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«Lions, Christians, and Gladiators: Colosseum Imagery in Henry James's Daisy Miller and Edith Wharton's Roman Fever 1 Dorothea Barrett May 2014 I In ...»

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Here the image of the needles is combined with that of the Roman ruins: the description of the Forum here could also be a description of the two ladies' lives, and the fact that the Forum is "at her feet" suggests that the ladies' position, on the terrace of the restaurant overlooking the ruins, is metaphorical of their approaching deaths; it is as if, already dead, the ladies' disembodied spirits are looking down on the "the great accumulated wreckage" of their own youthful "passion and splendor." 16 When the revelations are well underway, the dialogue is described in metaphors of physical violence: "[Mrs. Slade] wondered why she had ever thought there would be any satisfaction in inflicting so purposeless a wound on her friend" and "[Mrs. Ansley] seemed physically reduced by the blow." 17 In the closing scene, we discover that, when they were young, Grace was in love with her friend's fiancé Delphin Slade. Alida—aware of the attraction and afraid of Grace's gentle charms— forged a letter, purportedly from Delphin, inviting Grace to meet him at the Colosseum after dark.

Alida hoped that Grace would fall ill, waiting alone in the cold and damp, and would therefore be

removed as competition for Delphin's affections, but she now discovers that her plan backfired:

Grace replied to the letter, and Delphin came to meet her. Although the final revelation has been prepared by abundant foreshadowing that jumps out on second reading, the ending nevertheless comes as a powerful surprise: 18

–  –  –

Reading Mrs. Ansley's gestures in the passage, her gaze away from Mrs. Slade and toward the Colosseum simply indicates that she is thinking of the past, of that night, but it also signals the final fruition of Wharton's Colosseum imagery. When Mrs. Ansley takes a step towards the door, it seems that she has decided, perhaps as an act of mercy, to refrain from telling the whole truth to Mrs. Slade, but then she changes her mind, turns back, and delivers the final revelation. 19 In gladiatorial battles in the Colosseum, once the victorious gladiator had his opponent on the ground, he paused and looked at the emperor for instructions (Mrs. Ansley's step toward the door is the equivalent pause); the emperor, guided by the mood of the crowd, then signaled that the defeated gladiator should be spared or that he should be killed. 20 In this witty response to James's lions and Christians, our two middle-aged ladies are the gladiators, Edith Wharton herself is the emperor, and we the readers are the crowd, cheering the death-blow.

Various critics (for example, Petry, p. 166) have noted that, after having done so, Mrs. Ansley moves literally and metaphorically "ahead of Mrs. Slade" (the latter no longer "a leader").

Bowlby's argument all but articulates the gladiator theme I am making explicit here, to the point of using "gladiatorial" in her discussion of the violence of "Mrs. Slade/ ('slayed')" (Bowlby, p. 41).

WORKS CITED

Allen, Elizabeth, A Woman's Place in the Novels of Henry James (New York: St. Martin's, 1984).

Barnett, Louise K., “Jamesian Feminism: Women in Daisy Miller,” Studies in Short Fiction 16 (1979):

281–87.

Bauer, Dale M., "Edith Wharton's 'Roman Fever': A Rune of History," College English 50.6 (1988):

681-93.

Bell, Ian F. A, “Displays of the Female: Formula and Flirtation in ‘Daisy Miller,’” in N. H. Reeve (ed.), Henry James: The Shorter Fiction (Houndmills: Macmillan, 1997), 17–40.

Bell, Millicent, Edith Wharton & Henry James: The Story of their Friendship (London: Peter Owen, 1966).

-- Meaning in Henry James (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1991).

Bowlby, Rachel, "'I Had Barbara': Women's Ties and Wharton's 'Roman Fever,'" Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, vol. 17, no. 5, (2006): 37-51. © 2006 Brown University Press.

Coffin, Tristram, “Daisy Miller: Western Hero,” in William T. Stafford (ed.), James’s Daisy Miller: The Story, the Play, the Critics, Scribner Research Anthologies (New York: Scribner, 1963).

Coulson, Victoria, Henry James, Women and Realism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007).

Davidson, Cathy N., “‘Circumsexualocution’ in Henry James’s Daisy Miller,” Arizona Quarterly 32 (1976):

353–66.

Deakin, Motley F., "Daisy Miller, Tradition, and the European Heroine," Comparative Literature Studies, Vol. 6, No. 1 (1969): 45-59.

Ebert, Robert, review of The Age of Innocence (dir. Martin Scorsese, perf. Michelle Pfieffer and Daniel Day Lewis, Columbia, 1993), August 14, 2005. Web. 22 May 2014.

http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-the-age-of-innocence-1993 Fowler, Virginia C., Henry James’s American Girl: The Embroidery on the Canvas (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1984).

Habegger, Alfred, Henry James and the "Woman Business" (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989).

Hayes, Kevin J. (ed.), Henry James: The Contemporary Reviews (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996).

Izzo, Donatella, Portraying the Lady: Technologies of Gender in the Short Stories of Henry James (Lincoln:

University of Nebraska Press, 2001).

James, Henry, Daisy Miller, edited by David Lodge, (London: Penguin Classics, 2007).





Johnson, Lisa, "Daisy Miller: Cowboy Feminist," The Henry James Review 22 (2001): 41-58.

© 2001, Johns Hopkins University Press.

Koprince, Susan, “The Clue from Manfred in Daisy Miller,” Arizona Quarterly 42 (1986): 293-304.

—"Edith Wharton, Henry James, and 'Roman Fever,'" Journal of the Short Story in English 25 (1995): 21-31.

