The Problem of Completeness in Henry James’s The Spoils of Poynton
James’s essays on art and exhibitions written between the 1870s and the end of the century illustrate his attention to the composition of the art exhibition within the space of the gallery or museum. James’s perception of art exhibit design and effect inform his representation of Mrs Gareth’s art collection and its setting in The Spoils of Poynton (1897). As James looked to art and the art exhibit for models to represent ‘the workings of the novel’, The Spoils of Poynton suggests the impossibility of artistic ‘completeness’ within the realistic aesthetic.
Keywords: Henry James. Art exhibition. Gaze. Literary realism.
Lingua: enSubmitted: 10 Maggio 2019