An Online Roundtable Discussion and Book Launch.
Thursday 17 September 4-5.30pm (UK time)
Participants: Max de Gaynesford (Philosophy, University of Reading), Dorothy Hale (English, UC Berkeley); Max Saunders (English, King’s College London); John Scholar (English, University of Reading); Helen Small (English, University of Oxford).
Chair: Gail Marshall (English, University of Reading).
The novel is an ‘impression of life’, declared Henry James in 1884. John Scholar’s 2020 book Henry James and the Art of Impressions (OUP) argues that James tried to wrest the ‘impression’ from the new French impressionists in painting and fiction, and from British aesthetes, and to recast it in his own art of the novel. In doing this, James engaged with a concept, the impression, with a long interdisciplinary history in philosophy, psychology and aesthetics. Scholar’s book joins Dorothy Hale’s work on James’s narrative form, Max de Gaynesford’s and Helen Small’s on literature and philosophy, and Max Saunders’ on literary impressionism. It shows the place of James within the wider cultural history of impressionism and suggests that ‘the Jamesian impression is best understood as a family of related ideas bound together by James’s attempt to reconcile the novel’s value as a mimetic form with its value as a transformative creative activity’.
This event, chaired by Gail Marshall, will bring together, in a live online conversation, an international group of major scholars. The conversation will take place in the light of Scholar’s new study and will be informed by the different preoccupations and perspectives of the participants. Please join the conversation and add to it by posting your questions and comments for the panel online during the event.