘presence’ is given no superiority to ‘absence’, it is the absence, the absence of a concrete real, the absence of a literal language, that is usually present. Another mode of deconstructive operation in a narrative is emphasizing the marginal in opposition to the central via which the first is transplanted to the second, and the text becomes mainly decentered. A further mode of it is a reading like Shoshana Felman’s on "The Turn of the Screw" where the binary opposition inside/outside is contradicted. Felman argues that the critic of this text stands both inside and outside of it. Standing outside of it, he interprets it with a good deal of control over it. That is, he may feel that his interpretations are really his own. However, such texts have the potentiality to interpret themselves, and what the critic produces as interpretation, is in fact part of the discourse of the text, part of what it has dramatized, so that the reader is in a close control of the text. In this way, the text not only structures and re-writes itself, but it also reads and criticizes itself. In the 1970s Derrida was decentering the long-term loci of meaning and power in western metaphysics, and the adherents of deconstruction were attempting to prove that the rhetorical language is potential to represent the whole world, and that there is therefore nothing outside of language, outside of the text. However, this claim and the overt detachment of literary studies from history provoked the so-called newhistoricists to look at literature as a human discourse that, like philosophy, religion, etc., is determined by the social and cultural situation of its production. When it was inaugurated, new historicism started to re-connect literature to history. However, it had to challenge not only the old-historical assumption about the objectivity of history, but also the New Critical prejudice about the literary text as an autonomous work of art with a self-endowed and definite meaning. New historicism is a mode of 372 Chapter Eight: Conclusion analysis which deals with the historicity of the text and its exercising of power through the medium of culture. New historicism takes some of its roots from the ideas of the French philosopher Louis Althusser who described the role of ideology in different historical eras of a society. In each society, ideology establishes itself through institutions like culture, religion, politics, sport, and media as state apparatuses, and makes the people subordinated to the power- structure. In this way, ideology changes man from a biological creature to a social subject. Another influence on new historicism is the cultural anthropology of the American Clifford Geertz. For him, culture and behavior cannot be studied separately, for they are naturally interwined. Culture is therefore a frame or context within which social events, behaviors, institutions, or processes can be meaningfully described. By "thick description" Clifford means a close and exact analysis of the historical, social, and cultural environment in which a text is created and consumed. However, new historicism is based most strongly on the ideas of the French historian and philosopher Michel Foucault. From a Foucauldian perspective, history is neither linear with a beginning, middle, and end, nor is it teleological with a certain goal to achieve in the course of development. And he ascribes no clear causality to history. He argues that it is not clear why and how a certain historical episteme stops working and another one starts working (for example, why and how the Age of Enlightenment died in the second half of the 18th-century Europe and the Romantic movement originated). New historicists regard history as a series of interrelations of various discourses each of which is a subject to the dominating power-structure of any social and cultural era. On the one hand, they believe that a text is historical, for not only the author, but also the character and reader are social products of any given historical era. On the other hand, they regard history intertextual. The result of this inter-dependence of text and history is that they regard truth and meaning not as absolute and stable but as determined by discourse that is itself subject to powerrelations. Literature is not factual but subjective and representational. A literary text is the site of a number of verbal structures which represent the cultural constructs of a James, Structuralism, and Poststructuralism 373 particular society. Each of such constructs represents a hierarchy of relations, and symbolically reproduces the power relations which characterize a given society. In the act of reading, as one internalizes them, one gets positioned by the text as a means of surveillance that is in the service of the power structure. Literature is historical but not trans-historical. A literary text gives voice to a number of diversified and conflicting thoughts, and suggests the subversive forces in the period it was produced. Therefore, a literary text should be evaluated as influenced by the historical situation of its production. It should be criticized as part of a network of institutions, social