Raising the pillar in the "house of fiction" : a study of the processes of development and change in the central characters of two novels of Henry James: The portrait of a lady and The ambassadors.
The thesis focuses on a variation of James's interest in the "international theme", the effect of transatlantic influences on the development of personality, culture and idea. In the context of this theme it seeks to understand the processes in the development of, and portrayal of change in, the identities of two central characters in the fiction of Henry James, Isabel Archer and Lambert Strether. The two novels analysed, The Portrait of a Lady and The Ambassadors. have a strong contextual relevance to the ''international theme", and compass the span of James's career, providing some degrees of comparison. Beginning with a view of the preliminary vision that James had of the main elements of each central character, the thesis seeks to understand how Isabel Archer and Lambert Strether are subsequently shaped, and developed, by way of the incidents and experiences they meet, and what they make of them. Of primary importance amongst these are the relations they form with the other characters in the novel.