Video appunto: Development of psychological novel in England
In what way is Henry James a forerunner of the modern psychological novel?
The psychological novel focuses on the inner world of the main characters, instead the realistic novel (Dickens's plays are a clear example) describes events in a external way without giving importance to the feelings and interior thoughs of the protagonists.
Henry James can be considered a forerunner of the modern psychological novel because he is the first one who focuses on the characters’ interior world, expressing their point of view and involving readers in the protagonists’ psychological development. His novels are based on the exploration of feelings, moral choices, dilemmas of existence and complexity of human relations.
For example, James’s masterpiece “The Portrait of a Lady” explores the conflict among the individual and society, by examining the life of Isabel, who must choose between her independent spirit and the demands of social conventions.
The psychological novel will have a great development during the Modernist period. In fact, this age is characterized by the flourishing of many psychological novel which completely changed the way of writing of that time. Clear examples are: Mrs Dalloway and To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf; Ulysses by Joyce; the poem The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot; The old man and the sea by Ernest Hemingway