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Henry James's Europe

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Dennis Tredy
, 
Annick Duperray
, 
Adrian Harding

I. Ethics and Aesthetics

3. James’s Sociology of Taste: The Ambassadors, Commodity Consumption, and Cultural Critique

Esther Sánchez-Pardo

Texte intégral

1This paper aims at elucidating James’s complex position at the crossroads of impression—in his late ”impressionist novels”—versus possession, examining how he weaves together a systematic focus on the workings of perception and desire and an analytical representation of plots that involve possession—of art or aesthetic objects, or of money in most cases. The oscillation between both is enhanced in the confrontation of America and Europe in the midst of major social and economic changes in the West. The early twentieth century witnessed fundamental transformations, such as the shift from industries filled with manual labourers, producing tangible commodities, to a new middle class of mental labourers who produced intangible products or services, such as the manufacture of cultural commodities. More than it has been acknowledged, James’s late fiction focuses on the nascent cultural milieu of this emerging middle class, the rise and visibility of corporate white-collar workers, entrepreneurs, and businessmen, and their impact on literature and aesthetics, in particular on the way their mental labour altered the forms and symbolic logic of mass culture. James’s responses to these major transformations in his writing testify to his engagement, rather than resistance, to these social and economic developments. The stylistic innovations cosmopolitan modernists later adopted from James were a competitive response to changes in contemporary European and American economic systems.

2I would like to argue that James took up the challenge of representing American society through a sophisticated and nuanced understanding of capitalism that very seldom has been addressed in previous studies. Novels such as The Wings of the Dove (1902), The Ambassadors (1903), and The Golden Bowl (1904), along with a few less well-known stories and essays, demonstrate that James distinguishes between an older stage of British capitalism and an emerging American brand of corporate capitalism. Marxist critics have ignored James’s writings in their focus on economic and class issues because James does not directly address material production in his novels. In his book on the melodramatic imagination, Peter Brooks has observed how the category of realism could not sufficiently contain writers like James and Balzac. Instead, these writers seemed to operate in excess of realist ideals rather than in a dialectical relationship to them, and it is this deviation from materialism that makes it difficult to apply Marxist theory to James across the board. In this paper, I will argue that James’s stylistic representations of the new middle class, along with the consumption of cultural commodities, affect the relations between American ”Realism” and cosmopolitan ”Modernism,” and that a repositioning of James’s late fiction at the intersection of these polarised literary movements may shed light on why they were less opposed than scholars often assume.

  • 1 I quote Veblen: ”the term is used in a technical sense as describing a comparison of persons with (...)

3In James’s narratives, possession figures neither as a state in which objects are ’held’ or preserved, nor as a stable narrative of their harmonious and continuous transmission. In contrast to the proprietary relation of ownership, possession here reflects the status of becoming rather than of being. Whereas property is a socially conservative force, James underlines the disruptive power of possession. The Jamesian pursuit of coveted ’objects,’ particularly in the late novels, represents an agonistic struggle, in sociologist Thorstein Veblen’s (1857-1929) sense of the term.1 The stakes of possession here (as, James insinuates, in late nineteenth-century bourgeois society) are primarily social: the pattern of acquisitions does not merely reproduce or reflect the hierarchy of class relations but also serves as a means of transforming that structure.

4I have invoked Veblen’s terminology to describe the stakes of Jamesian possession, for Veblen’s theoretical account of the late nineteenth-and early twentieth-century ”leisure class” strikes at certain key elements which we may recognise as characteristic of the haut-bourgeois stratum James depicts: its emulatory character and predatory practices, its preference for the rhetoric of warfare over trade, its fetishism of material wealth, and its peculiar ’aesthetic’ taste for ornamental excess. In The Theory of the Leisure Class, Veblen incorporates these elements within a theoretical account of the ”barbarian” leisure class, a class whose socially dominant status belies, according to Veblen, its ethical incompatibility with advanced industrial capitalism. Veblen argues that the leisured classes in advanced industrial society maintain their ascendancy, in effect by performing a relation to production and consumption, which symbolically negates the values of the industrial economy.

