Acting Beautifully : Henry James and the Ethical Aesthetic
What is the matter with the women in Henry James? In The Portrait of a Lady, The Wings of the Dove, and his short story "The Altar of the Dead," one woman returns to a monster of a husband, another dies rather than confront the truth of her lover's engagement, while yet another stakes her all on having a candle lit for a dead lover, only to promptly reject it. Exploring these strange choices, Sigi Jöttkandt argues that the singularity of these acts lies in their ethical nature, and that the ethical principle involved cannot be divorced from the question of aesthetics. She combines close readings of James with suggestive tours through Kantian aesthetics and set theory to uncover the aesthetic underpinning of the Lacanian ethical act, which has been largely overlooked in the current drive to discover a Cartesian origin for the subject as the subject of science.
- Hardback | 196 pages
- 160 x 235 x 20mm | 399.17g
- 24 Nov 2005
- State University of New York Press
- Albany, NY, United States
- Total Illustrations: 0
"If 'instant classic' means anything at all today, it means Jottkandt's book! Henry James is the silent partner of Jacques Lacan: never mentioned in Lacan's work, he nonetheless, in an uncanny way, 'stages' all main Lacanian concepts. Jottkandt's book brings this secret link into the open: after reading it, our perception of both Lacan and James will change fundamentally. Those who freely decide to ignore this book are simply those who are bent to freely choose stupidity!"
About Sigi Jottkandt
Sigi Jöttkandt is a Flanders Research Council Fellow in the Department of English at Ghent University in Belgium.