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The effectiveness of an extrinsic approach in reading Henry James′s Fiction

Author Affiliations

  • 1Faculty of Arts and Humanities of Kairouan, University of Kairouan, Tunisia

Res. J. Language and Literature Sci., Volume 7, Issue (1), Pages 14-23, January,19 (2020)


Readers, scholars, and researchers may go against the trend of isolating the literary text and cry out for a more open method of reading that allows the reader to surmount the constricted textual space and invade its neighboring area. That method is useful in literary research since it helps in deciphering the codes of the text which may therefore appear more comprehensible and reachable. Biographical and historical criticism has proven its efficiency in understanding the text′s point of view through a study of the socio-cultural context of the text and an account of the author′s relevant biographical data. The fiction of the nineteenth-century American novelist Henry James is selected as a case study in the present paper not to decline the formalists′ concern for the text′s form and content as much as to show the invalidity of the idea of the text′s isolation. The point is that the historical criticism enriches the scope of the reader in his mental trip in search for meaning. Dealing with satire and realism in Henry James′s fiction makes his novels representational par excellence.


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