Defamiliarization, Setting and Foreshadowing of Death in Henry James’s The Wings of the Dove

Sina Movaghati


Henry James is best known for his international theme of “American girl.” Most of James’s well-known fictions center a heroine with certain characteristics. The fact that women are playing a major role in James’s fictions channels a major body of criticism on James’s works toward women and psychoanalytical studies. James was to some extent was a Formalist him-self, so I have done Formalistic readings of James’s novel, The Wings of the Dove. I have sought the matter that would it be possible for the reader to foreshadow the death of the heroine of the novel? Moreover, I posed the question that how would it be possible for James to exhaust his theme of “American Girl” without making his stories boring and tiresome. I derived the term defamiliarization from Russian Formalism, and discussed that James had used techniques like focalizing characters, blanks, and stylistic oddity in order to achieve defamiliarization. Furthermore, I have discussed the exploitation of setting, Venice, in the light of defamiliarization.


James; Shklovsky; Defamiliarization; Setting; Foreshadowing; Stylistic oddity; Blanks

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