Henry James's apocalyptic prophecy: British Empire, biblical revelation, and "The Beast in the Jungle".
Curiously enough, from start to finish James never takes any pains to dwell upon the meaning of the beast, rendering it an elusive, inexplicable mystery that both baffles and entices readers and scholars alike. A quick review of the story's critical heritage shows that where some critics are quite evasive in articulating the profound meaning of the beast, others, exemplified by the editors of Bloom's Major Short Story Writers: Henry James, seem more ready to take it as merely a symbol of the protagonist's doomed love and fate. But "there are many gaps in the story," the editors accentuate, which indicates James's "reluctance to make his ideas concrete"; for instance, he never elaborates upon the beast or "the original source of Marcher's obsession. Marcher is simply obsessed" (Bloom 32). James's reluctance to clarify typifies his allusive writing style, which serves his artistic end in this tale, and Marcher's obsession is closely connected with the beast mystery.
To resolve the beast mystery, some scholars set out to investigate its origin, making seminal discoveries.Jessie Ryon Lucke argued in 1953 that, despite James's professing the composition of this "elaborated fantasy [to be] accidental" ("Preface to 'The Altar'" 246) and cannot be retraced, the beast image should be originally inspired by Hawthorne's Blithedale Romance, of which James sings high praises in Hawthorne (1879) and remarks emphatically on one paragraph where "he (Hollingsworth) would glare upon us from the thick shrubbery of his meditations, like a tiger out of ajungle, make the briefest reply possible ..." (Major Stories 564). After a meticulous comparison of the two stories in theme, structure, and style, particularly of the similar fate in two pairs of protagonists, Hollingsworth and Marcher, Zenobia and Bartram, Lucke contends, "James's substitution of Beast for tigeris mere substitution. That the beast was a tiger is explicitly set forth in the second chapter of 'The Beast in theJungle'" (530). Lucke's conclusion seems convincing apparently, for few critics later re-examine the origin and meaning of the beast or put forth revisionist interpretation but conveniently postulate the beast as tiger. (2)
Two consequential questions pop up when subjecting Lucke's conclusion to close scrutiny: first, is James's substitution of beast for tiger a mere substitution?; second, is the beast really a tiger as she claims? Another close reading of the text shows that the beast is not defined in any of its eleven appearances while the tiger appears solely in the tiger-hunt metaphor, which serves to evince Marcher's fanciful heroism. (3) The beast, therefore, may not be a tiger at all, and James's substitution could be a studied one. Unlike the apparent confusion about the tiger/beast in "The Beast in the Jungle," James's depiction of the tiger elsewhere seems invariably vivid and definite, whether it is in The Awkward Age (1898), in which Fanny Cashmore looks like "some beautiful tame tigress who might really coerce attention" (76), or in The Ambassadors (1903), where Gloriani becomes "the glossy male tiger, magnificently marked," in whose garden Strether senses something "covertly tigerish, [... like] a waft from the jungle" (177), or The Golden Bowl (1904), where Maggie Verver in "her little crouching posture" resembles "a timid tigress" (304), to name just a random few. The tiger image in "The Figure in the Carpet" (1896) comes most striking and similar: "it's the thing itself, let severely alone for six months, that has simply sprung out at him like a tigress out of the jungle" (296).
In these stories published quite close to "The Beast in the Jungle," (4) the sharp tiger simile sufficiently suggests that James has a clear perception of the distinction between beast and tiger as well as the dramatic artistic effect it gives rise to. That he refuses to define the beast but instead to mystify it, to make a stark contrast to Hawthorne's and his own explicit use of tiger images in other tales, only invites readers and critics to investigate such advised investment in the eponymous beast. The question then boils down to unraveling the mystery of the beast: what is the beast or what does it symbolize? and how does it connect with tiger or tiger-hunt, an abrupt but arresting trope? James's notorious esoteric style seen in ellipsis, blanks, prolixity, and a labyrinth of periodic syntax can easily consign some eye-catching imagery into oblivion. Yet, delving into this imagistic tiger-hunt unmasks a profound leitmotif that belies the tragic love story. "The Beast in theJungle" goes further than ironizing Marcher's fanciful heroism to prophesize the fate of the British Empire, which may fall due to its over-obsession with the imperialist myth and wealth. It is a recondite allegory that bears witness to James's anti-imperialism at the turn of the century.