Leavis, F. R., The Great Tradition: George Eliot, Henry James, Joseph Conrad (Harmondsworth:

Peregrine Books, 1983).

Levine, Jessica, Delicate Pursuit: Descretion in Henry James and Edith Wharton (London: Routledge, 2002).

Lodge, David "Introduction" in Henry James, Daisy Miller, edited by David Lodge, (London: Penguin Classics, 2007), pp. xii-xxxix.

Meyers, Jeffrey, “'Daisy Miller' and the Romantic Poets," The Henry James Review 28 (2007): 94-100.

©2007, The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Monteiro, George, "What's in a Name? James' Daisy Miller," American Literary Realism, Vol. 39, No. 3 (Spring, 2007): 252-53.

Moore, Susan Reibel, The Drama of Discrimination in Henry James (St. Lucia, Qld.;New York:

University of Queensland Press, 1982).

Mortimer, Armine Kotin, "Romantic Fever: The Second Story as Illegitimate Daughter in Wharton's 'Roman Fever,'" Narrative 6.2 (1998): 188-98.

Orlich, Ileana Alexandra, "Picturing Daisy: Narrative Dynamics in Henry James's Daisy Miller," (2009).

Web. 23 May 2014.

http://litere.univovidius.ro/Anale/09%20volumul%20XX%202009/02.Literary%20and%20 Cultural%20Encounters/16_Ileana%20Alexandra%20Orlich.pdf Page, Phillip, “Daisy Miller’s Parasol,” Studies in Short Fiction 27.4 (1990): 591–601.

Petry, Alice Hall, "A Twist of Crimson Silk: Edith Wharton's 'Roman Fever,'" Studies in Short Fiction 24.2 (1987): 163-66.

Poole, Adrian, Henry James (New York; London: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1991).

Powers, Lyall H. (ed.), Henry James and Edith Wharton: Letters: 1900-1915 (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1990).

The Age of Innocence, dir. Martin Scorsese, perf. Michelle Pfieffer and Daniel Day Lewis, Columbia, 1993.

Tintner, Adeline R., “Daisy Miller and Chaucer’s “Daisy” Poem: The Prologue to the Legend of Good Women,” Henry James Review 15 (1994): 10–23.

Wagenknecht, Edward, Eve and Henry James: Portraits of Women and Girls in His Fiction (Norman:

University of Oklahoma Press, 1978).

Walton, Priscilla L.,The Disruption of the Feminine in Henry James (Toronto; London: University of Toronto Press, 1992).

Wardley, Lynn, “Reassembling Daisy Miller,” American Literary History 3.2 (1991): 232–54.

Wharton, Edith, The Age of Innocence (originally published in 1920) (Minneola, N.Y.: Dover Publications, 1997).

—"Roman Fever" in The World Over, with a foreword by Anthony Gardner (London: Capuchin Classics, 2012).

RECOMMENDED FURTHER READING

Albers, Christina E., A Reader's Guide to the Short Stories of Henry James (NewYork: G. K. Hall;

London: Prentice Hall International, 1997).

Bendixen, Alfred, and Annette Zilversmit (eds.), Edith Wharton: New Critical Essays (New York:

Garland Publishing, 1992).

Berkove, Lawrence I., "'Roman Fever': A Mortal Malady," CEA Critic: An Official Journal of the College English Association, 56.2 (1994): 56-60.

Comins, Barbara, "'Outrageous Trap': Envy and Jealousy in Wharton's 'Roman Fever' and Fitzgerald's 'Bernice Bobs Her Hair,'" Edith Wharton Review 17.1 (2001): 9-12.

Elsden, Annamaria Formichella, Roman Fever: Domesticity and Nationalism in NineteenthCentury American Women’s Writing (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2004).

Fogel, Daniel, Daisy Miller: A Dark Comedy of Manners (Boston: Twayne, 1990).

Freedman, Jonathan, The Cambridge Companion to Henry James (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994).

Hocks, Richard A., Henry James: A Study of the Short Fiction (Boston: Twayne, 1990).

Horne, Philip, Henry James and Revision: The New York Edition (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990).

Kirk, Carey. “Daisy Miller: The Reader’s Choice.” Studies in Short Fiction 17 (1980): 275–83.

Kress, Jill M., The Figure of Consciousness: William James, Henry James, and Edith Wharton (New York, N.Y.; London: Routledge, 2002).

Pollack, Vivian R., New Essays on Daisy Miller and The Turn of the Screw (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993).

Reed, Kimberly C., and Peter G. Beidler (eds.), Approaches to Teaching Henry James's Daisy Miller and The Turn of the Screw (New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2005).

Salina, Jamil S., "Wharton's 'Roman Fever,'" Explicator 65.2 (2007): 99-101.

Shaffer-Koros, Carole M., "Nietzsche, German Culture, and Edith Wharton," Edith Wharton Review 20.2 (2004): 7-10.

Sweeney, Susan Elizabeth, Katherine Joslin, and Alan Price, "Edith Wharton's Case of Roman Fever," in Katherine Joslin and Alan Price (eds.) Wretched Exotic: Essays on Edith Wharton in Europe (New York: Peter Lang, 1993), 313-31.

Tintner, Adeline R., "Mothers vs. Daughters in the Fiction of Edith Wharton and Henry James," AB Bookman's Weekly 71 (6 June 1983): 4324-28.

Tuttleton, James W., Kristin O. Lauer, and Margaret P. Murray (eds.), Edith Wharton: The Contemporary Reviews (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1992).

Vita-Finzi, Penelope, Edith Wharton and the Art of Fiction (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1990).

White, Barbara A., Edith Wharton: A Study of the Short Fiction (Boston: Twayne, 1991).



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