5Veblen’s leisure class functions according to an alternative, honorific prestige economy which valorises objects and appearances that appear incompatible with the ’mechanical’ virtues of utility or work. Leisure requires value as a representation of freedom from labour; conspicuous consumption evidences wealth and power by ’liberating’ consumption from reference to use-value or need. Predicated upon a material basis which it displaces and conceals, the prestige economy of Veblen’s leisure class essentially sublimates an acquired pecuniary power into the aesthetic signs of a static class distinction.

6This transubstantiation of money values comes under fire in James’s novels of the late 1980’s and early 1900’s. Capitalist wealth and consumption prove an embarrassment to James’s aspirant bourgeois characters because they signify a dependence on the industrial, working classes rather than a ’liberation’ therefrom. Maria Gostrey questions Lambert Strether as to whether Chad Newsome’s virtual exile in Paris reflects an abashed retreat from the source of his industrial fortune: ”Is it perhaps then because it’s so bad—because your industry, as you call it, is so vulgar—that Mr. Chad won’t come back? Does he feel the taint?” Strether, in turn, confirms that Chad’s money is a sign of his dependence upon production: ” ’Oh,’ Strether laughed… ’He’s glad enough of the money from it, and the money is his whole basis. There’s appreciation in that […]’” (98, emphasis mine). Chad, Strether implies, is not one to feel ”taints”—although he himself is. Unlike Chad, Strether strives to deny the monetary basis for his own sojourn in Paris: this he accomplishes, in a reversal of Chad’s reconciliatory gesture, by breaking relations with Mrs. Newsome. James represents Chad’s compromise between industrial production and ’aesthetic’ consumption as a reprehensible bargain, but Strether hardly fares better in the novel: his refusal to acknowledge either basis necessarily leads him to a dead end.

7James’s bourgeois characters, who are typically drawn from the new middle class, likewise seek to conceal the instability of bourgeois financial power by covering it in the image of a ’natural,’ solid and traditional (or aristocratic) taste. Not only do they disclaim their own impulses toward conspicuous consumption, James’s ”centres of consciousness”—Lambert Strether, Maisie Farange, Fleda Vetch, Merton Densher—distort or refract the traces of consumption that they observe in other ’honorific’ characters. James uses the main character’s perspective on material objects to dramatise the process by which the appearance of consumption is transformed, outwardly as well as inwardly (i.e. mentally) into the guise of its opposite: solid, stable possession.

8Veblen’s leisure class, by contrast, is openly infatuated with wealth and seeks to display it in forms sufficiently transparent. According to Veblen, social ’esteem’ accrues to displays of wasteful excess (such as conspicuous consumption) because these displays serve as a patent ”evidence of wealth” (Veblen 74). ”Wealth or power must be put in evidence,” Veblen argues: ”in order to gain and to hold the esteem of men, it is not sufficient merely to possess wealth or power” (36, emphasis mine). Mere possession, however, takes center stage in Jamesian narratives. In James’s novels bourgeois wealth registers (as it is ’seen’ or represented by the narrator) as an object of desire or esteem only where it appears covered or dressed in the alluring, and presumptively legitimising, garb of precious and preserved ’objects.’ Covering the bare and unadorned face of financial power, James’s grand-bourgeois characters strive to hide their money in ’things’—or in persons. What we find in these novels, consequently, is the attempt among James’s bourgeois characters to cleanse bourgeois wealth by covering it in the ’aesthetic’ signs of natural taste, or class.

9Possession, to be honorific, in these novels, must be predicated upon a pretended horror of the object’s consumption. James represents this grand-bourgeois antipathy toward consumption, moreover, as all the more intense for its hypocrisy: with scenes of shopping and theatrical performance, and allusions to the nascent boom of advertising. The Ambassadors aptly illustrates that consumption has become the dominant mode in which the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century bourgeois treats of objects and social relations. Nonetheless, in this novel, as typically in James’s late fiction, it is the avowed contempt for wasteful excess or expenditure—which is a posture of conservatism, in spite of its true nature—that effectively gains social ’esteem’ for James’s characters. In the late novels, James’s characters entertain the illusion that possession reveals not wealth primarily, but social distinction.

  • 2 Bourdieu’s work mounts a strong critique of Kantian disinterest and the tradition which distinguis (...)

