Romanticism In 'The Europeans' By Henry James

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Extract analyzed: End of chapter 2 (i.e., the first encounter between Felix and Gertrude): from “Felix Young thought it excellent; he wondered why…” to “appeared behind him in the open door-way.” (~65 lines) Intro (313) The Europeans was written by American author Henry James (1843-1916), and published in 1878. James is considered an important American romantic novelist and specifically a key figure of the literary realism movement. The story in the novel takes place in the middle of 19th century in the still young United States of America. This period of time saw the growth of romanticism as the preponderant cultural movement in the New World, though it had begun a bit earlier in Europe, especially in Great Britain and Germany. America…show more content…
The Europeans is mainly a comedy; the author has chosen to constantly play with contrasting the different behavior and way of life of the Americans and the Europeans; the outcome is often amusing to read. These clashes of cultures have been one of the recurrent themes in Henry James’s work, principally when between Americans and Europeans. In order to analyze this extract thoroughly, it is important to focus an argumentation on the differences in the culture and the personalities of the two characters present in the scene. More generally, the spotlight will be pointed on the clash between romantic and puritan views through the personality of the two characters of Felix and Gertrude in this extract of The Europeans. The structure of argumentation will consist of the following: the romantic dimension in the character of Felix (I), Gertrude as a member of a puritan family (II), the beginning of a cultural emancipation in the young woman…show more content…
At first she does not really know what to think of it: “On hearing that his sister was a Baroness, Gertrude got up and walked about slowly, in front of him. She was silent a moment. She was thinking of it.” (l. 12-13). Then Gertrude thinks that Eugenia must be very important and that they should go and visit her at her hotel in Boston, and not the other way around, and how it normally should be, that is Eugenia coming to visit her cousins at their house: “She did come; she is in Boston, at the hotel.” “We will go and see her,” said Gertrude, looking at him. (l. 14-15) The character of Gertrude is also quite funny when she mistakes the baroness with a baroness: “My sister is the Baroness Munster,” said Felix. (l. 12) “A Baroness Munster, who sent [...]” (l. 18) “[…] what could be predicated of a Baroness Munster.” (l.

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