Henry James–in and out of–the Classroom, Daedalus, Winter 2021
Henry James did not write for the classroom. His personal experience of the institution was erratic at best, and most of his work was published at a time when the novel had yet to be formally recognized as a subject of academic study. But he believed strongly that “art lives upon discussion,” and the undergraduate classroom can be an invigorating space in which to keep that discussion going. Drawing both on my own experience of teaching James’s novels over the years and on an informal survey of Yale undergraduates who have studied the novelist with me in recent decades, this essay addresses some of the ways in which his work continues to resonate both in and out of the classroom.
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