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Ii, 204) One of the central questions of the novel could be said to resonate around the implications offered by these particular word choices: who in fact saves whom? Who is offered the chance of redemption as a result of the Parisian encounters? The possibilities are played out by James’s characters. Strether tells Madame de Vionnet, the object of Chad’s attentions, ‘I’ll save you if I can’ (i, 255); Strether’s Puritanical, American acquaintance Waymarsh regards him in a manner that ‘fairly sounded out – “to save you, poor old man, to save you; to save you in spite of yourself ”’ (ii, 103); another concerned American, Mamie Pocock, had hoped to influence Chad’s salvation, but she is ‘too late for the miracle’ (ii, 172).

15 The limitations of the socially sanctioned realm of activity or construction of identity might be opposed by the recognition of alternative potentials or unexpected combinations. Incongruity and contradiction were central to the James family ethos – James remarks that ‘the presence of paradox was so bright’ that the children ‘breathed inconsistency and ate and drank contradictions’ (A, 124). The intellectual ferment emanating from the family is evident in a letter written by William in which he describes ‘people swarming about .

For James, Renan offers an attractive possibility of the clerical frame of mind, ‘the groundwork’ as he calls it, ‘embroidered’ with less ascetic interests, with ‘an artistic feeling’, an ‘urbanity’ and ‘the air of being permeated by civilization’ (EWP, 637). For the sake of comparison, we can turn to James’s review eight years earlier of another clerical memoir, that of the American Unitarian minister Ezra Stiles Gannett. Gannett, he notes, ‘was a born minister; he stepped straight from his school days into the pulpit, and looked at the world, ever afterwards, from the pulpit alone’ (EAE, 279).

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A manual of the historical development of art, pre-historic, ancient, classic, early Christian : with special reference to architecture, sculpture, painting, and ornamentation by G G Zerffi


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