THE IMPERIAL INCARNATION
In his seminal book The Empire of Nature, John M. MacKenzie makes the animal hunt a thread to study the relationship between the exploitation of nature and the expansion of empires in Europe, and in Britain especially. He proposes that modern hunting becomes progressively restricted to the elites and increasingly symbolic rather than practical. Instead, the slaughter of animals has grown into a ritualized activity to display dominion over nature and inferior classes. Along with the extension of imperial colonies, hunting has become a vital part of the British culture exported overseas. Among the numerous hunting activities launched in the colonies, the tiger shikar in India and the lion hunt in Africa have enjoyed the deepest and the longest popularity among the British imperialists. George Curzon held an enduring fascination with the tiger shikar when serving as the Viceroy of India (1898-1905). Many times he, accompanied by either his wife, the Indian Prince, or army officers--or all of them--ventured into Indian forests on a tiger shoot and left a good number of widely-circulated hunting photos. Luminaries visiting the colonies would also embark on a royal large animal hunt tour arranged especially for them. Both the Prince of Wales (the future Edward VIII) and Theodore Roosevelt wrote about their own hunting experiences in India and South Africa.
As an immense project, a tiger shikar necessitates sufficient preparation beforehand, including food, weaponry, ammunition, and assistants (usually local people). Consequently, the adventure of a wild animal shoot gradually turns into a pageantry of British powers. For the imperial hunters, the tiger hunt "symbolize[s] the triumph of culture over nature and of the colonist over the colonized" (Storey 149). Additionally, the fact that the indigenous people are forever prohibited from the ritualized shooting of wild animals exclusively privileged to the Anglos only strengthens the social differentiation between the colonizer and the colonized, thus consolidating the colonial order there. The tiger hunt as symbolism of Britain's great imperialism is perhaps best captured when Sir Edward Braddon compares crushing the Santral insurrection in 1855 in India to a "splendid substitute for tiger-shooting" (84).
Apart from symbolizing imperialist dominance, tiger-hunting also plays a pivotal role in the construction of British imperial masculinity. Although women also participated in hunting activities in the 17th- and 18th- century England, the tiger hunt became glorified mainly as a male activity in colonies after the 19th century. "Its rituals and its alleged character-forming qualities were depicted as being 'manly,' a masculine training for imperial rule and racial domination." (MacKenzie 22).
In light of these analyses, Marcher's tiger metaphor exhibits in the first place his identification with the British imperialist culture. Moreover, as an imperial officer in the novella, Marcher could presumably have involved himself in a tiger hunt as an imperialist assuredly; otherwise how and where could he draw a "definite lesson from that"? We know that in order to palliate the agony brought about by Bartram's death, Marcher spends a year wandering about Egypt and India. (5) Therefore, it seems very likely that Marcher might have had tiger-hunting expeditions right in India. Further, his statement, "a man of feeling didn't cause himself to be accompanied by a lady on a tiger-hunt," is itself an indication of a tiger-hunt as a privileged male activity (not to be accompanied by a lady) and a flaunting of heroic manliness (a man of feeling) as well. In essence, Marcher functions as an embodiment of the Empire in the story and his image an epitome of Englishness during the age of Imperialism.
