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Abstract

In his article "Literary Adaptations of James in Roth's, Ozick's, and Franzen's Work" John Carlos Rowe posits that Henry James continues to exert a powerful influence on contemporary writers. Given the dramatic social, economic, and political changes from modern to postmodern eras, his continuing influence requires explanation. Rowe considers three US-American novelists—Philip Roth, Cynthia Ozick, and Jonathan Franzen—who are influenced by James and presents an interpretation of James's continuing impact. Despite James's reputation as a cosmopolitan modern who influenced global literature in significant ways, US-American writers attempt to "Americanize" him. Their effort expresses the problem of contemporary US-American literary practice and its professional interpretation: as national literatures lose their boundaries, authors, critics, and scholars alike face the problem of understanding their work in relationship to communities which exceed conventional geopolitical and cultural national forms. James's transnational experience and work anticipate a crisis of representation and interpretation we are just now beginning to address.