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Expulsion and the Nineteenth-Century NovelThe Scapegoat in English Realist Fiction$
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Michiel Heyns

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198182702

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198182702.001.0001

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A Community of Interest: The Golden Bowl

A Community of Interest: The Golden Bowl

(p.227) Chapter 5 A Community of Interest: The Golden Bowl
Expulsion and the Nineteenth-Century Novel

Michiel Heyns

Oxford University Press

The Golden Bowl owes much of its elusiveness to this bewildering disorientation of language, consistently subverting that community of meaning premissed on the fiction of common meaning. Henry James's vocabulary, like Jane Austen's, is dynamic, subject to constant redefinition; and in his case that elusiveness serves to deflect the narrative movement that seeks to expel elements hindering its own resolution. Power, then, in James is often a matter of assuming control of signification in situations that have become linguistically vulnerable; and nowhere more so than in his last completed novel. The fictional community of The Golden Bowl protects itself by its control of value-formation, which is to say its control of language. Charlotte Stant gives structure to Maggie Verver's fiction, in ways which the end of this chapter explores; and her charm comes to constitute the basis of her expulsion, both its unacknowledged reason and its fulsomely celebrated justification.

Keywords:   The Golden Bowl, language, community, Henry James, resolution, power, Charlotte Stant, Maggie Verver, expulsion

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