Englishness in the late 19th century of New Imperialism, according to Chris Williams, is "bold, industrial, commercial and forward-looking" (546). Marcher possesses not only boldness but also some "heroic self-image" (Fogelman 70) and aspiration displayed in a conviction of himself as "the most disinterested person in the world, carrying his concentrated burden, his perpetual suspense, ever so quietly" (456). Marcher's imagined heroism becomes most palpable in his hoping secretly that he could save Bartram "from a capsized boat in the bay or at least recover her dressing-bag, filched from her cab in the streets" (448). As the plot progresses, Marcher cannot wait for Bartram's recognition of his fanciful heroism:
John Marcher faintly smiled. "It's heroic?"
"Certainly--call it that."
It was what he would have liked indeed to call it. "I am then a man of courage?"
"That's what you were to show me." (464; emphasis original)
James portrays Marcher not only as conceited and imaginarily heroic but more essentially as a commercial and egotistical animal, for Bartram is only his "buried treasure," "object of value" (45556); due to her early demise, he should "profit extraordinarily little by [her] interest" (482) in him; and after her entombment, he paces her grave like "a contented landlord reviewing a piece of property" (485). The abundant "wealth" imagery manifested in property (3 times), value (3 times), and profit (3 times) bears witness to Marcher's acquisitive and mercenary character.
Bernard Porter discovers that one distinctive feature of the British imperialism at the fin de siecle is its "mercenary character" (40). The profit-craving capitalists and traders have largely propelled the overseas expansion of the Empire. The principal reason for Britain to wage war against Egypt in 1882 lies in her attempt to protect the Empire's "important and expanding [interests in Egypt that] were upheld by Conservative and Liberal governments" (Hopkins 391). The colonies in South Africa are managed and their boundaries fiercely pushed forward by commercial companies charted by the Crown, such as the British South Africa Company in Rhodesia, the East African Company in Uganda, and the Niger Company in the west. On the eve of the election of 1895Joseph Chamberlain reiterated the importance of commerce as the "greatest of all political interests" (qtd. in Porter 47) and that "we are landlords of a great estate; it is the duty of the landlord to develop his estate [in Africa]" (qtd. in Crosby 115). The Empire's insatiable desire for wealth and its self-fashioning as landlord in the arch-imperialist's eyes connect to Marcher's self-styled image of a "contented landlord" in the story, making him a microcosm of Britain that gains further consolidation in a minor detail of no small significance.
At the outset of the novella, Marcher mistakes the location of his first encounter with Bartram as the Palace of Caesars in Rome, though Bartram later corrects the site as Pompeii. Whatever it is, James's allusion to the Roman Empire hints at Britain's fascination with Imperial Rome in the late-Victorian and Edwardian eras. No vision could probably better capture the great expectations of the Empire at the time than "[i]n lands of which the proudest generals of Imperial Rome never dreamt the British flag is flying" (Northcote 24). Rome as a center of political, artistic, and scholarly interest (6) grew rapidly in Britain, seeing the establishment of the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies in 1911. Lord Curzon recalled in a speech, "we responded with greater or less reluctance to the appeal, to contemplate the pomp and majesty, the law and the living influence of the Empire of Rome" (qtd. in Betts 152). For the British imperialists, Rome served as an imperial model to study and emulate--"by its intellect, by its character, by its laws and literature, by its sword and cannon, it (Great Britain) has impressed its stamp upon mankind with a print as marked as the Roman" (Froude 338)--but equally important as a lesson to heed so as to eschew its fate of disintegration, thus allowing Britain to forge an empire on which "the sun never sets." This fascination with Rome's history and imperial mythology lives greatly in the mind of writers such as James, Conrad, T.S. Eliot, and others. For them with little doubt its modern equivalent would be the British Empire. Yet James, as John Carlos Rowe argues, knows full well that the cultural and commercial glories of imperial Rome hinge on its military despotism and imperialism; thus the Rome that dots his writings often turns into an instrument "for making ethical judgments of modern nations, especially those with imperial ambitions" (247). In "The Beast in the Jungle," then, Marcher's reference to Rome lays bare James's veiled critique of the Empire's desire for magnificent imperialist power.
