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American Modernism's Expatriate SceneThe Labour of Translation$
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Daniel Katz

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748625260

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748625260.001.0001

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Native Well Being: Henry James and the “Cosmopolite”

Native Well Being: Henry James and the “Cosmopolite”

(p.10) Chapter 1 Native Well Being: Henry James and the “Cosmopolite”
American Modernism's Expatriate Scene

Daniel Katz

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter explores Henry James's elaboration of the key figure of the ‘cosmopolite’, as defined in The Portrait of a Lady and his travel piece, ‘Occasional Paris’. It also reviews Jamesian schemas of seduction, the uncanny and haunting in relation to questions of translation as psychic phenomenon as discussed by Jean Laplanche. Theodor Adorno's sense of mutilation, grown out of the mutilation wrought by the Second World War, might represent an endpoint of a certain form of expatriate or cosmopolitan self-fashioning. Discussing the ‘technical’ problems of the narrative positioning in What Maisie Knew, Adorno's only novel centered on a child. James suggested that the role he was of necessity obliged to accept was nothing other than that of a kind of translator. James's designation of some sort of ‘patriotism’ as his ‘supreme relation’ may seem somewhat disingenuous, and not only because of his profoundly ‘cosmopolite’ outlook.

Keywords:   Henry James, cosmopolite, Portrait of Lady, Occasional Paris, What Maisie Knew, Theodor Adorno, patriotism

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