Abstract

This article takes up The Golden Bowl in relation to neoliberalism, considered less as a distinct phase of capitalist accumulation than as an intensification of its long-standing internal tendencies. Taking place, as Edith Wharton put it, “in the void,” James's novel stages a seemingly autonomous and self-sustaining pattern of affective engagements that he, nevertheless, demonstrates are supported by a set of economic relations to which his form consistently, but obliquely, gestures. While the Ververs work to turn economics into affect, James uses aesthetic form to force our affective response to the text back onto structure. In this way, James recovers history as a decidedly human project, precisely the understanding of history effaced by neoliberalism's subservience to the logic of capitalist exchange.

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