Equally momentous is Marcher's mistaking of the Palace of Caesars, which betrays his aspiration for immortalization. (7) As the residence of Roman emperors, the Palace of Caesars remains a center of power and opulence. Emperors across generations spared no pains or costs to transform it into the most magnificent palace, the most notorious being Caligula, whose palace "is said to have been sumptuous, [...] adorned with paintings and statues taken from all the famous temples of Greece" (Boissier 99); despite all its glories, only the substructure of Caligula's palace survives. But for James the real symbolic significance of these monuments lies in a "reflection of the quality of imagination that vainly seeks immortalization through the stone rather than the flesh" (Ellis 29). In this sense, Marcher's yearning for immortalization betrayed by the Palace of Caesars vaguely signifies Britain's vain imperialist dream of "the sun that never sets," of which James undoubtedly disapproves.
CHRIST, BEAST, AND REVELATION
From the imperial identity exposed by the tiger-hunt and the protagonist's avarice and conceit that characterize Englishness and imperialism to a subtle metaphorization of the British Empire's pursuit for its imperialist dream, Marcher's image as the Empire incarnate comes to light gradually, while Bartram is more directly portrayed as an image of Jesus Christ with Marcher as her apostle.
So merciful and sympathetic it is that Bartram stands with Marcher throughout the story, bringing him help and hope, even sacrificing her life for his sake. Marcher becomes her vulnerable child calling for protection, that due to "her mercy, sympathy, seriousness, her consent not to regard him as the funniest of the funny, ... this constant sense of his being admirably spared" (456). As the story unfolds, Marcher realizes that his partner has already become "a part of the daily bread for which [he] pray[s] at church" (461).James's alluding to the Eucharist here offers an inkling of the Christ-apostle relationship between the two characters.
The Christ image with which James invests Bartram attains brighter and fuller manifestation in the temptation, transfiguration, betrayal, sacrifice, and resurrection that she undergoes successively in the novella. In the first section of the story, Marcher lures Bartram with an enigmatic delineation of the unknown disaster, before tempting her to "watch with [him]" (454) time and again. The heroine's emblematic transfiguration occurs in the third section when Marcher discerns her "suddenly looking much older to him than he had ever thought of her being" (468). Such a transfiguring is "her showing of the lesson," much like Jesus's in front of his three apostles, which Marcher fails to heed. Marcher's perfidy falls on the "long fresh light of waning April days" when Bartram "met all in her own way his frankest betrayal of these alarms" (470). The double meaning implied in "betrayal" anticipates Marcher's subsequent act of treachery on her. Equally significant, the apparent temporal coincidence of Marcher's defection in April with Jesus's betrayal during Passover (around mid-April) reinforces the Christ image in Bartram, who sacrifices her life for Marcher's ignorant obsession and whose near-resurrection Marcher witnesses when kneeling like an apostle before her grave: "if the face of the tomb did become a face for him it was because her two names became a pair of eyes that didn't know him" (484). At this point Bartram's tomb has almost become a live face for him and thus is Bartram resurrected.
In addition to these scenes, the advisedly meaningful names of two characters as well as ample allusions to the New Testament barely mask the Christ-apostle relationship between Bartram and Marcher. The implication of "John Marcher" seems apparent as John is the sole apostle and narrator in the Book of Revelation to John; in addition, John also "marches" to Asia to communicate the word of Christ. "May Bartram" implies hope, poetry, and sacrifice, for May connotes the spring of hope and Bart-ram combines bard (poetry) and ram (sacrifice), bringing to mind Jesus as the Lamb of God who sacrifices himself for the sins of humanity. In the tale Bartram lives up to the role her name denotes by offering Marcher redemptive hope and her life.
Another interesting scene depicts James's deliberate allusion to Revelation:
"I haven't lived with a vain imagination, in the most besotted illusion? I haven't waited but to see the door shut in my face?"
