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Acting Beautifully
Henry James and the Ethical Aesthetic
Acting Beautifully
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Sigi Jottkandt - Author
SUNY series in Psychoanalysis and Culture
Price: $55.00 
Hardcover - 196 pages
Release Date: November 2005
ISBN10: 0-7914-6557-8
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-6557-8

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Price: $31.95 
Paperback - 196 pages
Release Date: June 2006
ISBN10: 0-7914-6558-6
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-6558-5

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Summary Read First Chapter image missing

Addresses ethical and aesthetic issues in three major works by Henry James.

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.

“…the insights Jottkandt provides … are excellent and compelling—with wide-ranging implications for James studies.” — English Studies

“…[a] sophisticated analysis of the strange coupling between Lacan and Henry James…” — Textual Practice

“The closing, attending so carefully, tenderly, and accessibly to the way ‘ethics intersects [. . .] the registers of the Symbolic and the Real’ (145), raises the question of whether there has been a reader of James as sensitive and as intellectually engaged with both the nuances of James’s aesthetic and the significance of his ethics as Jöttkandt.” — The Henry James E-Journal

“If ‘instant classic’ means anything at all today, it means Jöttkandt’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. Jöttkandt’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!” — Slavoj Zizek

“The author offers brilliantly original and detailed readings of three important works by Henry James. No one has ever read these works in just this way, and I read the book with great intellectual exhilaration. It makes a major contribution not only to the literature of James but also to ethical theory and to the general issues of the uses of theory. It is a superb work of scholarship.” — J. Hillis Miller

Sigi Jöttkandt is a Flanders Research Council Fellow in the Department of English at Ghent University in Belgium.


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Table of Contents

List of Tables
Preface

1. Portrait of an Act: Representation and Ethics in The Portrait of a Lady

2. "A Poor Girl with Her Rent to Pay": The Wings of the Dove

3. Lighting a Candle to Infinity: "The Altar of the Dead"

Notes
Works Cited
Index



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44457/44458(JP/MH/AV)

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