A discussion of John Carlos Rowe's new book, Our Henry James in Fiction, Film, and Popular Culture (Routledge, 2022). The author will be joined in conversation by Beverly Haviland (Brown University) and David McWhirter (Texas A&M), moderated by Melissa Daniels-Rauterkus (USC). Co-organized by the USC Department of English. Registration is required. REGISTER HERE


About the Book: Our Henry James in Fiction, Film, and Popular Culture addresses the interesting revival of Henry James’s works in Anglo-American film adaptations and contemporary fiction from the 1960s to the present. James’s fiction is generally considered difficult and part of high culture, more appropriate for classroom study than popular appreciation. However, this volume focuses on the adaptation of his novels into films, challenging us to understand James’s popular reputation today on both sides of the Atlantic.


The book offers two explanations for his persistent influence: James’s literary ambiguity and his reliance on popular culture. “Part I: His Times” considers James’s reliance on sentimental literature and theatrical melodrama in Daisy MillerGuy DomvilleThe Awkward Age, and several of his lesser known short stories. “Part II: Our Times” focuses on how James’s considerations of changing gender roles and sexual identities have influenced Hollywood representations of emancipated women in Hitchcock’s Rear Window and Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show, among others. Recent fiction by authors including James Baldwin and Leslie Marmon Silko also treat Jamesian notions of gender and sexuality while considering his part in contemporary debates about globalization and cosmopolitanism.


Both a study of James’s works and a broad range of contemporary film and fiction, Our Henry James in Fiction, Film, and Popular Culture demonstrates the continuing relevance of Henry James to our multimedia, interdisciplinary, globalized culture.


About the Author: John Carlos Rowe is USC Associates’ Professor of the Humanities and Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity, and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. He is the author of nine books, 200 essays and reviews, and editor or co-editor of eleven books. Three of his authored books have focused on Henry James: Henry Adams and Henry James: The Emergence of a Modern Consciousness (1976), The Theoretical Dimensions of Henry James (1984), and The Other Henry James (1998). He is a past President of the Henry James Society (2011–2012).


Open to attendants outside of USC. An excerpt of the book will be made available to registered attendants. Registration before the event is required. 


Levan Institute for the Humanities Book Chats—John Carlos Rowe, Our Henry James in Fiction, Film, and Popular Culture


This event is part of the Levan Institute for the Humanities' “Book Chats” series, conversations about new books published by USC scholars in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. To see more events in this series, including recordings of past events, visit https://dornsife.usc.edu/levan-institute/book-chats/.

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