She shook her head again. "However the case stands that isn't the truth. Whatever the reality, it is a reality. The door isn't shut. The door's open," said May Bartram. (475; emphasis original)
Compare this passage with Revelation to John: "I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut; I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name" (3:8). Bartram's philosophical and magisterial tone bears striking resemblance to that of Christ. And similarly, the door in both quotations symbolizes the hope of redemption, at which Bartram hints for Marcher, yet he betrays her and ruins himself eventually.
James's biggest allusion to Revelation resides in the devilish beast, which is woven into the title of and many places in "The Beast in the Jungle." His dividing the story into 6 parts reminds readers of the number of beasts (666) in Revelation. In the story's denouementJames writes, "the mark, by the time he left her, had fallen where it was to fall" (489). The singular "mark" here also points to Revelation, in which all who believe in the beast are "to be marked on the right hand or the forehead" (13:16) (8) as a sign of evil and betrayal against Christ. Since the beast derives from the red dragon identified as the devil and Satan, James actually blends the image of apostle and devil in Marcher, who tempts Bartram (Christ) to await his unusual fate and glory. And just as the devil departed from Christ after he had "ended every temptation" (Luke 4:13), Marcher leaves Bartram to meet his doomed fate. Adeline R. Tintner has noted James's sudden predilection for the devil in fictional characters around 1901, (9) that the devil's two appearances in "Job and that before Christ in the Gospels, seem to have caught James's imagination," and he "began thinking about the Temptation ... set in modern times" (75). Obviously, the devil, Christ, and temptation are all woven into the artistic tapestry of this obscure story. But James has a deeper import here in resonating with Revelation.
In Revelation to John, the dragon "gave his power and his throne and great authority" to the (sea) beast and it "was allowed to make war and conquer. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and tongue and nation" (13: 2-7). The beast is generally recognized as symbolism for the Roman Empire in its dominating economic, military, and political powers. (10) SoJames is alluding again through Marcher and the mark to Britain's fanatical imperialist dream after imperial Rome. He does not simply refer to but also reworks the beast parable to express his antagonism against Britain's imperialism.
Contrary to what Lucke and others hold, then, despite their similarities, James's lurking beast is by no means Hawthorne's tiger in The Blithedale Romance, nor is it merely a substitute. His purposeful appropriation of the beast from the Book of Revelation contains profound thematic significance and provides an insight into his motives for writing as well.
THE ALLEGORY OF ANTI-IMPERIALISM
James is indisputably sarcastic towards Marcher, a "conceited and superstitious soul" ("Preface to 'The Altar'" 246) who, in "The Beast in the Jungle," expects "a mysterious fate" (456) that could be "rare and distinguished," "a stroke of fortune that overwhelmed and immortalised" (477). After Bartram's passing, her tomb becomes "his one witness of a past glory. It was all that was left to him for proof or pride" (484). This pretentiousness is coupled with an unscrupulous selfishness that is dramatically ironized: "he regard[s] himself, in a greedy world, as decently--as in fact perhaps even a little sublimely--unselfish"; with Bartram, Marcher plans "to be selfish just a little, since surely no more charming occasion for it had come to him" (457). The sarcasm is deepened when Marcher goes to great lengths to conceal his own selfishness that he fully recognizes: "[i]t was one of his proofs to himself, the present he made her on her birthday, that he hadn't sunk into real selfishness" (461). Although he holds "occasional warnings against egotism" and upholds "the importance of not being selfish" (465), nevertheless his actions and their attendant consequences constitute a dramatic irony, or what James terms "operative irony," which "implies and projects the possible other case, ... rich and edifying where the actuality is pretentious and vain" ("Preface to 'The Lesson'" 222). This irony exhibits Marcher's quintessential selfishness and cupidity beneath the facade of a self-styled heroism. The egoistical selfishness devastates any hope of deliverance for Marcher, transmuting him from the hunter to the hunted.
