The University of Wisconsin Press

Literature & Criticism


Henry James's American Girl
The Embroidery on the Canvas
Virginia C. Fowler

The figure of the American girl is one that surfaces regularly in Henry James’s fiction. Most prominent in the international novels, where the compelling portrait of an Isabel Archer or a Maggie Verver commands attention. James’s girl is a complex character eager for experience yet crippled by fear, hungry for selfhood yet tragically incapable of achieving it. In this lucid exploration of James’s young women, Professor Fowler examines the psychology, literary function, and cultural roots of the American girl. The result is a new perspective on James’s fiction—and a reassessment of his views on feminine identity, sexual relations, and American culture—that will be of interest and value to all students of American literature, women’s studies, and Henry James.

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November 1984
LC: 83-051005 PS
192 pp.   5 1/2 x 8 1/2
ISBN-10: 0-299-09570-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-299-09570-3
Cloth $25.00 s

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Updated August 13, 2009

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