The Real Thing: Henry James and Material Culture
Sixth International Conference of the Henry James Society
University of Aberdeen
16-19 July 2014
Tessa Hadley (Bath Spa)
Alexander Nemerov (Stanford)
Clare Pettitt (King’s College, London)
Henry James lived in an increasingly materialist culture. During his lifetime, mass production of books, magazines, cheap art and reproduction furniture made decorative objects and literature readily available to a wider audience, but also occasioned anxieties about taste, originality and authenticity. The Real Thing looks at James in the context of the very material world in which his novels were written, published and read. It explores themes such as book history, visual culture, film, photography, museums and galleries, collecting, publishing, book bindings, printing practices, letters, manuscripts and typescripts, illustration, architecture, clothes, furniture, gardens, machinery and technology. It also examines how James thought about and wrote about the relationships between the material and the abstract, the external and the internal world, fiction and non-fiction.
Panels might include: James and visual art; James and the senses; illustrating James; James and popular fiction; James and the Pre-Raphaelites; James and architecture; James and the publishing world; printing James, James and the mechanical, James and theatre; James and film.