Special Author: Henry James (Q3139)

30 credits, Level 6

Autumn teaching

Henry James is an author who exists on many borderlines: an American who lived and worked in Europe for much of his adult life, an author who is claimed both as a Victorian and a Modern; a famously reticent and opaque writer whose main topics are sex and money, and who has recently been claimed as an important queer author.

In this module you will read a cross section of James's novels, short stories and essays including The American (1877), The Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Bostonians (1886), The Ambassadors (1903), 'Daisy Miller' (1878), What Maisie Knew (1897) and other works. We will discuss James as an American author and as a documenter of American-European relations, as a stylist, as a psychological writer and as a proto-Modernist. We will think about James in relation to his historical context (as subtle documenter of the American scene and as ex-patriate), and also look at his work in relation to his fascinating family (the philosopher and psychologist William James was Henry's older brother). We will think hard about the difficulty of James's late style. We will consider recent critical work on James in feminist and queer studies, and his influence on 20th and 21st century literary culture through films of his work such as The Wings of a Dove (1997) or The Golden Bowl (2000).


25%: Lecture
25%: Practical (Workshop)
50%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is 300 hours of work. This breaks down into 48 hours of contact time and 252 hours of independent study.

This module is running in the academic year 2018/19. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. It may become unavailable due to staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of such changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: