The <b><i>Rentier</i></b> Aesthetics of Henry James

Andrew Lawson

in Downwardly Mobile

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199828050
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933334 | DOI:
The Rentier Aesthetics of Henry James

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Literary Studies (19th Century)


Show Summary Details


This chapter shows how James lacked a secure social position within the Northeastern bourgeoisie because his rentier father effectively spent his inheritance, forcing him carve out a career as a writer in the mass market. It shows how James was obsessed with preserving the relatively small hoard of capital jealously supervised by his parents, going on to explore the imprint of class and economics on James’s evolving realist aesthetic, through readings of the early magazine stories and the novels Roderick Hudson (1875) and Washington Square (1881). In these texts, a realist drive to anchor an inchoate and continually dissolving reality in sharp mimetic particulars is matched by an anxious hoarding of Paterian “impressions,” which are consistently imaged in financial terms.

Keywords: rentier; capital; new york; hoard; impression

Chapter.  13356 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.