The Jolly Corner Essay

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In the following essay, Bier shows how Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe provided a model and an "anti-model," respectively, for "The Jolly Corner."

We know how much James admired and identified himself with Hawthorne. He not only wrote the first extended critical study of Hawthorne but manifestly used him as a model for his own work: the general moral orientation, including Hawthorne's concept of the Unpardonable Sin of human manipulation; the cool cerebral style and distancing technique; the careful effects of subtlety and ambiguity; and the famous disenchantment, exemplary and then strategic for James, with the impoverished and sometimes repelling American scene.

But if James's conscious literary and psychological model was Hawthorne, he had also an antimodel or alter ego, and that was Hawthorne's opposite number, Poe. It was Poe, that is, in all his intensity and intermittent power, but whose qualities were always purchased at the...

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This section contains 3,628 words
(approx. 10 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Jolly Corner Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
The Jolly Corner from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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