History, Narrative, Responsibility: “The Aspern Papers”

J. Hillis Miller

in Literature as Conduct

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2005 | ISBN: 9780823225378
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235391 | DOI:
History, Narrative,             Responsibility: “The Aspern Papers”

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This chapter analyzes the historical narratives in Henry James's The Aspern Papers using the speech act theory. It examines the association between the history and narrative in this work and suggests that the questions about responsibility in fiction invoke performative rather than constative uses of language. This chapter also reveals that the figure of the locus standi is present in The Aspern Papers and that biographical knowledge forms an indepensable ground for measuring literature's value.

Keywords: The Aspern Papers; speech act theory; Henry James; literary analysis; fiction

Chapter.  8392 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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