Henry James`s Botanical Marvel: A Mendelian Reading of The Awkward Age
어문학 > 영문학
( Dong Shin Yi )
미국소설학회(구 한국호손학회)
미국소설 2012년, 제19권 제3호, 249~268페이지(총20페이지)
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    The Awkward Age might exemplify Henry James`s effort to present, to quote Amy King, "the final stage of the nineteenth-century bloom lineage," which, by incorporating Linnaeus`s system of plants, used bloom "as a lexicon that combines sex, social position, bodily facts, and affective life into one word." But as James`s novel also marks the beginning of his generic project to generate ``the dramatic novel,`` a hybrid genre that would reverse the tendency of Victorian novels, due to its dependency on omniscient narrators, to become increasingly interiorized and unrealistic. Attempting to mix the two genres of novel and drama, his project is thus genetically oriented, and shares much of the then emerging scientific field of genetics, headed by the work of Gregor Mendel. Highlighting these generic/genetic backgrounds of the novel, and reading how James`s generic project is re-deployed as a marriage project in the novel, this paper aims to uncover the genetical underpinning of the novel. In particular, the paper focuses not so much on Nanda, the marriageable girl that has drawn a lot of scholarly attention, as on Mr. Longdon who is described as "a great gardner" and carries on his marriage project between Vanderbank and Nanda according to Mendel`s laws. Noting how closely Mendel`s laws are reenacted in the novel with no direct knowledge of them on the part of the author, the paper thus proposes The Awkward Age as James`s botanical marvel.
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