practices, beliefs, and customs which mark the history of the era of its composition. Thus, seeing literature as historical implies that the human subject is unfree, that man is an ideological product which is dominated by the power-structure of his society. For Foucault, the seemingly independent human “self” is the discursive product of a certain form of social power. For Stephen Greenblatt also, Renaissance literature and drama paved the way for the production of new forms of self. Both thinkers believe that such a concomitant emphasis on the power of discourse on the one hand, and discursivity of power on the other, open a way for understanding the function of the self. Self is thoroughly subordinate to the social formations from which it takes its coherence. However, in new historicism power is not perceived as controlling or oppressive only, for if it were so, the people would not obey it. Power is productive also, perhaps even a blessed endowment; and it is the productivity of power that renders it acceptable for the subjects. Power makes things, security for example or welfare. It changes the situations from bad to good, inspires the people to live with pleasure, and produces knowledge through discourse. Living mainly in the second half of the nineteenth century, Henry James was both a traditional and a modernist story- writer. But the main focus of the present project is his "major phase," where he, perhaps intentionally, loses his interest in the English Victorian novel and adds to the dimensions of the thematics and stylistics of the modern fiction. However, although he has once again started to examine the old international theme of Europe-America relations, he is mainly dealing with new subjects like (the nature and function of) consciousness, reality, and representation, and to use new techniques like the unreliable narrator and the story with a "misplaced 374 Chapter Eight: Conclusion middle." He has started to evaluate certain personal and social situations not, as in the traditional novel, to exemplify the wayward life of a homeless or a tramp for example, to illustrate a labor movement, or to discuss a philosophical subject, but mainly to represent the consciousness of a character through his engagement with different life situations and in the business of producing interpretive reality. In addition, in the fiction of James such things are dramatized in a way that the reader is often concerned at the same time with the reality of language also. This means that he uses language as a space not only for the expansion of our insight or perspectives, but also for getting pleasure by engaging ourselves in experienceproducing processes. All those unfinished and perspectival packages of information in his fiction help his readers and characters to produce new knowledge and experience. When such unfinished aspects or appearances are exposed to the reader, he attempts to complement them by the application to them of all his knowledge and experience. However, the transcendence of a consciousness is not explained or described in a report or through the tongue of an omniscient narrator, but is typically dramatized in the engagement of a character in a virtual life situation or through the analysis of an unreliable narrator. In addition to the factual unreliability of the narrator, the author is often absent from the discourse. The reader of James always needs to re-evaluate the observations of the narrator and characters, for James attempts to engage him in productive language spaces. I have attempted to illustrate his fiction as an effective space for the formation of consciousness in language, and for its activity in the production of interpretive and perspectival realities. In Jamesian narrative, such realities are the result of circular discourses and hermeneutic activities of the reader. This is why I have ventured to approach James structurally and post-structurally. Structurally, I have undertaken to discuss it as a system of signs, to discuss the setting up of language in it as a social convention or a system of signs that are related to each other, and to show the functioning of the system in the production of meaning. It seems that the underlying structure of the Jamesian narrative is a never-ending search, for the meaning is always absent while what is present is only a perpetual search. I have attempted to discuss the narrative act of searching, and the constitutive rules and regulations that enforce such an activity. Deconstructively, my intention has been to James, Structuralism, and Poststructuralism 375 illustrate the perpetual abolishment of the signified through the appearance of new signifiers. As the result of such a process, in which the discourse perpetually cancels a series of signifiers for the insertion of a new series, the fiction of James proves itself very demanding, because what remains is always a long sequence of signifiers which suggest no certain signified. I have also attempted to discuss the role of signification and the play of the sign in his fiction. Language reproduces and renovates itself perhaps in the best way through the play of the sign, because it dramatizes the contribution