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Bad FormSocial Mistakes and the Nineteenth-Century Novel$
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Kent Puckett

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195332759

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195332759.001.0001

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Hanging Together in Henry James

Hanging Together in Henry James

(p.118) CHAPTER 4 Hanging Together in Henry James
Bad Form

Kent Puckett

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at the ways in which the related effects of intention, coherence, and error are produced in several of Henry James’s novels. In particular, it looks to Hyacinth Robinson, the protagonist of The Princess Casamassima, a character who is said never to make a mistake. If, as Bad Form has argued, the mistake is necessary both to the novel and to the novelistic character, what would it mean never to make a mistake? In imagining Hyacinth, a character caught between his anarchist commitments and his love of art, as an exception to one of the novel’s most important rules, James traces a limit within and to the novel that is at once formal and political.

Keywords:   Henry James, intention, coherence, terrorism, character

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