Writing and Society Centre member Dr Chris Fleming on Conspiracy Theories
Our Next Seminar
The Writing & Society Research Centre at the University of Western Sydney
warmly invites you to
Joseph Hughes on ‘The Scenic Law: Desire and Form in Henry James’
Friday 2 May
Building 3.G.55, Bankstown Campus, UWS
Toward the end of the preface to volume eleven of The New York Edition, Henry James remarked that in revising What Maisie Knew, ‘In the Cage’, and ‘The Pupil’, he had found all three on one ground ‘never at fault’. Each instinctively conforms to ‘the “scenic” law’. These texts ‘demean themselves for all the world […] as little constituted dramas, little exhibitions founded on the logic of the ‘scene’, the unit of the scene, the general scenic consistency’. This paper is essentially an attempt to sort out what this might mean. What is a scene? What is its logic? In what way does it create a space in which a text can demean itself? James’ conception of the scenic law, I argue, turns around a reciprocity of desire and form: the novel’s instinctive desire for the scenic form on the one hand and the ways in which the scenic form takes its sense and unity from its modulations of the reader's desire on the other.
Joe Hughes is a Lecturer in English and Theatre Studies at the University of Melbourne. He is the author, most recently, of Philosophy after Deleuze.
View the 2014 seminar program.
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