This paper explores the significance of the mansion of Matcham in Henry James’s two final major novels, The Wings of the Dove (1902) and The Golden Bowl (1905). In many ways, these works represent variations on a theme, the first a tragedy, the second—especially if one accepts one classic definition of comedy as tragedy in which nobody dies—a comedy. In each, two impecunious lovers who cannot afford to marry each other encounter the possibility of massively improving their own lives by their ability to attract and charm the possessors of colossal American wealth. In each case, the fortunes involved prove a profound source of danger to their American owners and to those who would exploit them, distorting the lives of everyone involved. And in each story, the same exclusive English country house—dazzlingly charming, luxurious, even sybaritic, and ultimately sinister—is the fulcrum of the plot.
Over the past century, many studies have been devoted to American literature set in Europe and its capitals. Scholars including D. E. Barclay and E. Glaser-Schmidt, Hans-Jürgen Diller, Hanspeter Dörfel, Elisa Edwards, Peter Freese, Walter Kühnel, Henry Cord Meyer, Martin Meyer, Georg Schmundt-Thomas, and Waldemar Zacharasiewicz have focused on Germany’s image in the American imagination, either literary or from a general standpoint of comparative imagology. Yet despite a marked increase in American fiction treating Berlin since its first designation as Germany’s capital (and an overwhelming increase in the past twenty years), few studies have targeted Berlin itself as a setting or image in American literature and popular consciousness. Those which have are almost limited to Jörg Helbig’s very general collection Welcome to Berlin: Das Image Berlins in der englischprachigen Welt von 1700 bis heute and to Christine Gerhardt’s very specific “‘What was left of Berlin looked bleaker every day’: Berlin, Race, and Ethnicity in Recent American Literature.” This paper surveys trends in the development of American literature set in the German capital from around 1900 to the present.
Lack of consent is valorized within popular culture to the point that sexual assault has become a spectator sport and creepshot entertainment on social media. Indeed, the valorization of nonconsensual sex has reached the extreme where sex with unconscious girls, especially accompanied by photographs as trophies, has become a goal of some boys and men.
Marisa Ronan investigates how the ideology of the “American Century” became enmeshed in the emergence of a distinct evangelical Christian fiction genre. By positioning the End Times narrative within an identifiably American experience, evangelicals sought to locate America’s destiny within a biblically ordained narrative of American Exceptionalism that drew heavily upon the geopolitical developments of the time. The article explores the origins of the “American Century” as a concept, from its earliest appearance in Henry R. Luce’s 1941 editorial, to how it became, for evangelical writers and theologians, a useful entry point into the political sphere and a way to encode their writing with an ever increasing sense of urgency. In focusing on the writings of Frank Peretti, Tim LaHaye, and Jerry Jenkins, Ronan seeks to establish how the novels that found greatest popular success were those which were fully entrenched in the “American Century” narrative.