Henry James's The Ambassadors: "The Nuance of the Novel"

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Samstag, Suzanna M.
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서울대학교 인문대학 영어영문학과
영학논집 6(1982): 109-116
nuance of personality; concentrate
The word "nuance" means a slight or delicate variation in expression, feeling, opmion,
or meaning. The Ambassadors by Henry James is a novel which contains an extraordinary
range of subtle gradation in the use of language which can in turn lead the reader to
some understanding of the "nuances of personality" in each of the characters. Thus this
paper will attempt a preliminary explication of language as a revelation of personality in The Ambassadors.
For the purposes of this paper the first book (chapters one, two, and three) will be
discussed. The reason for such a concentration of effort is not difficult to understand in
light of our experience with Henry James. The author is himself a 'concentrate' or as
critics have previously stated, his writing is comparable to that of a piece of complex
and tightly woven fabric. The closer one looks at the material, the more threads and
shades of colour, what is here called nuance, one is likely to see. Therefore the discussion of even one book becomes a monumental undertaking.
Another reason, aside from the difficulty of the prose structure, for using the first book
as a basis for this paper is that the arrangement of the three chapters provides the
organization for the rest of the entire novel. The first chapter is about the meeting
between Strether and Maria Gostrey. The second records the encounter between Strether
and Waymarsh, while the third describes how these two forces (Gostrey-Waymarsh) work
upon Strether. In miniature we have a setting; a range of ideas, sensibilities, and
language that will play on Strether as he undertakes his mission as ambassador.
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College of Humanities (인문대학)English Language and Literature (영어영문학과)영학논집(English Studies)영학논집(English Studies) No.06 (1982)
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