10The prestige economy of possession that James’s late novels represent and criticise is one which Pierre Bourdieu has described, in his major work Distinction, as ”an enchanted experience of culture” (Bourdieu 3).2 In this system of possession, the consumption of goods—even the remembrance of their acquisition—is seemingly banished from consciousness. In possessing coveted objets d’art and other symbolic representations of wealth, James’s bourgeois characters aspire to an expressive model of possession, in which possession represents ”the acquisition of legitimate culture by insensible familiarization within the familial circle” (3, emphasis mine). Naturalising possession in this manner, as Bourdieu observes, necessarily ”implies forgetting the acquisition” (3). In James’s narratives, likewise, the basis of possession is acquisition through monetary exchange, yet its social function demands repudiation of this basis. Hence Lambert Strether, as we will see, chronically ’forgets’—or displaces—the monetary basis of Madame de Vionnet’s collection, envisioning her acquired objects as putatively natural ’reflections’ or ’expressions’ of the possessor.

11Objets d’art, likewise, acquire value in the represented viewpoint of James’s characters by possessing a special capacity to signify integrity, wholeness, and constancy over time. The value imputed to these objects, however, proves to be odds with the manner of their acquisition. James represents bourgeois possession as an act which, in claiming the historical object as a value, simultaneously, violates that claim.

12 For the aspirant bourgeois characters of James’s fiction, objects of possession—and the ’aesthetic’ desire for them—function as means of cloaking, or signifying indirectly, this collusive relation between economic and class power. James’s characters employ aesthetic objects to perform, and thereby attain, social status and personal power, as Madame de Vionnet, styling herself an aristocrat, manages to ensnare Chad Newsome and to fascinate Lambert Strether. Such characters nonetheless disclaim the fact by imagining that aesthetic objects are transcendent of ’base’ relations, and by projecting an aesthetic disinterest in the manipulation of objects for social ends. The bad faith of bourgeois possession, as James represents it, lies in this pretence to define itself in contrast to the very mechanism it employs.

13James undercuts this bourgeois romanticism of objects in his late, ’impressionist’ novels. In these narratives, James once again traces the source of values imputed by his characters not to objects—or to the histories in which they figure—but rather to desiring subjects. Through the narrator and those he observes, James represents the esteem of the late nineteenth-century bourgeois for aesthetic wholeness and historical continuity as a function of the bourgeois’ own social lack, and consequent desire for an integral, continuous, and historical class identity, or ’family’ structure. In the ironic consciousness of the observing narrator, James’s novels symbolically entertain the illusion that outward ’things’ reflect a ’natural’ social legitimacy.

14In The Ambassadors, Lambert Strether’s narrative is intimately bound up with his desire to possess the city of Paris—visually and epistemologically— along with all that it represents. In the preface, however, James argues that Strether was not to be drawn back into temptation but rather ”thrown forward…upon his lifelong trick of intense reflexion” (Art of the Novel 316). By means of this ”reflexion,” James asserts, Strether managed to be ”very much in Paris” without being very much of it: ”with the surrounding scene itself a minor matter, a mere symbol for more things than had been dreamt of in the philosophy of Woollett.” James goes so far as to assert that ”another surrounding scene would have done as well,” but then he adds one qualification that entirely undoes the pretence: ”could it have represented a place in which Strether’s errand was likely to lie and his crisis to await him.” This errand and crisis, again, are confirmations of the ’trivial’ and ’vulgar’ association of Paris with sexual and sensual temptation. Chad has lingered in Paris to carry on an illicit affair; and Strether himself prolongs the situation, for he himself has fallen in love with the sensations of Paris—especially those he experiences in the Faubourg-Saint Germain drawing-rooms of Madame de Vionnet.

15Strether permits himself the indulgence of memory, sensation and fantasy by holding desired objects at a distance—whether these be romantic objects like Maria Gostrey, or perceptual ones, such as Paris: ”it hung before him this morning, the vast bright Babylon, like some huge iridescent object” (Ambassadors [1986] 11)—and by possessing them only vicariously. He does so, ironically enough, by identifying with Chad, the displacement for his own ”stray spirit of youth” (122). Strether does, after all, participate in the competition over Chad’s ’profits,’ however indirectly: initially, by summoning him back to Woollett, and later by encouraging Chad’s relationship with Madame de Vionnet. Despite Strether’s defensive assertion to the contrary, James’s impressionist novels figure the narrator’s observations as actions of possession, even of consumption. Seeing pivotal scenes before shop windows and within theatre boxes, James reminds us that consumption in this late capitalist world is increasingly a scopic activity.

