Henry would never know he hadn't written it himself: The Implications of "Dictation" (2008) for Jamesian Style

Date

2014

Advisors

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

ISSN

0273-0340
1080-6555

Volume Title

Publisher

Johns Hopkins University Press

Type

Article

Peer reviewed

Yes

Abstract

This essay explores the critical implications of Cynthia Ozick’s “Dictation,” a work of biographical fiction in which James and Conrad’s typists covertly exchange excerpts from “The Jolly Corner” and “The Secret Sharer.” Ozick’s conceit enables us to read against the plot of the tales, emphasizing the queer desire of each hero for his alter ego over the narrative restoration of compulsory heterosexuality. Her disruption of the link between extract and referent disallows naïve attempts to extrapolate a gay biographical subject from a queer reading of the text, emphasizing Jamesian style’s intrinsic reluctance to anchor the sign to a coherent identity.

Description

Keywords

Citation

Layne, B. (2014) Henry would never know he hadn't written it himself: The Implications of "Dictation" (2008) for Jamesian Style. The Henry James Review. 35(3), pp.248-256

Rights

Research Institute

Institute of English