Marcher's eventual doom indubitably carries far-reaching significance. It shows firstly James's antipathy against the Empire's mercenary character, shown through the protagonist's profits-bedazzled eye and the exploitation of his female partner. Ultimately, it displays James's denouncement of Britain's fanatic pursuit of imperialism, symbolized in Marcher's obsession with hunting down the fanciful great fortune. Britain's imperialism, James seems to admonish us, would end in a doomed future that could not be altered by its current pomp and prosperity as intimated when Marcher wanders through the Empire's frontiers as far as India and Egypt like an imperial surveyor after his savior's death.
Like the creation of many literary works, James's meditation on imperialism is grounded in the turbulent social and political realities at the time. Even at its zenith, the British Empire was plagued by relentless skepticism, questioning, and critique. Some people feared that a small island could not govern such a gigantic Empire and that it would eventually collapse; others questioned the imperial economic and diplomatic policies, its colonial ethics in particular. The imperialist expansion, in the eyes of the anti-imperialists, "was morally wrong," and "the process must be reversed" in order to solve the problem (Porter 2). Still other critics castigate the mercenary capitalists' manipulation of the country's economic and political policies. Worse still, incessant wars that Britain waged trampled blatantly on the ideals of democracy and equality her subjects cherish. Cambridge historian John Seeley questions the Empire's imperialist ethics, wondering how it could
pursue two lines of policy so radically different without bewilderment, be despotic in Asia and democratic in Australia, be in the East at once the greatest Mussulman Power in the world and ... at the same time in the West be the foremost champion of free thought and spiritual religion.... (177)
The opprobrium on the Empire gets sharply intensified by succeeding events like the founding of the Indian National Congress in 1885, the worsening situation in Ireland, and the outbreak of the Second Boer War, which leaves the imperial citizens with an unbearable trauma.
The Second Boer War and the death of Queen Victoria leave James "much distressed" (Edel 179). He wrote in 1899 that "we are living, of course, under the very black shadow of South Africa ... where, alas, things will probably be worse before they are better" ("To Charles" 124). His perturbation over the Empire manifests itself again in 1900: "South Africa darkens all our sky here, and I gloom and brood and have craven questions of 'Finis Britanniae?' in solitude" ("To Mrs Everard" 132). The mounting domestic stricture on Britain's imperialism compounded by events like the Boer Wars renders James increasingly critical of the Empire's fanaticism with its imperialist myth, wealth, and power. His anti-imperialism heightens and is heightened by a vocal denunciation of the neo-imperial USA, which he, his brother William, and a bunch of other writers such as William Dean Howells, Ambrose Bierce, and Mark Twain oppose in unison. James joined the American Anti-Imperialist League in 1899 to battle against America's ever-growing "imperialism [that] tends towards militarism" (11) in the Spanish-American War and the annexation of Philippines. "I am 'carried away' by your Anti-imperialist discourse," he wrote to William on Dec. 29th, 1903, "as I am by all your discourses; only I fear it will be a long day before we do really revomit the Philippines" ("To William James" 435). James is scarcely alone in his reprobation over America's movement from its Republican era to a brave new imperialist age, when his confidant Henry Adams remarks that "Rome was actual; it was England; it was going to be America" (qtd. in Levenson 313). It is in such tempestuous social and political milieus that the author evokes the biblical beast to allegorize his anti-imperialism in "The Beast in the Jungle." In fact, the word "jungle" itself contains strong imperialist connotations. First incorporated into the English language as a result of "the imperialist presence in India," it is "intimately related to the larger rise of Western imperialism around the world" (Lundblad 753).