16When Strether first meets Madame de Vionnet, she impresses him with an English that appears effortless, ”clearly of the easiest to her, yet unlike any other he had ever heard” (210). But his fascination ceases when she is caught off-guard, and Strether realises that Madame de Vionnet has been performing all this time when she reverts to her native French. Strether remembers later that

the wonderful woman’s overflow of surprise and amusement was wholly into French, which she struck him as speaking with an unprecedented command of idiomatic turns, but in which she got, as he might have said, somewhat away from him, taking all at once little brilliant jumps that he could but lamely match (464).

17Madame de Vionnet cannot keep up the performance of familiarity for Strether, and ”the present result was odd, fairly veiling her identity, shifting her back into a mere voluble class or race to the intense audibility of which he was by this time inured” (464).

18Madame de Vionnet uses language strategically to further assist in her performance of identity. Both words and images work together to create the illusion that she is not different from the kind of women Strether is used to encountering back at home. She uses innocuous, uncontroversial topics for conversation which are typical of the American women of Strether’s acquaintance; and he therefore wonders, ” [W]hat was there in her, if anything, that would have made it impossible he should meet her at Woollett? And wherein was her talk during their moments on the bench together not the same as would have been found adequate for a Woollett garden-party?—unless perhaps truly in not being quite so bright” (212). Strether doesn’t perceive the French woman’s use of artifice in her language to gain the older American’s approval. Madame de Vionnet also takes care to speak an English that does not sound too alien to Strether’s ears:

[S]he had spoken to him, very simply and gently, in an English clearly of the easiest to her, yet unlike any other he had ever heard. It wasn’t as if she tried; nothing, he could see after they had been a few minutes together, was as if she tried; but her speech, charming, correct and odd, was like a precaution against her passing for a Pole. There were precautions, he seemed indeed to see, only when there were really dangers (210).

19The French gentlewoman’s manner of delivery, as well as the simplicity of her choice of words, makes it seem that she speaks English without effort; like Chad she too has an ’easy’ style. This impression of facility allows her to pass off as intentional any noticeable oddity in her idiom or accent. Madame de Vionnet successfully deflects attention away from being judged as not being a native English speaker by drawing attention to her performance as a Polish refugee who isn’t a native French speaker.

20It is only when some French guests interrupt Strether’s and Madame de Vionnet’s tête à tête that Strether becomes aware of the important role that language also plays in French society. Again, visual cues such as a new cast of characters, costumes, deportment, and gestures signal that Madame de Vionnet responds in a French rather than an American dramatic scene. The duchess ”had more of a bold high look, the range of expensive reference, that he had, as might have been said, made his plans for” (212). Strether notices how in Madame de Vionnet’s milieu, the French use words in a different way than Americans do. And he realises he cannot fully engage in social interaction because he isn’t fluent in French. When Madame de Vionnet reverts back to speaking French to the other guests and does not introduce Strether to them, she no longer strikes him as ”the usual thing,” an American, because an American lady would have introduced the strangers; he senses instead ”a note he was conscious of as false to the Woollett scale and the Woollett humanity” (213). Due to Paris’s fascination with and celebration of the visual sense, the word would seem to place a distant second as a representational form. James nonetheless depicts a society that values the power of the word, one that has traditionally viewed the visual and verbal arts in harmony. Although in the novel Strether surrenders possession of the central object which is at stake in the novel’s plot—the Newsome fortune, as represented in Chad—he nonetheless seeks to abet its possession by Madame de Vionnet. Strether stands to profit, materially, by his own marriage to Mrs. Newsome, yet upon being introduced to Parisian society he conceives, as it were, of a higher goal: not to marry money himself, but indirectly to marry money with taste—that is, with the upper class and its history—by strengthening Chad ’virtuous’ alliance with Madame de Vionnet.

21Barred by his own ”want of money, of opportunity, of positive dignity”— in other words, practical pecuniary power or effective symbolic status— from ”raising up… the temple of taste” (117), Strether seeks to discover the image of this ”temple” in theatrical Europe, and purports to find it in the home of Madame de Vionnet. James dwells repeatedly and at length upon Strether’s appreciation for the well-appointed apartments of Madame de Vionnet: the theme appears, strategically placed, in the opening chapters of books six, nine, and twelve (the final book). In rehearsing Strether’s aesthetic and affective estimations of Madame de Vionnet’s possessions, James reveals the basis for their appeal to him. This appeal lies in the objects’ reference to a social historical past, a pre-revolutionary, ancient Paris, and the succeeding post-revolutionary period of imperial and Napoleonic glory (236). This past, for Strether, becomes mythical rather than historical as it moves into a cipher for his own subjective desire.

