헨리 제임스의 『신성한 샘물』에 나타난 심미주의자
An Aesthete in Henry James's The Sacred Fount
This paper has a purpose to analyze the anonymous first person narrator in The Sacred Fount as an aesthete. James's criticism of aestheticism goes back to his earlier novel Roderick Hudson and keeps flowing through The Portrait of a Lady, The Tragic Muse, The Spoils of Poynton up to this work and The Golden Bowl. In this sense his creative process is that of his response to the contemporary social atmosphere. In this work James criticizes a fin-de si?le cultural phenomenon which is represented as Newmarch, a country house in the suburbs of London. The world of Newmarch is similar to that of Matcham in The Golden Bowl, both of which lost the traditional virtues of a country house. At the core of this fin-de-si?le reality stands the narrator, whose role in this world is to detect and analyze human relationships scientifically. His key words in his role as a psychological detective are “scientific method” and “scientific law.” But his “scientific” search for the “fine symmetry” turns out to be a kind of mask for his superficial relationships with other people in Newmarch. Absorbed in his own “scientific method” and artistic whole, he knows nothing of others' pains and sorrows. As Oscar Wilde escaped from the 'routine world' of reality and felt at home in his own world of artistic whole, so the narrator in this work escapes into his “kingdom of thought” built upon his “scientific method,” which turns out to be “a house of cards” at the end of the novel. Therefore, his attitude toward life is similar to that of the aesthetes James himself deals with in his critical writings. He lacks “morality,” or “moral beauty” in James's terms, for he doesn't have deep interests in life itself but in his superficial “scientific law.”
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