Irrefutably ironic towards Marcher as the incarnation of the Empire, James's apocalyptic prophecy of the Empire's fate in "The Beast in the Jungle" thinly disguises his reprehension of imperialism. Interestingly, John M. Robertson shares James's prescient insight in Patriotism and Empire, arguing that the Empire exists solely for the benefit of the moneyed classes and in truth on exploitation and plundering (152-75). Britain's imperialism, the social problems created by the egoism of the ruling classes, and most fundamentally its parasitic nature all destine the Empire "to the same decayed end" (Betts 157) as all other empires. In light of this, "The Beast in theJungle" not only bears outJames's anti-imperialist stance but also makes a grave admonition in a literary revelation, (12) as much to his adopted home as to his motherland standing across the Atlantic: change and escape the otherwise doomed destiny due to conceit, cupidity, and superstitious obsession with an imperialist myth. These and others attest powerfully to James's acute awareness of and close attention to the imperialist politics in Britain and the USA at the turn of the century that deserves justice if not credit from more critics. (13)
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Bloom, Harold, ed. Bloom's Major Short Story Writers: Henry James. Broomall: Chelsea House Publishers, 2001. Print.
Boissier, Gaston. Rome and Pompeii: Archaeological Rambles. Trans. D. Havelock Fisher. London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1905. Print.
Braddon, Edward. Thirty Years of Shika. Edinburgh: W. Blackwood & Sons, 1895. Print.
Crosby, Travis L. Joseph Chamberlain: A Most Radical Imperialist. London: I.B. Tauris, 2011. Print.
Edel, Leon, ed. Henry James Letters: Vol. IV: 1895-1916. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1984. Print.
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--. The Golden Bowl. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. Print.
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--. "Preface to 'The Lesson of the Master.'" The Art of the Novel: Critical Prefaces. Ed. R.P. Blackmur. Chicago: The U of Chicago P, 2011. 21731. Print.
--. "To Charles Eliot Norton, Nov. 28, 1899." Henry James Letters: Vol. IV: 1895-1916. Ed. Leon Edel. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1984. Print.
--. "To Mrs Everard Cotes, Jan. 26th, 1900." Henry James Letters: Vol. IV: 1895-1916. Ed. Leon Edel. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1984. Print.
--. "To William James, Dec. 29th, 1903." William and Henry James: Selected Letters. Ed. Ignas K. Skrupskelis and Elizabeth M. Berkeley. Charlottesville: UP of Virginia, 1997. Print.
James, William. The Meaning of Truth. New York: Dover, 2002. Print.
Levenson, J. C. The Mind and Art of Henry Adams. California: Stanford UP, 1957. Print.
Lucke, Jessie Ryon. "The Inception of 'The Beast in the Jungle.'" The New England Quarterly 26.4 (1953): 529-32. JSTOR Web. 10 Sept. 2012.
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MacKenzie, John M. The Empire of Nature: Hunting, Conservation and British Imperialism. Manchester: Manchester UP, 1988. Print.
Northcote, C.H. "The Bonds of Empire." The British Empire Review 13 (Feb. 1911): 22-28. Print.
Phipps, Gregory. "'Our Habit Saves You': Peircean Subjectivity in 'The Beast in the Jungle.'" The Henry James Review 34.1 (2013): 47-63. Print.
Porter, Bernard. Critics of Empire: British Radicals and the Imperial Challenge. London: I.B. Tauris, 2008. Print.
Robertson, John M. Patriotism and Empire. London: Grant Richards, 1899. Print.
Rowe, John Carlos. "Nationalism and Imperialism." Henry James in Context. Ed. David McWhirter. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010. 246-57. Print.
Seeley, J.R. The Expansion of England: Two Courses of Lectures. London: Macmillan, 1883. Print.
Storey, William K. "Big Cats and Imperialism: Lion and Tiger Hunting in Kenya and Northern India, 1898-1930." Journal of World History 2 (1991): 135-73. JSTOR Web. 15 Nov. 2012.
Tintner, Adeline R. The Pop World of Henry James: From Fairy Tales to Science Fiction. Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1989. Print.
Williams, Chris. "British Identities." A Companion to Nineteenth-Century Britain. Ed. Chris Williams. London: Blackwell, 2004. 534-52. Print.