22James also underlines the persistence with which Strether strives to see Madame de Vionnet as being continuous with, or even reflected in, her things. In the process of this reflection, Strether effaces all distinctive and historical qualities of the objects and comes to see in them only the possessor’s image, the reflection of her avowed ’hereditary’ relation.

23Strether knows this illusion to be a lie: he has been told that Mme de Vionnet is a ”celebrated” collector (203). But he nonetheless persists in denying the fact to himself. Disclaiming the acquisitive efforts taken on Mme de Vionnet’s part to assemble these ’things’ into the appearance of an aristocratic legacy, Strether imagines the collection as a natural integrity, passed down from generations. He disclaims any perception of Mme de Vionnet’s commercial activity. The collection, like its mistress, becomes beautiful to the extent that he may credit it with detachment from the marketplace.

24Approaching Mme de Vionnet’s character through her relation to possession—patently, as a negation of consumption—Strether enacts what Bourdieu has described as ”the ideology of natural taste” (Distinction 68). Explicitly or tacitly, as Bourdieu points out, this ideology, ”naturalises real differences, converting differences in the mode of acquisition of culture into differences of nature” (68). Here, Bourdieu’s arguments clearly reinforce Thorstein Veblen’s views. In Strether’s response to Madame de Vionnet’s possessions, we observe the ”sense of costliness masquerading under the name of beauty,” in Veblen’s terms (182). Veblen reminds us that this ”blending and confusion of the elements of expensiveness and beauty is, perhaps, best exemplified in articles of dress and of household furniture” (131): it should not surprise us that Strether conceives of Madame de Vionnet’s identity and allure precisely in terms of these articles. What is at issue, however, is not simply an attraction to money coded as aesthetical appeal: Madame de Vionnet and her possessions appear attractive to Strether by virtue of their indirect relation to money.

25Strether persists in his illusions through the remainder of the novel: he ’dresses’ the appeal of Mme de Vionnet’s money—like her sexual relation— in vagueness. He does so, moreover, because he wishes to. Strether has not gone undeceived. When the sexual nature of her relationship with Chad is exposed to Strether—in the infamous boating scene which stands as the quintessentially impressionist moment in the novel—he concedes to himself merely what the reader has already granted above: that Mme de Vionnet’s ”manner,” like her calculated performance of possession, ”had been a performance” (Ambassadors [1986] 466). While no longer in the dark, Strether feels the charm, even after this, of the lady and her ’things.’ It is not, as we just said, that Strether is undeceived; rather, he wishes to be deceived. It is not repression but rather repudiation, finally, which maintains Strether in ignorance of the sexual and monetary relations he will not submit to see—relations which would altogether undo his assertion that Mme de Vionnet represents the ’old’ aristocratic manner of ’good taste.’

26In his parting meeting with Mme de Vionnet, Strether understands Mme de Vionnet’s manner of possession—sexual as well as material—as the very opposite of despoilment or contamination; Strether imagines ’possession’ in ’good taste’ as entailing the sublimation of ’things,’ a refinement of their ’values.’ He maintains the illusion of ’good taste’ and refinement by evacuating the material, ’immoral’, (i.e. sexual) and economic content to which all signs point. James figures Strether’s credulous view of possession as a wilful illusion, one, James suggests, the reader must learn to see through.

  • 3 Terry Eagleton developed the argument in Criticism and Ideology (1975) and holds very closely to i (...)