of a number of factors that function in the play of it: the giver, the interpreter, and the taker of the narrative, etc. My argument is that the late style of James is not for naïve reading, but is for critical interpretation, since not only it provides many blanks in which the reader has to fill in, but it also always postpones the meaning. In chapter seven, which is a new-historical analysis on The Golden Bowl, the argument is that James reduces history into questions of language and its meaning. Early in this story, he preserves a memory of the past (Renaissance) Rome. As he engages us in a context of past thoughts, conventions, activities, etc., we realize how the concept of value changes in different historical times. For example, in the first part of the novel, when Maggie still has no powerful discourse, the general atmosphere is, if not Victorian, not quite modernistic at least: the fate of the Prince in the new situation, the story of two loves and two marriages, why the first Amerigo-Charlotte love is futile, what will happen to their rekindled but unlawful love, etc. However, in the second part, when Maggie develops her outlooks and starts to communicate with the people in meaningful ways, the atmosphere becomes more modernistic: the formation of experience shown in bundles of appearances like the antiques in Adam’s gallery, the (symbolic) representation of a consciousness in and out of language, the function of silent language and noble patience (passivity) in vanquishing an inhumane discourse and securing a damaged morality, etc. And the social ceremonies and cultural customs which the story represents and in which the Jamesian characters take part (like their tea parties, their card games, and their travels) all provide language spaces for the production of epistemological experience in collaborative projects. 376 Chapter Eight: Conclusion When Maggie discovers that her husband and mother-in-law have fallen into a deadly sin, she appeals to marriage as a social (cultural) institution for helping them to regenerate themselves and return to (the state of lawfully married) life. The outcome of my argument is the relativism of history and culture. This concept of history is in agreement with Foucault’s idea of "ruptures" implying that history is discontinuous and experience is subjected to historical changes. Also, it has been argued that new historicism regards literature not as independent from history but as a subject that should be studied in historical contexts. This means that reality and truth are political constructions, because they are relative, periodical, historical. New historicism provides the ground for reading literature in history, and for saving literary criticism from its redundant textuality in the 1960s and 1970s, and fusing it together with cultural criticism. However, although new historicism may have become a history, or we may have arrived at a post-new-historical era, the traces of new historicism are on our critical ways. On the other hand, literature is still with us as "something pleasant" which serves as "the repository of the transcendent" (Porter, 1990: 254). If it is a space of mass education, it should provide us with occasions of applicable discursivity. Therefore, wherever we presently are, it seems that to achieve this goal we have a long way in front of us: to look more comprehensively to see what we can make (or re-make) in the field of language and literature. This does not mean that we should detach ourselves from the socio-cultural and/or historical studies of literature and should study it only textually. On the contrary, it is suggested that we should start to find new ways for evaluating the social, cultural, and historical realism in the context of literature, in the context of discursive structures of the verbal and critical art. This is because in such grounds we can frame useful discursive fields of interpretation and provide our readers with productive critical agenda that originate both from the text and the society (from imagination and reality). However, for such a revisionary (or revolutionary) and updated look upon language and literature, we need to broaden our social text so that our marginal and subordinated cultures are once again fused with our dominating cultures and are brought together with them into appreciating and critical focus. A method for James, Structuralism, and Poststructuralism 377 constructing such a new model of discursivity is if our present thinkers (philosophers, experts of theology, social and political scientists, literary and cultural scholars, for example) recover the roots of our previous philosophies for providing us with serious epistemological and methodological questions in spaces of critical interpretation where we can discuss a wide spectrum of current questions. It is clear that in the establishment of such a tradition of critical theory the role of our long history of literature should not at all be overlooked, because literature is, in language, technique, and thematic variety, a unique space of discursivity. The virtuality of literary environments, characters, and conversations makes it possible for them to