A special note of thanks to the reviewer and editors of PLL for their enabling comments and suggestions during the rewriting process. I'm also indebted to Dr. Bob Riggle for his inspiring remarks on Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry James in the seminar on American Literature.
(1) Unless otherwise annotated, all citations of the "The Beast in the Jungle" are from Library of America's Henry James.
(2) For example, Eugene Goodheart maintains that the beast is "surely a tiger or a lion" in "What May Knew in 'The Beast in theJungle'" (125); Gregory Phipps presumes the beast to be tiger and figuratively Bartram herself in "'Our Habit Saves You': Peircean Subjectivity in 'The Beast in the Jungle'" (58). Although tracing the beast to William James's 1894 speech "The Tigers in India" (The Meaning of Truth. New York: Dover, 2002. 43-50), H. Lewis Ulman implicitly acknowledges the beast as a tiger, because William James uses the beast synonymously with tigers in India in his speech. Ulman gives scant thought to the significance of the tiger's metamorphosis into beast under Henry James's pen but concentrates on confirming similarities between their works in "A Possible Lair: 'The Tigers in India' and 'The Beast in the Jungle'" (The Henry James Review 12.1 : 1-8) .
(3) In "John Marcher's Journey for Knowledge: The Heroic Background of 'The Beast in the Jungle'" (The HenryJames Review 10.1 : 68-73), Bruce Fogelman argues that James's paralleling Marcher and Bartram's relationship to that of Aeneas and Dido intensifies his irony on Marcher's self-imagined heroism.
(4) According to James's typist, "The Beast in the Jungle" was finished on October 16, 1902, and published in February 1903 (A Life in Letters 373).
(5) Britain's domination of Egypt started in 1882; the South Kensington Museum gained its name in 1854 but was renamed the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1899 to commemorate the last official public appearance by Queen Victoria. These two time markers indicate that the temporal setting of the story should fall between 1882 and 1899, the era often called the "New Imperialism" or even the "age of Imperialism" (Howe 23).
(6) Britain's obsession with the Roman Empire is well expounded in Norman Vance's The Victorians and Ancient Rome (Oxford: Blackwell, 1997, specifically "Rome and Imperial Debate," 222-46).
(7) Marcher's dreaming for immortalization masquerades as a self-effacing negation in the story: "It wasn't a thing of a monstrous order; not a fate rare and distinguished; not a stroke of fortune that overwhelmed and immortalised; it had only the stamp of the common doom. But poor Marcher at this hourjudged the common doom sufficient" (477, emphasis mine). This indicates Marcher's previous fancy of an uncommon and maybe immortalized fate.
(8) Marmeladov in Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment also once evokes this "mark" as a sign of vice.
(9) The stories that engage Tintner's attention are "The Tree of Knowledge" (1900), "Mrs. Medwin" (1901), and The Wings of the Dove (1902).
(10) "[C] ommentators almost unanimously identify this beast with Roman hegemony" (Friesen 202). Similar observations are also seen in Leonard Thompson's The Book of Revelation: Apocalypse and Empire (New York: Oxford UP, 1990. 17).
(11) See the beginning part of the "Platform of the American AntiImperialist League" (1899).
(12) The word "revelation" appears twice in the novella: ".. .made him but gape the more gratefully for her revelation" (476), and ".take devoutly what she gave him, take it as hushed as to a revelation" (479). Presumably by alluding to the biblical revelation, James also hopes to turn this story into a revelatory lesson to readers, particularly those in Britain and the USA.
(13) Today some scholars, represented by John Carlos Rowe, devote increasing attention to James's anti-imperialism, which, though not as vocal as Mark Twain and other contemporaries, tends more to an internal critique but "might finally have had more impact than direct criticism of imperialist politics" (Rowe 256). Rowe's judicious observation makes an insightful annotation to understanding the moral of the virtuosic "The Beast in the Jungle."
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|Publication:||Papers on Language & Literature|
|Date:||Sep 22, 2015|
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