27As it has been widely discussed, the primary site of discursive complexity in Jamesian narrative is the layered orchestration of perspectives: no longer plot, but narration, and therefore style. Subordinating his materialist plots to an aesthetic focus in narration, James brings subjects and their perspectives to the foreground of his texts, while permitting action to recede from direct view. With this technical gesture, James incurs charges of having suppressed a historical process, namely, the socio-economic foundations for the ’privilege’ of consciousness. This is Terry Eagleton’s argument about Jamesian narrative3. He holds that James mediates story by subjective perception in order to suppress ”certain real conflicts and divisions” (Eagleton 141) that are at stake in his plot. Eagleton identifies the typical plot of these narratives as ”the struggle for material acquisition.” But he asserts something more: in Jamesian narrative, he claims, that material struggle is displaced by a parallel quest for putatively immaterial objects: consciousness, epistemological mastery, a detached but ”encompass[ing] view” (141). This epistemological pursuit, Eagleton argues, takes over the quest narrative, effectively repressing the plot of material struggle and thereby conjuring away the social underpinnings of James’s text. Although plot pays tribute to the ”conflicts and divisions” that ”generate the wealth which makes such privileged consciousness possible in the first place” (141), in the guise of a quest for consciousness, Eagleton asserts, James purports to transcend those very conflicts. He locates the central dynamic of Jamesian narrative in his ’aesthetic’ turn, so to speak, from a social and material world directly grasped to an interior harmony constructed by thought.

28Eagleton’s position is a forceful and compelling one. It rests, however, upon certain premises, both social and narratological. Eagleton is correct in observing that ’things’ and ’consciousness’ occupy parallel positions in the grammar of Jamesian narratives. A number of James’s novels and tales from the turn of the century, as we have discussed, integrate these objects in a two-fold quest for possession: the quest represents, in plot, a social contest for material acquisition, and in narration, an interior, subjective struggle on the part of the centre of consciousness for epistemological mastery. Eagleton presumes, however, that these two narrative lines are fungible and mutually exclusive, positioned in an either-or relation with respect to one another. His argument implies, moreover, that James’s narrative enacts and exchange between them, repressing plot in foregrounding narration— surrendering ’things,’ in short, for ideas.

29Through the narrator’s discourse of a social contest over material acquisition, James’s impressionist narratives digest and reflect upon the novel’s own implication in narratives of ’aesthetic’ possession. Formally, the impressionist novels seek to articulate a reflective distance between the novel’s ’vision’ of material values and the practices of consumption in which it is engaged.

30James’s fiction reminds us that the currency of appearances—of class, or the associated distinction of ’taste’—requires endorsement at both ends: both in its display and imputed recognition. In Bourdieu’s words, ”Taste classifies, and it classifies the classifier” (Distinction 6). In James’s impressionist novels, desire—in particular aesthetic desire—serves to reinscribe reference to the social and economic bases which underlie the display of ’historical’ or aristocratic tastes and which fuel, as well, the material and aesthetic ’plots’ for possession. Representing ”aesthetic” appeal as an ideology grounded in a dissimulation of its social and economic base, James’s stories of possession bring the contents of this aesthetic ideology to consciousness.

Notes

1 I quote Veblen: ”the term is used in a technical sense as describing a comparison of persons with a view to rating and trading them in respect of relative worth of value— in an aesthetic or moral sense—and so awarding and defining the relative degrees of complacency with which they may legitimately be contemplated by themselves and by others. An invidious comparison is a process of valuation of persons in respect to worth” (Veblen 34). Social class status mediates these categories, transforming acquired material differences, through the viewpoint of James’s central characters, into the signs of a ”moral” difference in nature. The majority of the objects referred to in James’s novels should be understood as symbolic in their rhetorical aspects, as signs within a network of coded signifiers which come to be “naturalised” and fixed within a virtually unmovable social system.

2 Bourdieu’s work mounts a strong critique of Kantian disinterest and the tradition which distinguishes categorically between the “taste of sense” and the “taste of reflection” (measuring the former by physical gratification and the latter by its independence of such gratification). We may observe a similar dynamic of negation through-mimesis in James’s treatment and representation of bourgeois possession qua consumption.

3 Terry Eagleton developed the argument in Criticism and Ideology (1975) and holds very closely to it in his Introduction to the English Novel (2005). Here we follow his first views.

Auteur

Esther Sanchez-Pardo is is an Associate Professor of English at Complutense University in Madrid (Spain). Apart from Henry James, she works on modernism, poetics and psychoanalysis. She has recently edited Mina Loy: Critical Anthology (2009), and has published Cultures of the Death Drive: Melanie Klein and Modernist Melancholia (2003), co-authored Ophelia’s Legacy: Schizotexts in Twentieth CenturyWomen’s Literature (2000) and co-edited Women, Identities and Poetry (1999) and Feeling the Worlds (2001).