escape decadence. In this way, literature is the blueprint where we can perform the most truthful, the most long-lasting, and the most applicable critical activities in virtual spaces and draw the most realistic maps of the human life. Thus, if our society is in pain of a lack or inadequacy of a theory-making tradition, we should take pain for providing it with such a tradition through critiquing our every day life in the context of literary lives also. By establishing interdisciplinary research programs of social and cultural studies in our faculties of humanities, we can create effective interactions between the life inside and outside literature. As our graduate departments discuss seminars in philosophy, social theory, literary theory, political theory, history, art history, media studies, economic studies, and cultural anthropology, they learn how to appreciate the modern life as a fusion of all these themes and questions. I hope the present study can excite the departments of English and American studies in Iran to take a more comprehensive look to realize what they can do about the fiction of Henry James. I also hope that it is the first link of a complete series of research projects on his fiction and critical theory. It is perhaps not futile to predict that the art of James will not get old. As long as we will get pleasure from reading fiction, and as long as we will need professional knowledge about language, literature, consciousness, and representation, it will be with us. In addition, it is a most useful space for structuralist and post-structuralist analyses. Therefore, the art of James is that which should be appreciated in Iran. If our students and literary scholars should like to start watching life through the numerous windows in the forefront of James’s "house of fiction," I think his art should be included in our graduate curriculums.
Die vorliegende Dissertation behandelt eine Auswahl der späten Werke von Henry James in strukturalistischer und poststrukturalistischer Lesart. Einige wenige Aufsätze von u.a. Todorov und Culler behandeln James in strukturalistischer Weise. Es ist die Absicht dieser Dissertation ihre Ansätze nachzuvollziehen, weiterzuführen und sie durch post-strukturalistische Ansätze zu erweitern. James war in seinen späten Werken weniger mit Bedeutung und Inhalt beschäftigt als mit Techniken und literarischen Strategien. James sah Sprache nicht als ein Mittel zur Kommunikation sondern als einen Raum für Bedeutungskonstruktion eben so später der Strukturalismus. Statt eine eindeutige Geschichte zu erzählen, macht James ein Feld der Kommunikation auf, in dem gemeinsame Werte und Vorstellungen die Grundlage des gegenseitigen Verständnisses von Leser, Autor und Erzähler bilden. Für James gibt die Literatur nicht das natürliche Leben wieder. Die Literatur kondensiert und verzerrt, sie ist ein Konstrukt, eine Fabrikation. Der Leser haucht dem Text Leben ein, indem er sich bewusst auf die Illusion des Textes einlässt. Das Reale bei James ist eine Illusion, ein Produkt von Sprache und Repräsentation, die in der Aushandlung zwischen Autor und Leser anhand des Textes unternommen wird. Aus strukturalistischer Perspektive erschafft ein Text Welt durch Sprache. Der Text wird zu einem Feld für das Spiel der Zeichen, die zwischen dem Text und dem Leser Bedeutung entstehen lassen. Die strukturalistische Analyse hat weniger Interesse an der Bedeutung des individuellen Textes als an der inhärenten Grammatik der Zeichen und daran wie Bedeutung in dieser entsteht. Die Relation von Zeichen steht auch bei den Poststrukturalisten im Zentrum. Sie betrachten jedoch nicht geschlossene Systeme. Für sie sind Strukturen fragmentarisch, immer in Bewegung (und somit historisch) und nicht zuletzt von Macht durchdrungen. Geschichtliche, kontextuelle und situationelle Verschiebungen und das „Spiel“ der Zeichen sind wichtig geworden. Ich diskutiere die Unterschiede zwischen Strukturalismus und Poststrukturalismus anhand des Textes „The Figure in the Carpet“ wie er von Todorov und Rimmon-Kenan gelesen wurde gegenüber der Dekonstruktion von James’ Werken durch Miller. Die Neo-Historizisten setzten den Text in seinen historischen und nicht zuletzt machtpolitischen Kontext. Der einflussreichste Neu-Historizist Michel Foucault spricht der Geschichte nicht nur ihre Objektivität ab, sondern auch den historischen Prozessen ihre definierten Anfänge und Enden, Ziele und linearen Kausalitäten. James beschrieb die Konstruktion von Realitäten von immer wechselnden Gesichtspunkten aus. Man kann seinen Gebrauch von Sprache als System von Zeichen sehen, die im Verhältnis zueinander Bedeutungspotentiale erschaffen. Diese verwirklichen sich erst im Dialog zwischen Text und Leser. The Golden Bowl habe ich in einer neo-historizistischen Lesart gelesen. Wir sehen hier deutliche Veränderungen und Brüche in den Wertesystemen über die erzählte Zeit hinweg. Die Geschichte birgt keine absolute Wahrheit, sondern vielmehr wird die 'Wahrheit' des Textes bestimmt durch ein sich wandelndes Geflecht von Machtrelationen. Wahrheit ist lediglich ein politisches und historisches Konstrukt. Hierin stimmt James’ Text mit den Theorien Foucaults überein.